When we can get our center of mass higher by using just our muscles, we’ve performed a vertical jump. And if you’re an athlete, you know just how critical it is in many sports endeavors. Basketball, track and field, volleyball, and football are only a few sports where the ability to jump higher can make your performance better. There are both standing vertical jumps as you might do in volleyball and running vertical jumps like those you see on the basketball court. Unless you are Michael Jordan, who seemed gifted at flying high with little to no effort, you may be wondering how to improve your jumping skills. Wonder no longer, friends! We have answers right here!
Topping the list of ways to improve your vertical jump is the Bulgarian Split Squat. Stand in front of a bench and place one leg on top of the seat. Holding weights in both hands, lower the knee of your other leg as close to the floor as possible. Then stand and repeat.
- Depth jumps are performed by jumping off a container that is about as high as your natural jump height and as soon as your feet touchdown, jumping right back up again. Doing this about six times helps your body to use its own elastic energy to keep your jump both high and strong.
- The hip flexor stretch is like a lunge. With your back knee under your hip, push forward until you feel your femur and pelvis meet. Hold the stretch two seconds and repeat it ten times on each leg.
- Holding both handles on a trap bar and keeping your back straight, lift the bar and repeat it five times. This trap bar deadlift is going to help you build jumping force.
- Jump squats combine squats with jumps. When you’re at the lowest point of your squat, jump as high as you can. Six reps and two sets are the recommended quantity. These improve both your speed and power.
- If you need to improve your lower body power, do knee to feet jumps. From your knees and sitting on your heels, use your arms to catapult yourself up and forward. You want to ensure you land in a squat position with your arms extended in front of you.
- Jumping rope is another way to improve your jumps and strengthen your legs.
- Four corner is much like a game we played as kids. With four dots on a flat surface, jump from one dot to the next. About 20 inches apart, as you jump to the next dot, once you land on all four dots, you have completed one rep.
- Most all of us are painfully familiar with squats, where you lower your body to the ground by bending your knees and keeping your back straight.
- Slow motion squats are the same thing, except you take four seconds to lower and rise and you remain in the squat position for two seconds.
- Fifty rep rhythm squats are another variation. You just do 50 quarter squats as fast as you can.
- High reach jumps are all about trying to maintain your jump height repeatedly on each rep. A basketball rim is a great tool to use with this exercise. Just stand straight, with your arms stretched upward and jump as high as you can, noting the spot where your hand hits the rim. Repeat the jump with a goal of reaching the same place each time.
- Toe raises are incredible for your calves, and all you must do is repeatedly stand on your toes from a flat-footed position. Rock yourself slowly up and down. Stairs are another tool you can use for this super simple exercise.
- Everyone’s favorite NFL Texan, J. J. Watt practices plyometric jumps, by jumping from the ground on top of a box. It’s an exercise that improves your vertical jump as well as your fast twitch leg muscles.
Weight training to make your glues and hamstrings stronger are also helpful for improving vertical jumps. Don’t underestimate the role your shoulders play in vertical jumping. The range of shoulder motion goes up, your upper arm strength kicks in and you are effectively pulling your body weight up with your arms.
You want to do your leg exercises on alternate days to give your muscles proper time to rest, and it’s always a good idea to chat with your medical professional before beginning any exercise regimen.
If you are an athlete, you already know the values of having a healthy, high vertical jump. Tell us how you train to improve your jump height in the comments section below. See you in midair!