The funny looking bird may have something going for it in relation to Human Athletes, and it has nothing to do with Protein and a nice dinner.
Picked up this Article about Ostriches running speed and how it compares to human running speed.
It seems like our feathered friend uses less energy when running at a high velocity and that a good proportion of its speed is generated from elastic energy stored in its powerful tendons.
Australian and U.S. researchers studying the movement of ostriches have discovered the giant flightless birds can store double the elastic energy per step in their tendons than humans can. This considerably reduces the effort needed by the muscles, and enables the ostrich (and perhaps also the emu) to run twice as fast as humans while requiring only half the energy.
What can we learn from this in regards to training for explosive jumping and sprinting?
One of my earliest form of training to develop a good base of strength and spring was to combine powerful squats with explosive rope jumping. Spring with strength is the key.
Exercises such as calf raises and dorsiflexion exercises help develop not only the calf but the Achilles. Training the Achilles for Vertical Jump and Sprinting speed is very important not only for development but injury prevention. Tear an Achilles, and kiss your hops and speed goodbye.
Some argue that speed does not come from the lower leg – true..in a way…Speed and Jumping ability comes from the entire body. But from my conclusion, the feet/lower legs is the key to what I like to call Powerful Forwardness. I break it down like this regarding sprinting speed: The Hips and Shoulders generate the force. The Quads and Hams guide the force. The Calf/Lower Leg spring the force forward. This may not make sense to you, but read the article in question about Ostriches who run on two legs like humans.
This article needs to be explored further and I believe training benefits can come from it. That is why I believe explosive rope jumping can help with developing that ‘spring’ in your step. It will carry over well when combined with explosive hip and shoulder movement.
What about Vertical Jumping? Same concept, but rather going forward, you are going up/vertical. From a standstill jump, the spring in the calf will be used sparingly, but from a running start – look out! A good example is NBA player Derrick Rose who has a mediocre 33″ standing vertical, compared to a 44″ running vertical. The spring in his step to the basket makes him jump higher from a running position. Stored elastic energy exploding.