The Standing Long Jump
The standing long jump, also known as the broad jump, is a famous athletic test and exercise that measures an athlete's explosive leg power and horizontal jumping ability.
It is well known for its use in the NFL Combine, where NFL prospects compete to see who can jump the farthest.
In this article, we will discuss the critical components of mastering the standing long jump, as well as how to measure and improve your performance.
What This Article Will Cover:
- How To Perform A Standing Long Jump
- Benefits Of Standing Long Jump
- How To Measure The Standing Long Jump
- How To Improve Your Standing Long Jump
- Broad Jump Technique
- The Importance Of The Standing Long Jump
- General Training For The Standing Long Jump
- Specific Training For The Standing Long Jump
How To Perform A Standing Long Jump - 5 Steps
Follow these simple steps to perform a standing long jump test.
Step 1 - Stand tall with your arms overhead.
Step 2 - Swing your arms down and drop into a squat.
Step 3 - Roll forward, vigorously extend your legs to push off, and swing your arms up and forward.
Step 4 - In mid-air, bring the legs to the front side to prepare for landing.
Step 5 - Land softly in a squatted position and avoid falling backward.
Standing Long Jump Benefits
The standing long jump, also known as the standing broad jump, is a simple yet effective exercise that offers various benefits to athletes.
Some of the key benefits of the standing long jump include the following:
- Assessing lower body power: Standing long jumps are an excellent tool for evaluating an individual's lower body power, as it requires a combination of strength, speed, and coordination. Coaches and trainers often use this test to measure an athlete's explosive abilities.
- Developing explosiveness: Regularly performing the standing long jump can help improve your overall explosiveness by training your muscles to generate force quickly. This can lead to better performance in sports that require quick bursts of power, such as sprinting, basketball, or football.
- Enhancing balance and coordination: The standing long jump requires maintaining balance and control throughout the movement. Practicing this exercise can help improve your overall balance and coordination, which is beneficial in daily activities and various sports.
- Strengthening lower body muscles: The standing long jump targets several major muscle groups in the lower body, including the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings, and calves. By strengthening these muscles, you can improve your athletic performance and reduce injury risk.
- Increasing flexibility: The dynamic nature of the standing long jump helps increase flexibility in the hips, knees, and ankles. Improved flexibility can lead to a greater range of motion and better performance in sports and physical activities.
- Low equipment requirement: The standing long jump does not require any specialized equipment, making it an accessible exercise for individuals of all fitness levels. You can easily perform this test at home or in a gym.
- Correlation with other athletic abilities: Research has shown that standing long jump performance is correlated with other athletic abilities, such as sprinting, long jumping, and vertical jumping. You may also experience improvements in these related areas by improving your standing long jump.
- Identifying potential weaknesses: The standing long jump can help identify areas of weakness or imbalance in an athlete's performance. Addressing these issues can lead to an overall improvement in athletic performance and reduce the risk of injury.
Measuring Your Performance
Measuring your standing long jump distance is crucial in tracking progress and evaluating the effectiveness of your training. To measure your performance, follow these steps:
- Place a tape measure on the ground, starting at the jumping line where your toes line up.
- Perform the standing long jump as described above.
- Mark the point on the ground or sand where the back of your heels land.
- Measure the distance from the jumping line to the landing mark to determine your jump distance.
If you have access to a long jump pit, you can perform this exercise more safely while also jumping farther. By landing in the sand pit, you have a softer surface which causes less of a jarring impact on the athlete, and track & field jumpers can also work on their landing mechanics if testing their SLJ into a pit.
Measuring your jump into a sand pit would be done the same way as listed above, but you would mark where they landed in the sand, whether this was where their heels landed or where they sat into the pit if doing a long jump style landing.
Improving Your Standing Long Jump
To jump as far as possible, you should work on improving your broad jump technique, as well as perform strength training, sprint training, and plyometrics to improve your abilities.
Proper Technique In The Broad Jump
To maximize your standing long jump distance, it's essential to develop a proper jumping technique. Use these broad jump technique tips the best possible results:
- Begin in a relaxed standing position with feet shoulder-width apart.
- Bend your knees while lowering your hips into a squat position while swinging your arms down and back to generate power.
- Explode upward and forward while vigorously extending your legs and swinging your arms forward to propel yourself through the air.
- Land gracefully on the balls of your feet with your knees slightly bent, maintaining balance and control. If jumping into a sand pit, you can land on your feet or your butt, like in a long jump competition-style landing.
