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Many martial arts (taekwondo and karate being the most obvious examples) incorporate powerful jumping maneuvers as part of the standard set of techniques practiced within the art. Many of these techniques are improved by a combination of height and speed (essentially, hang time to borrow a term from basketball). While there is clearly a degree of phsycial talent and natural physique involved in having a "good" jump for martial arts, one can see a marked improvement from repeated practice of the maneuvers, indicating that there is some ability to train for a "good" jump. So the question is this, are there any exercises that have been shown to improve jumping height and speed in a way that is suited to use in the martial arts?

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    You might get more comprehensive results in fitness.SE. Jumping is a fairly rich topic in sports science. – Dave Liepmann Sep 11 '12 at 23:12
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    Plyometrics is... are? one of the best ways to improve jumping. I don't really see how you're specifically train "jumps for martial arts", although if you're specifically talking about spinning jump techniques, you'd probably want to incorporate that into the plyometrics. That said, watch out; I trained with a woman who broke her own spine doing a spinning technique :( (No paralysis or anything.) – Dave Newton Sep 12 '12 at 23:32
  • I agree with Dave Liepmann. There's a lot of exercises out there for improving jumping height. Parkour incorporates a lot of these exercises in their training, as will other sports involving a lot more jumping than martial arts. – rcheuk Sep 25 '12 at 13:21
  • I'm with @DaveLiepmann. If this question were about martial benefits of jumping, I would think it belongs in here. As such, I think it's more of a fitness/athletics question at the moment. – Anon Jan 7 '13 at 4:46
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Perhaps even more than jumping higher or farther, practicing the techniques you wish to use while jumping will help the most. The sharper the technique, the less motion and momentum you will waste while in the air. Get proficient at the techniques on the ground first before trying to figure out how to move your body in the air to get the same result. If you have the technique down, the remaining part of the equation will become how to get your body into a position to perform it and recover efficiently in the air.

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  • Duck walking will help in jumping and stretching
  • Jumping up from a squat position and then coming back down into the same squat position
  • Ankle weights will also help in jumping by providing resistance to overcome, providing additional force when the resistance is no longer present.

I've been teaching since 1973 Taekwondo and a few more Korean arts practice practice practice using ankle weights in kicks

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From the viewpoint of science, if you want to jump higher, you need to generate more speed. And it's not a linear relationship between speed and the height of the jump (I think it is squared) which means putting in 2x speed will make you jump 4x higher

Another point to know is that the burst of power for a jump comes from ATP release. So this is not something related to stamina. You have to rest for a few mins in between your jump sets.

This is something I improved on by doing the following : (the exercises in the order of difficulty)

  • Ankle jumps
  • Frog jumps
  • Tuck jumps
  • Squat jumps
  • Jumping over a stick which you hold horizontally with your hands. (Very difficult)

Along with this you must obviously do jump kicks/twirls to improve on the technique like raphael said

Notes :

  • Wear a supporter (jockstrap).
  • Always do jumps on a rubber mat - never on a hard surface.
  • If you aren't flexible you should work on changing that first.
  • Quality is more important than quantity.
  • A proper warm up and cool down can not be emphasized enough.
  • Use the skip rope for a warm up. Stretch to cool down.
  • It took me 6 months to double my vertical jump height.
  • I think it is okay to do just a little everyday (with a gentle progression, it takes 2 weeks for your body to adapt to a technique)
  • They should be done with short bursts of intensity with rests in between.
  • I used to practice jumping on the beach, first on dry sand then on wet sand.
  • Don't rely too much on your ankle for jumping. Your power should be transmitted from the thigh(generation of power) to your heel
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Lose weight and pack on fast twitch muscles in your feet, calves and thighs. An area of muscles that are overlooked often when thinking of jumping is the hamstrings. Your hamstrings pull your knees back like a spring, straightening your leg and launching you into the air. Uphill sprints are great for this. But don't forget about actually practicing the jumping technique itself. You'll be amazed how much height you gain simply by applying proper form. I remember gaining a good 10 centimeters from one session in dance class (of all places) because our instructor pointed out the things I did wrong.

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