Have you watched athletes in basketball, football, or any sport for that matter, make those gravity-defying leaping plays and you wished that you knew how to increase your vertical jump?
Can You Increase Your Vertical Jump?
You may have also thought that these great leapers were ‘born with’ their talent in jumping higher and it is because of their genetics that they inherited that ability. It is true that while some athletes were lucky to be born with the natural ability to ‘fly in the air’ than others, many people that you see dunking a basketball or making leaping plays did not have the advantage of genetics and instead worked hard for each inch of their tremendous vertical leap.
Having a proper vertical jump training program is crucial if you ever want to add a sizable increase in your vertical leap. The program must include exercises on how to jump higher that increase your strength, as well as workouts that increase your speed and explosiveness.
The fundamental principles in the physics of the maximum amount of height a person can leap into the air are the amount of force they can exert from the ground, and the speed in which they can exert that force. To improve upon these two principles, one must combine the most effective aspects of weight and resistance training to jump higher, and plyometrics into a well structured routine.
Although you can very easily put together a decent workout routine for yourself that will more than likely produce results, it is highly recommended and more effective that you use a professionally constructed program from one of the experts that specialize in the vertical jump field. The coaches and athletes are people who have spent time researching the techniques and methods to add inches to the average persons’ vertical leap.
Not all vertical jump programs are equal so it is important that you research before you make any decision and/or purchase.
What Is Vertical Jump Training?
Training on how to jump higher involves numerous factors; one must utilize a combination of weight training, plyometrics, mental persistence, proper nutrition, and adequate rest and recovery.
Weight training involves lifting against a resistance in order to develop strength in the muscle fibers that are involved in jumping.
Plyometrics involves training that is designed to produce fast, powerful movements, and improve the functions of the nervous system, generally for the purpose of improving performance in sports.
Mental persistence plays a key role in achieving a higher vertical leap because attaining a noticeable improvement in your jump will not happen overnight. It is achieved through consistent exercises and workouts over a certain extent of time and this will result in a toll on your body and your mind.
Staying strong mentally and believing that the hard work will pay off in the end are both important mental states to have while you are on a jump training program.
To solidify and reap the proper gains from breaking down the body because of strength training and plyometrics, it is essential that you consume proper nutrition and obtain adequate rest so that the body can rebuild itself and recover from the rigorous training.
By combining all of the above, you will reap the rewards from your efforts in training on how to increase the vertical jump in your favorite sport.
Jumping Higher Workouts
Many exercises on how to jump higher exist, but one effective method is to perform a combination of workouts from the following 3 exercise categories:
- Get your limit strength exercises heavier. Limit strength exercises increase the force or strength producing capabilities of your muscles.
- Get your explosive strength exercises faster. Explosive strength exercises focus on developing maximal starting and explosive strength, without much involvement of the reflexive stretch-shortening cycle (reactive strength).
- Get your reactive strength exercises higher. Reactive strength exercises will boost your reactive/reflexive capabilities by increasing your body’s ability to absorb force, stabilize force, and reflexively react to that force.
Jumping Higher Exercises
Limit Strength Exercises
- Full Back Squat – This is a classic exercise, but make sure you descend down to parallel or below knee level. This exercise works all the major muscle groups we need for speed and leaping ability. Perform for 3-8 repetitions per set.
- Deadlift – Load up an Olympic bar and bend down, grab the bar, and pick it up while keeping your back straight and using the power of your glutes and hamstrings to initiate the movement. Deadlifts are a superior strengthening exercise for the glutes and hamstrings and also develop whole body power through their influence on the traps, grip, and upper back. Perform 3-8 repetitions per set.
- Split Squats – This is basically a single leg squat, with the non-working leg elevated on a bench behind you. Perform this exercise by holding a dumbell in each hand, descend until the back knee touches the floor and then explode back up to the start position. Perform 5-15 repetions per set.
Explosive Strength Exercises
- Box Squat – This movement is just like the full-back squat except you will be using a wide stance while sitting back on a box just below parallel and pausing before each repetition. Use a load equivalent to 50-60% of your maximum full-back squat lift and explode up trying to use your hips and hamstrings.
- Jump Shrug – This is a lead in to a clean or snatch movement. Starting from either the floor, explode up initiating the movement with your legs and hips. As you extend your hips and start to leave the floor follow through by shrugging your shoulders up. Perform 3-6 repetitions per set.
- Clean and Snatch – These movements are explosive by nature and in order to perform them correctly you must instantly be able to develop maximum force. They also heavily involve the hip extensors, which are key for speed and jumping ability. Perform 2-5 reps per set.
Reactive Strength Exercises
- Ankle Jumps – jump off of the ground in rhythm by just springing off your ankles. While you’re in the air you want to pull your toes up. You also must prevent your heels from ever touching the ground. The key to this exercise lies in your ability to keep your knees locked while jumping and landing on and off the ground, as well as spending the least amount of time on the ground as possible. Perform 20 reps per set.
- Shock Jumps – Find a box equivalent to about the height of your best vertical jump. Next, step off the box and upon contact instantly try to absorb the impact without any movement and without letting your heels touch the ground. You want to land in a powerful, yet soft manner. If comfortable continue to increase the height of the box until you can no longer land smooth and quiet. Perform these by landing in a slight knees bent position, or by landing in a deeper squat position. The more knee bend the more the hamstrings and glutes are involved. Perform 3 reps per set.
- Reverse Hyperextension – This movement works hip extension hitting the hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors all during the course of one rep. If you don’t have a reverse hyper device you can get backwards in a back raise or glute-ham machine and apply load by placing a rope or chains strung through weights around your ankles. To initiate the movement raise your legs up to parallel. You should feel a strong contraction in your glutes and hamstrings. Next, quickly allow your legs and the weight to fall and then about 2/3 of the way down regather tension and explode back up. This creates a reactive contraction in the hip extensors. Perform 8-15 reps per set.
How To Increase The Vertical Jump With Plyometric Exercises
Plyometric exercises should be part of any athlete that is seeking to increase their vertical jump. Performing these types of exercises will also help athletes increase their speed and agility, indirectly.
The core of plyometric exercises involves doing a series of jumps from various heights and at different intensities. Here are some exercises that you can perform to get the most out of these workouts and see results in jumping higher.
The things you will need to perform these exercises is to get boxes or anything you can jump off that are in varying heights. The first exercise is a warm-up, and these are the squat jumps – get into a squatting position and jump as high as you can with your arms thrusting you up into the air.
The next exercise is the box jump, which involves jumping off a box of some height and jumping back up on the box as quickly again. Another exercise is called bounding, and this involves you jogging and leaping off one leg at a time and switching on and off. Do each of the exercises for 10 reps and 3 sets, every other day.
Incorporating plyometric exercises is essential to any athlete that is determined to increase their vertical. Plyometric exercises are some of the most effective jump training exercises available and with dedicated training, you will definitely see results.