What athlete doesn’t want a higher vertical jump? A strong vertical leap can help an athlete excel in several sports, including basketball, soccer, and volleyball. But even if a sport doesn’t involve frequent jumps, a big vertical is an indicator that you’re a powerful athlete.
You do not need a huge amount of complex training methods to increase your vertical jump. Focus on the following key points and get ready to skyrocket.
The biggest contributing factor to increase your vertical jump is to gain strength. A stronger athlete who can produce higher levels of Power; the amount of force production times velocity, will jump higher.
The key is to focus on bilateral and unilateral strength exercises, starting with bodyweight when applicable and moving up to heavier weights (build a solid foundation safely).
Strength exercises to incorporate include:
Squats are one of the best exercises to perform for overall strength gains; the pushing movement of the legs helps train them to push off with more power.
Squats not only aide with jumping higher but also add to overall first-step quickness and acceleration, making it a well-rounded exercise.
Different studies have shown that doing just squats alone for 2-3 reps for 8 reps, 2x a week showed gains of 1.5 to 2 inches in vertical height.
Bulgarian Split Squats
In addition to the squat, doing split squats help train each leg individually and reduce muscle imbalances so both legs have equal strength; important when you need to jump on either leg.
Bulgarian Split Squats target the back leg as it is raised behind you (bench or plyo box), helping to build strength among the glutes, hamstrings, and glutes while giving the hip flexors a nice stretch.
During a game, quick jumps and bouncing back up after you land are usually needed throughout the game or match.
Calf Raises strengthen the lower part of the leg. They also build ankle strength to prevent injury. You can perform with both legs and progress to single legs, further improving balance.
Dumbbell or Kettlebell Swings
This exercise helps build a strong posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, back, as well as the shoulder), which is key to jumping ability.
Kettlebell or Dumbbell Swings help educate and produce proper triple extension (extending the hips, knees, and ankles in unison). All necessary movements to improve overall force delivery.
The second half of the power equation is speed (velocity). While strength is the lynchpin for vertical jump ability, it means nothing if it cannot be produced quickly.
A typical jump only gives an athlete around 0.5 seconds to produce force. Any force produced past 0.5 seconds does not add to the leap. For this reason, you must learn to make as much force as possible within this tight time frame.
Plyometric exercises are one of the best ways to improve your vertical leap. These exercises use explosive force to train and build your muscles during rapid velocity.
A compilation of the various studies on plyometrics and its effect on vertical jump reveal gains of between 5% to 10% on the different jumps.
Plyometric Exercises to incorporate include:
Jumping rope strengthens the muscles you need to execute a vertical leap and helps improve your jumping abilities. In essence, you are repeatedly jumping very quickly.
When jumping rope keep your ankles together as you jump with both feet at the same time. As you progress you can focus on single-leg jumps so you train the fast-twitch muscle fibers to take off explosively on either leg.
Squat Jumps are essential for leg strength improvement. They help in working on the core muscles, as well as stabilization which brings better balance and greater stability; keys to perform with the right mechanics and perform the jump safely
Squat Jumps, like traditional squats, target the calves, quadriceps, and hamstring muscles but work on elongating and contracting the fibers quickly for rapid power production.
One of the main advantages of a broad jump is that it helps to improve your explosive strength, and your ability to jump quickly.
You would tend to think that broad jumps only effect and improve jumping outward; however there is a huge emphasis on powerfully extending the hips, knees, and ankles concurrently which is vital for vertical jumping, plus when jumping vertically in almost every instance you will not be actually jumping exactly straight up and down, you will move sideways, forward, and sometimes backward.
An effective drill could be continuous broad jumps to help you absorb the force and quickly produces the contraction in the quads, glutes, calves, and hamstrings for a powerful vert.
Depth Jumps, a very advanced plyometric exercise, involve landing on the ground from a raised position and immediately exploding up into a Squat Jump.
This sequence shortens the time between elongating and contracting your muscles (also known as the stretch-shortening cycle), to create force rapidly.
When you land on the ground, your muscles absorb the force and turn it into elastic energy. Then they go through a transition period, known as amortization, before explosively contracting to propel you into a jump.
The greater the elastic energy your muscles can store and the faster they convert that energy into a contraction, the quicker and more explosively you’ll jump.
Note that this is for very seasoned athletes that have a strong foundation of strength and have mastered Depth Drops and Jump Squats.
Improving flexibility helps you use all the different body parts needed to jump higher.
Yes, jumping isn’t just about the legs. It also includes the core, the back, and even the shoulders and arms. And flexibility improves the connection between them.
Stretching, on the other hand, is trickier. But what you want to remember is not to do static stretching; instead, do dynamic stretching.
You want to target the hip flexors, quads, hamstrings, and calves when you dynamically stretch to increase flexibility needed for vertical jumping.
Besides reducing the chance of injury because muscle groups and connective tissues must compensate if one part of the body is demonstrating more mobility than the other, improving your hip and shoulder mobility will help jumping ability.
Hip flexors and shoulder extensors tend to be overactive in many people. Tightness in these muscles can limit the force and speed of contraction in the prime mover muscles of the hip and shoulder.
By stretching these muscles before jumping, you allow your prime mover muscles of the hip and shoulder to generate more power.
Recovery is often forgotten when while training for athletic performance but is incredibly significant for vertical jump training.
The pitfall of “More is Better,” does cloud judgment often. Like anything that does not get the proper rest, the joints, connective tissue, and muscle fibers can become overused and lead to injury and limit training.
Starting, you should always train on the conservative side and only perform 10-20 maximal effort jumps in a training session.
It is generally recommended to rest 48 hours before completing another intense training session, like plyometrics.
“How to Increase Vertical – 7 Proven Ways.” http://theexercisers.com/how-to-increase-vertical-jump/.
Haley, Andy. “Why You Should Add Depth Drops to Your Workouts.” Stack, https://www.stack.com/a/add-depth-jumps-to-your-workouts July, 09, 2015.