Before jumping, I practice the movement a couple of times to feel that my arm and leg actions are synced and that I am keeping my posture somewhat upright.
The timing of your arm swing and leg drive needs to be synced up, and your projection angle needs to be optimized. If I only focus on jumping outward, I will not jump as high as when I jump upward and outward. You can experiment with the following qualities to try and improve your jump distance:
- Projection angle between 30 and 45 degrees.
- The intensity of the arm swing.
- The power of leg extension or leg drive.
- The intensity of knee drive once you have left the ground.
- Posture and direction of arm swing once you are airborne.
By optimizing your technique, you can gain up to a foot in distance within a single training session. As you hone your skills further, you will continue to see improvements in your standing long jump distance.
Training For The Standing Long Jump
To improve your standing long jump distance beyond what technique can improve alone, focus on the following training strategies:
- Strength Training: Incorporate lower body strength exercises such as squats, lunges, and deadlifts to build the necessary power in your legs. Strength Training for Sprinters provides an excellent resource on this topic.
- Plyometrics: Utilize plyometric exercises like standing triple jump, box jumps, depth jumps, and bounding to improve your explosive power and jumping ability. Check out our article on Fundamentals of Sprint Running Technique for more information.
- Flexibility: Enhance your flexibility through dynamic stretching and yoga to promote a greater range of motion and reduce the risk of injury.
- Practice: Regularly practice the standing long jump to hone your technique and become more comfortable with the movement.
What To Do If Your Broad Jump Performance Stagnates
If you have been training for a while, but your broad jump has become stagnant, it may be a sign that you need to vary your exercise selection in the gym, or you need to train other variations of the standing long jump to encourage your body to improve further.
Here are some variations you can try when training for the standing long jump:
- Broad Jumps with a Weight Vest: Inertial and vertically oriented resistance (due to gravity) helps you work on being more forceful and improve your jump height.
- Broad jumps with the Exer-Genie: Horizontally applied resistance helps you build the hip extensors and increase horizontal projection by getting stronger in the sagittal plane.
- Assisted Standing Long Jumps: Using a bungee or elastic paracord, you can assist and accelerate your standing long jump, teaching you to jump faster and achieve a higher exit velocity during the jump.
- Reactive Broad Jumps: Instead of dropping at a moderate rate, pick your feet up briefly and drop as fast as you can into a quarter squat or half squat and jump from this position. This can help improve your rate of force development and build a more powerful jump.
Additionally, you may need to focus more on rest and recovery to have your best jumps. Athletes who train all the time will eventually become fatigued, and the first physical quality you will lose when tired is the ability to produce force at high velocities.
As such, you must dedicate some weeks as recovery weeks, as well as taking days off, so your body and nervous system can fully recover and you can perform at your highest level of ability.
If you want to see how you are improving as a result of your training, you should track your standing long jump progress over time.
You can keep a training journal in a notebook, on your phone, or throw it into Google Sheets to make charts and graph your jump distance as time passes.
When tracking your standing long jump, you can look back at the training you completed in the prior 3 to 6 weeks and start to assess for any trends or correlations in the data.
If you find that your jumps are getting worse, do not panic. The body goes through natural ups and downs in its readiness, and a little fatigue from previous sessions can impact your ability to jump.
The Importance Of The Standing Long Jump
According to Wicklander et al., standing long jump (SLJ) performance is a valuable predictor of sprint and jump performance, correlating highly with isokinetic measures of leg strength and force production.
Typically, athletes who can accelerate well or are good horizontal jumpers will be highly skilled at the broad jump. I tested my broad jump yesterday and ended up at 3.25 meters, or approximately 10 feet, 8 inches. As a sprinter and aspiring track & field jumper, I would like to see how much further I can improve this jump.
This simple yet effective exercise can be a valuable addition to any athlete's training regimen, particularly for those participating in sports requiring quick bursts of power and speed.
The broad jump can also be used to work on long jump and triple jump landing mechanics.
In conclusion, mastering the standing long jump requires a combination of proper technique, focused training, and consistent practice. By incorporating these strategies into your training regimen and tracking your progress, you'll be well on your way to achieving impressive jumping performance.
- Wiklander J, Lysholm J. Simple tests for surveying muscle strength and muscle stiffness in sportsmen. Int J Sports Med. 1987 Feb;8(1):50-4. doi: 10.1055/s-2008-1025640. PMID: 3557784.