The Untapped Potential of Performance Monitoring. The Counter Movement Jump 

For many of us we spend hours in the gym or on the field each week in the hope that we are getting better at our chosen pursuit. However, we are not robots, and many internal and external factors can mean that a great training program is not always great for us. I have at least 3 personal stories I can share of times when I got heavily into a training program that actually decreased my performance on the Soccer field. 

So how do we know if our training program is helping or hurting?

I say on nearly a daily basis, ‘if we are not testing, we’re guessing’so it is beneficial to have a periodic measure to determine if we are still on the right path to meet our goal. This can be a multitude of simple tests relevant to your goal. Today I am going to talk about one of the more common ones used, the countermovement jump (CMJ).The CMJ is a simple test that requires no expensive and can give us a lot of valuable information from our readiness to train to the effectiveness of our program.

What is a CMJ?

The CMJ is a way of measuring lower body power. The movement consists of hands on hips in a position of rest, before dipping down and jumping as high as possible. Success is measured in jump height. There are many simple ways of measuring the CMJ from chalk on a wall to free apps on your phone.

If you want to get really into the detail as I do, the Forcedecks (as pictured) can give you very detailed information on asymmetries and performance throughout the eccentric and concentric phase which can highlight where the opportunities are when looking for significant detail in your programming. You can also complete some basic calculations yourself comparing CMJ and squat jump performance to determine if you could see better gains focusing on either strength or power-based exercises.
What is the CMJ’s link to performance? 

The CMJ has significant correlation with performance for lower limb power-based sports to include sprint performance (Hudgens et al. 2013) and Olympic lifting (Vizcaya et al. 2009). Your best jumpers will most likely be your best sprinters or lifters.

If we use Olympic lifting as an example, maximal lifts require power but also technique. A CMJ will be a useful measure to determine the success of a training period even if that period does not result in new personal best. In Olympic lifting a CMJ can be a useful measure of progress without the fatigue associated with maximal lifting. This is specifically relevant when peaking for competition. A CMJ has also been widely studied and a quick Google search will give you population data so you can compare yourself against your demographic.  
CMJ and fatigue monitoring.

A CMJ is a sensitive tool to monitor fatigue. A comparison to historical data can determine an individual’s level of recovery or if an individual is overtraining. Consider a soccer team who competed in a weekend tournament and Tuesday was their first session back. A CMJ could be used determine their readiness to train. If the CMJ has decreased >10%, it is likely that further recovery is needed. Adding a physically demanding session at this point will only further fatigue the athlete, potentially affecting next weekend’s performance or even leading to injury.
CMJ and returning from injury.

If you have been periodically incorporating CMJs into your training, you automatically have some great data to determine your readiness to return to the activity of your choice. Single leg jump data can also be very useful to determine asymmetries, as we can often disguise deficits with a superhuman effort from the uninjured side. 

Remember that if you are not testing you’re guessing, so consider an objective test that is suitable for your activity goal. Contact Kick Performance Therapy if you have any questions or unsure if a CMJ is appropriate for you.

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