Whether you’re trying to dunk a basketball or shave time off of your 40-yard dash, jump shoes can help you improve your performance by leaps and bounds (literally). These specially designed shoes are made to assist in and enhance the effectiveness of plyometrics training regimens.
Strength Shoes Jump Training Shoes
How Do Jump Shoes Work?
Also called Strength Shoes, jump shoes are designed to put all of your body’s weight on the balls of your feet. This forces your calves to engage and support 100% of your body weight, rather than the 30% that they usually support when you stand in regular shoes.
Just standing and walking in these shoes works the same muscles that you work when you do calf-raises. That means that, by wearing them during your plyometrics workout, you can increase your workout’s effectiveness significantly.
We should give you a word of warning, though. There are quite a few shoes out on the market that are billed as jump shoes and/or are supposedly designed to increase your calf strength and shape your legs. Some of these are more effective than others, while some are outright dangerous and can cause spinal and knee injuries when you wear them for too long.
Shoes to Avoid
If you see a pair of jump shoes with a rounded sole that’s supposed to pitch you forward onto your toes, avoid them. The way these shoes are shaped, you can easily rock back onto your heels, hyper-extending your knees, putting all of your weight on your heels, stretching your Achilles tendons, and putting pressure on your lower spine.
There are also options out there that strap to your normal training shoes. These are also dangerous, as it’s hard to fit them perfectly to your shoes to avoid potential slippage. If this type of jump shoe slips while you’re jumping or lunging, you could very easily twist or sprain your ankle when you bring your feet down.
If you’re looking for jump shoes that actually work and that will keep your calves engaged without risking injury, you’ll need to look for designs like the Strength Shoe. With its enlarged footprint under the ball of the foot and no footprint under the heel, it won’t pass for a normal-looking sneaker. It will, however, do its job without injuring you.
Good Exercises to Perform While Wearing Jump Shoes
Plyometrics are explosive exercises, based on jumping and sprinting, which improve your vertical and your speed. These exercises all center around quickly contracting and extending your muscles. The simplest plyometrics exercises include calf raises, squats, and one-footed hops.
In addition to these simple exercises, which you should incorporate into your base training regimen, there are quite a few plyometrics exercises to choose from.
When you perform a high-knee quickstep, you’ll look like you’re doing a cross between running and marching. As quickly as you can, you’ll bring one knee up above your waist, step forward, and then pull the other up and step forward. You can do these in place, moving forward, or moving backward, to work different muscle groups.
When you do plyometric lunges, you’ll take a large step forward, lunge down (keeping your knee over your toes), and then step up out of the lunge by bringing your back leg forward. Ask your coach about incorporating these and other plyometrics exercises into your routine to improve your vertical jump.
How Jump Shoes Improve Your Jump
You can improve your jump height by doing plyometrics without jump shoes, but you’ll notice a much faster improvement if you use these shoes while you’re working out. Strength Shoes have been proven to add between 5 and 10 inches to your vertical jump when you train in them regularly.