Better Stability for a Bigger Vertical Jump

Karch Kiraly

“Stability maximizes activation.”

This was a quote from Bret Contreras following an article he had posted on T-Muscle last week. While I didn’t agree with the article entirely, this quote really stood out.

There’s a delicate balance between the strength in the prime movers of a joint, and the strength of the underlying stabilizing muscles.  Some people will call this the difference between global (prime mover) and local (stabilizing) muscles.

Quite simply, if your underlying stabilizers can’t fixate the joint appropriately, it’s going to be damn-near impossible to produce maximal strength and power.

This was really brought to mind as I was evaluating a young volleyball player at IFAST last night.  When examining her hips and shoulders in isolation, her stabilizers were extremely weak.  This was then confirmed when we moved her into more movement based testing – her core sagged and scapulae winged when performing push-ups, her knees caved when performing squats and lunges, and her knee cave was even more pronounced when landing from a small box.

Quite simply, her stabilizers weren’t up to the task at hand.  No wonder she wasn’t jumping the way she wanted to!

While many facilities and coaches would jump right into “vertical jump training,” we’re going to build a holistic program that addresses all of her individual quirks.  One of the primary foci, however, is going to be improving the recruitment, strength and endurance in her various stabilizing muscles.

Once that balance is regained between the global and local muscles, the real fun can begin and I have no doubt we’ll see some tremendous improvements in her strength, power and (most importantly) her vertical jump numbers.

Stay strong



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  1. When it comes to jumping there are so many factors that come into play. The one above is very important. A lot of people do not realize jumping with dysfunction can be devastating on the body especially the higher a person jumps. Great article!

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