If you are an athlete that participates in sports such as football, basketball, or volleyball; you should be working diligently to increase your vertical jump. This is important because it is a good measure of how explosive one is. In football, great explosion is vital to beating the snap count or breaking through tackles. A good vertical in basketball can be the difference between getting 6 or 10 rebounds a game. Even if you weren’t blessed with great hops, you can always work to improve. Increasing strength and speed are two facets of a jump higher program.
In order to jump higher, you have to get stronger. Strength training is a great way to build one’s explosiveness from the ground. You may know someone that has great hops but isn’t particularly strong and may start asking why I need to get stronger. People have different genetics when it comes to athletic ability. You may be lacking when it comes to jumping but know someone who can jump out of the building with very little training. However, if either of you want to improve beyond your natural jumping ability, you need to get stronger than you are now.
The best strength exercises to jump higher involve working your glute, quad, calf, and hamstring muscles. These body parts are largely responsible for your jumping ability. Exercises such as squats, box squats, lunges, and leg presses will strengthen your legs.
In addition to getting stronger, you need more speed to jump higher. Try this experiment. Find a box or a ledge about 24” high that you can jump onto. Jump on it as explosive as you can with two feet. Did you make it? Now, try the same feat but do it in slow motion. Difficult, isn’t it? This is an illustration as to why you need speed to jump higher. Combine that with added strength and you’ll be adding inches to your vertical in no time.
There are different ways to get faster when it comes to jumping. Sprints are great for adding explosiveness. They train your fast twitch muscle fibers and develop your speed. Distances of 40-100 yards will increase your explosiveness. Speed squats are also a great way to add speed to your jumps. These are also referred to dynamic effort squats. These can be performed on a box or without. Take a weight that is 50-60% of your max squat. You will perform 10 sets of 2 reps. Each rep is performed as fast as possible. Rest 60 seconds in between sets and repeat.
You can increase your vertical jumping if you work at it. The best way to increase your explosion is to get stronger and get faster. Improving these two attributes should be part of an overall jumping program.