A vital part of basketball training is being able to jump higher. As an athlete, you should be incorporating exercises into your basketball drills and fitness training that focus on increasing muscle strength and leg speed. The gains you’ll see towards your vertical leap won’t come overnight, but learning how to work the appropriate muscles on a daily basis will go a long way towards improving it overall.
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 vertical jump.
5 key exercises to maximize vertical leap
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 got this down and want to challenge yourself more, you can either hold dumbbells at your sides to increase the resistance or complete calf raises on an elevated platform. Doing so will allow you to exercise a larger range of motion.
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 explode into the air.
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.
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 higher you’ll jump later.
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 to 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 late in the fourth quarter.
Track Your Progress
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.
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