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What exercises should I do to improve my vertical jump?

Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine
To add inches to your jump, do these exercises, but only on even days: lunges, squats, and leg lifts, with the maximum weight that you can handle. Every day, jump rope or do stair running. Soon you'll be jumping like your legs are on springs. Good luck!
Increase jumping ability: If you want improved body control, muscle strength and overall fitness level increase then you want to increase jumping abilities. Along with your usual workout you will want to add a plyometric exercise program, these are workout exercises to help you train, tone and increase your ability to jump and give your body an overall better sports conditioning workout. Plyometric exercise works your entire body including nerves, muscles and tendons. This type of exercise will benefit you whole body, improve your speed, power and agility. Plyometric exercises also benefit the neurological components in your body, which is great for overall health, stamina and strength. These types of exercise can increase risk of injury, so please ensure you have the physical strength and flexibility that is needed to complete this exercise regimen. Technique is very important, so you may want to consider a trainer to help you ensure that you are physically prepared for this level of sports/athletic training as well as making sure your techniques are within safe a proper range to help keep you from injury.
Working on technique is very important when performing vertical jumps. Proper flexibility of the calves to allow loading is also critical. I have had clients make great gains in their vertical by stretching their calves and teaching technique. It is important to have a fast eccentric phase or coil before your explosive move up. The least amount of time spent at the bottom of the contraction the better, fast down and fast up. Practice the technique, the more natural it is, the more efficient you will be during competition.


The best exercise to increase your vertical jump is the power step up.  Find a bench either outside or in a gym place your right foot on the bench then pushing off with the right leg explode upward until your knee straightens and your right foot leaves the bench.  Perform 2 sets of 15 reps ensuring that you alternate feet between sets.  In approximately four weeks this exercise will become easy and no longer provide a challenge.  To progress the exercise perform the exercise holding a medicine ball.  Keep the medicine ball close to your chest until you explode upward then thrust the ball forward out in front of you.  This adaptation to the exercise will cause you to use your chest, shoulder, arms, and abs while increasing the effect of the exercise.

Researchers are saying that Olympic lifting mimics a lot of the vertical jump technique. Exercises such as the snatch and hang clean can help improve vertical jump, as long as the exercises are done with spotters in a safe and monitored environment. I don't like to do this in season with basketball. However, I would do it preseason and  postseason as we are trying to build and establish a good solid base. While we are in preseason and in-season, we will do box drills in which we have the athletes do a front jump onto the box, a side jump onto the box and a jump up, down and back up onto another box. Another very important piece is to have good mobility in both your ankles and your hips. I like to see 15-20 degrees of dorsiflexion in the ankle and 40-45 degrees of internal and external rotation of the hips just to create good mobility and a very stable base. It is important to have a solid base so that as you explode off the ground that your knees don't migrate inward and when you land the knees don't move inward as well. Eliminating this type of bad pattern points back to the importance of a corrective program.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.