There is a positive correlation between vertical and horizontal jumps (standing long jumps) and muscular performance in athletes, according to research from the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research (JSCR).
At our facility, we favor contrast training — a strength exercise immediately followed by a power (explosive) exercise; for example, the squat followed by the squat jump. Our athletes perform vertical and horizontal jumps, and plyometrics as the preferred modes of lower-body power training.
In the JSCR study, both vertical and horizontal jumps showed a significant correlation to sprint speed. Bilateral and unilateral (single-leg) countermovement jumps, drop jumps, and squat jumps improved muscle architecture and sprint performance.
Unilateral jumps appear to have an even larger correlation to sprint speed than their bilateral counterparts.
Based on this information, strength and conditioning professionals can further improve their athletes’ performance by incorporating horizontal jumps — including unilateral jumps — into their training regimen.