1. No Weights Needed
A big benefit of jump training is that you can do it practically anywhere.
Vertical jumps, broad jumps, lateral bounds and long hops can all be done with your own body weight.
Buying a set of hurdles means you an also perform various hurdle jumps on one or two legs.
For more advanced movements like depth jumps you'll need a bench or box to step off.
Also depending on the exercise, you might need some light dumbbells, a barbell or trap bar for loaded jumping.
Even then, the equipment needed for jump training is minimal and can be found in any gym.
2. Improves Reactive Strength
Unlike Olympic lifts, jumps can be used to develop reactive strength/elasticity.
There's no quick rebounding action in a power clean or power snatch like there is in a hurdle jump or forward bound.
With a hurdle jump (or any other reactive jump variation), a rapid eccentric muscle action is followed by a powerful concentric action.
Contrast this with the Olympic lifts where you accelerate to get the bar moving and then decelerate it to catch it. But there's no immediate switch from deceleration to acceleration which is how you improve reactive strength.
Why is reactive strength an important quality for athletes?
Because it correlates with change-of-direction speed and has been shown to be a key differentiator between slow and fast athletes.
If you want to skate faster, work on your reactive strength.
3. Easy to Progress and Regress
With a power clean, the only way you can overload an athlete is by adding more weight to the bar or performing more sets and/or reps.
Jump training is more versatile.
You can start a beginner with eccentric-only movements like snapdowns and depth drops, then move on to vertical or hurdle jumps where you pause each rep.
After that, you perform these same exercises continuously in a rebounding manner.
Eventually, you can also introduce resisted jumps into the mix, combine jumps and sprints into a single drill, or focus on exercises that develop elasticity through shorter ground contact times.
There's a lot more variety and possible ways to progress and regress athletes compared to the Olympic lifts where external loading dictates much of what you can and will do.
Cons of Jumping
1. Very Easy to Abuse
The biggest drawback of jump training isn't the training style itself but how it's used in many off-ice training programs.
(I have written quite in depth about this topic in my Hockey Jump Training System.)
Because a set of five lateral bounds doesn't feel hard, it's easy to get carried away, thinking that you need to up the amount of reps you perform or cut your rest periods.
What so many coaches and athletes fail to realize is that jumping is a highly neural activity.
If you're huffing and puffing after a set of jumps, you're doing it wrong.
Still, I see so many athletes abuse jumps by going overboard with the volume that they don't get the power improvements they seek.
Not only that, doing so significantly increases your risk of lower back and knee overuse injuries.
Other than perhaps for a short preparatory period of very low-intensity jumping, there's no advantage to performing 10+ jumps per set.
At that point, you're not training for maximal power. You're doing conditioning work.
And there are much better ways to build up your conditioning that don't beat up your joints, such as hill sprints and sled pushes.
In my mind, out of the two options, jump training is safer IF (and that's a big if) it's used appropriately.
By appropriate, I mean scaling exercises based on an athlete's skill and experience levels, always focusing on excellent landing form and not rushing into more advanced exercises or methods before you're ready for them.
That's not to say I don't like Olympic lifting, particularly the power clean.
I use it with most (but not all) of my hockey players and I decide if it's suitable for an athlete on a case-by-case basis.
I believe an effective off-ice training program will combine both jumping and Olympic lifting for maximal power development - assuming that A) you have access to quality coaching on the Oly lifts and B) you have the requisite mobility to perform them safely.
If you don't have those, then stick to jumping.
P.S. For a proven training plan guaranteed to improve your first step quickness, visit: