How To Improve Your Vertical Leap

How To Improve Your Vertical Leap

A vital part of basketball training is improving your vertical leap. As an athlete, you should be incorporating exercises into your basketball drills and fitness training that focus on increasing muscle strength and leg speed. Simply put, you won’t turn into Vince Carter or Andre Iguodala overnight, but learning how to work the appropriate muscles on a daily basis will go a far way towards improving your overall vertical.

By emphasizing certain muscles in your legs, you can train your body for the force needed to leap high. Increasing your vertical jump will improve your rebounding, blocking, dunking, and make you an all-around better basketball player. Here are a few of CoachUp’s favorite exercises for improving your leg strength and vertical jump. If you ever need extra motivation to get through these exercises on a daily basis, just re-watch these gifs and focus up!

Toe Raises 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
  • Rise up on your toes and the balls of your feet.
  • Hold this position for a couple of seconds, then slowly lower yourself back to your starting position.
  • This exercise builds up your calf muscles which generate a lot of the force that a vertical jump requires. Once you feel you’ve strengthened these muscles, you can add reps and hold dumbbells at your sides to increase the resistance.

Depth Jump 

  • You will need a box or platform to use for this exercise
  • Start on top of the box and take a step forward off the box with either leg, landing on the balls of your feet without letting your heel touch the ground.
  • Immediately after landing, reverse the downward force by jumping straight up into the air as high as you can.
  • Use your arms for momentum to jump higher! Then, get back onto the box and repeat.
  • This exercise focuses on the speed and strength used to leap into the air.

Drop Jump 

  • You will need a box or platform to use for this exercise
  • Start on top of the box, then take a step forward off the box to the ground.
  • Again, you should land on the balls of your feet without letting your heels touch the ground.
  • Try not to bend your knees too much when you land, your legs should absorb the force from the jump. The goal is to reverse the downward force as quickly as possible.
  • This prepares your legs for the explosive force necessary for increasing your vertical jump. The Drop Jump is also known as the Shock Jump because your knees are subject to loads of potentially harmful force. Try wearing shock absorbing basketball shoes or sneakers when performing this exercise.

Squat Jump 

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart and lower yourself into a squat.
  • Keep your back straight and knees above your toes, then once you squat all the way down, leap straight up into the air.
  • This exercise actively works out all the muscles you use when jumping in a basketball game. Go for as long as you can, even past the burn! The harder you work now, the better you'll dunk later.

Jump Rope 

  • Jumping rope can be a particularly convenient and easy way to break yourself into shape -- it can be done anytime and anywhere! Do it while you’re watching TV, listening to music, or waiting for a phone call.
  • Make sure to bounce on your toes, using them explode upwards and landing them as well. Use the rest of your feet as little as possible.
  • As an added bonus, this will help improve your cardio -- that way, you can still dunk or grab the game-clinching rebound, even if it’s late in the fourth quarter.

(Related: Read about the importance of good footwork here.)

Huddle Up

If you make these few exercises a part of your basketball training, you’ll be well on your way to increasing the height of your vertical jump. Be sure to measure your jump height regularly in order to track your progress -- set goals for yourself each week and remain committed. Before long, you’ll be jumping higher and seeing noticeable improvements in your basketball game.

However, if you’re still struggling with these improvements and exercises, consider booking one of CoachUp’s private trainers to help you out. Our team has been grabbing big rebounds and throwing down dunks for years so with a little guidance and their vast knowledge, you’ll be join them sooner rather than later -- what are you waiting for?


CoachUp is the safest and easiest way to find a coach for personalized training. With our 100% money-back guarantee and vetted coaches, anyone can achieve their full athletic potential. Find your perfect coach today and become the athlete you want to be! 

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