When it comes to getting to the disc, the two most important elements are speed and height.
No matter how fast you can run, you’ll only be winning those big contested hucks if you can jump higher than the competition.
Jumping on an ultimate field consists of a series of complex movements that happen in rapid succession, but those movements can be trained for and improved upon.
We reached out to Mike Haddock with Haddock Sport Performance to find some exercises that are a good start when it comes to jumping. The exercises listed here are very basic, but they make up the foundation of the jumping movement. Adding weight or trying more complex plyometric movements won’t help if you aren’t able to first control your own body and its mass. If these activities seem too basic for you, pause for a moment and ask yourself if you’ve ever actually taken the time to master these movements. If so, wonderful! You can begin adding weight and practicing variations of these exercises to further increase your height.
The most important areas to note before beginning any of these exercises are your knees, ankles, and spine. If your knees are wobbling before a jump, it puts a strain on your joints and increases the risk of injury. Be sure to note these points and focus on keeping them strong and stable. Start by doing the motions slowly without using your arms and without lifting off the ground. Then add your arms and increase speed and height. This applies to each exercise, and will help to make the jumping motion familiar and increase your balance and stability.
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This is the most basic jumping motion. You can go straight up or long jump—both will help to strengthen the muscles you use for jumping. This exercise resembles a bodyweight squat, followed by a jump.
Place feet shoulder width apart
Focus on keeping knees stable and using your hips to accelerate your body
If you’re not getting a lot of height, or you find this exercise difficult, that’s okay! Remember that while the end goal is to jump higher, you can only achieve this by using proper technique.
Remember that while the end goal is to jump higher, you can only achieve this by using proper technique.
Start slow and low, and work your way higher as you feel your balance and control increase.
Jumping with one foot is what you do most often in a game of ultimate as you sprint toward the disc and lift off as quickly as possible.
Focus on balance, and drive your knee and arm upward
Again, start with low height and intentional movement, and work your way up until you’re reaching max height with each jump.
If you’re not stable while practicing this movement, then you won’t be stable jumping on the field.
Your knee cannot waver upon landing. Be super secure when you land
This last exercise focuses on your lower leg. Keep your legs straight, without locking your knees, and push off from the balls of your feet using only your calves and ankles.
Start with one bounce at a time
Point your toes at the ground as you push
As always, be sure you’re not hunched over, and make sure that no joints are wobbling or unstable. You can do this jump with or without arm movement. Once you’re comfortable with the base movement, try doing more than one in a row with as little time spent on the ground as possible, kind of like skipping rope but with more of an emphasis on height rather than speed. The less you use your upper legs, the better training this will be for increasing height on that last movement of your jumps.
Jump height is a vital part of ultimate, and it takes a lot of time and training to increase. By practicing these basic functions, you’ll start seeing some returns if you stick with it.
Not sure if you’re improving?
Use some sticky notes and a nondescript wall or doorway and see if you can keep putting the next sticky note higher on the wall.
If you’re unsure where to go from here, or unsure whether this is where you should begin, we highly recommend reaching out to a professional. We at BE Ultimate reached out to Mike Haddock at Haddock Sport Performance to make sure we could provide accurate information about these exercises. Trainers like Mike can provide in-depth knowledge about training techniques and can ensure that you’re getting stronger while remaining safe and competitive.
Other resources that can go a long way to getting on the right fitness track can be found in our Ignite training program and Fuel nutrition guide. If you’re looking for a more in-depth look or a broader picture of how to train, these resources can help.
If you have questions, recommendations for other training methods you’re curious about, or just want to get in touch, reach out! We love getting feedback and want to ensure that you can play the best ultimate possible.
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