Monday Q&A with Eric

About the Author: Eric Cressey

Q: The Ultimate Off-Season Training Manual was fantastic; I just have one question about one of the jumping tests you utilize. In your opinion, should the heels touch the ground lightly during a bounce drop jump? I’ve heard “yes’ and I’ve heard “no” from several coaches and I’m trying to form my own opinion on the subject once and for all.

A: I think it’s a must. Very few athletes have the eccentric strength to land completely on the balls of the feet. You’re also putting a lot of undue stress on the Achilles and patellar tendons and limiting your ability to cushion with the hip extensors. By eliminating that cushion (preactivation), you’ll increase the amortization phase, therefore killing the very elastic response you’re trying to train.

A lot of people will argue that it’s counterintuitive in light of the sprinting motion, but I don’t see that argument as holding water. Vertical displacement is centimeters in sprinting, but meters in bounce drop jumps, so you’re comparing apples and oranges in terms of ground reaction forces. I use different short-response tactics for using just the balls of the feet.