There are many skills that are important to excel at sports like basketball. Many players practice their shooting, defense, and speed but they often neglect to perform exercises to jump higher. There are many players that have that natural ability to jump. There are others that need to work to increase their vertical jump. If you fall into the latter group, you need to perform specific workouts to increase your vertical.
Why should you add exercises to jump higher into your training arsenal? Each year, athletes are jumping higher and game is being played above the rim. Players need to get to the rim and rebound. If you want to advance to the college or pro ranks, having a high vertical will increase your chances. Even point guards will benefit from learning to jump higher as it will improve their defense and rebounding. Think triple-double!
If you want to learn to jump higher, specific jump higher exercises should be performed as a part of a jump higher program. A good program will include many facets such as explosion, strength, nutrition, and flexibility. All facets combined will result in a higher vertical and a better player on the court. For best results, do not neglect any component of a jump higher program.
If you are looking for a workout to increase your vertical jump, here are some specific exercises you can utilize to jump higher.
Plyometrics are exercises that improve explosion and elastic muscle strength. Regular plyometric exercises can help you improve your vertical. Here are a few plyometric exercises you can perform. This is a very tiny sample of plyos.
Depth Jumps: This exercise involves dropping off a box and jumping as high as you can once you hit the ground. This exercise will improve your reactive strength. Find box or a platform that is about 12” high. Drop down (not jump off) the box and once you hit the ground; jump as high as you can. Repeat several times.
Box Jumps: This exercise involves jumping up onto a box. You start by standing on the ground and jump onto a box or platform of varying heights. These jumps can be performed with one foot or two feet for variety. Start at a height you can confidently jump and increase over time.
Forward Jumps: This plyo movement is like performing a long jump from a standing position. Continue jumping forward with two feet as far as you can over 10-20 feet. Repeat for several sets.
In order to increase your vertical jump, you must perform strength exercises to jump higher. Strength is often a limiting factor in jumping ability because many basketball players neglect strength training. If you want to jump higher, YOU have to get stronger.
One great strength exercise is the barbell squat. It works all the muscle needed for a higher jump: hamstrings, glutes, abs, quads, and calves. This exercise is performed by placing a loaded barbell behind your head on your trap muscles. Look straight ahead or slightly above. Squat down until you thighs are parallel to the floor and return to the starting position. Repeat for 8-10 repetitions. This was a simplistic description of the squat but you should learn finer points of squat form before loading heavy weights for safety.
Sprints are a great way to improve your explosion and power. Many athletes use long distance running exercises to increase their endurance. While increasing endurance is important, speed and power is of equal importance. I can’t think of any other exercise that is better for endurance, speed, and power than sprints. They will improve your leg strength and speed. If you really want to challenge yourself, try these sprints on a hill! Remember, speed x strength = power!
This is only a partial list of exercises to jump higher. In addition to performing jump higher exercises, you need to improve your agility, nutrition, jump technique, and strength. One great resource that covers all these areas is the jump manual. This is a complete program to increase you vertical to make you a better player.