Many athletes want to jump higher in order to improve their game, especially in instances where an increased vertical comes in handy like with basketball or volleyball. Fortunately, there are some simple, yet challenging, exercises that can be used in order to help you jump higher. Try including these exercises in your normal workout regimen to see your vertical jump increase.
This exercise is useful for building the muscles in your hips, knees and ankles. More importantly, it helps train these muscles to store and release energy when you need it, which is critical for quicker, higher jumps.
- Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Place your hands on your head.
- Squat down with your back straight until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Push upward quickly, making sure to extend your hips, knees and ankles.
- Land softly when you come back down by bending your knees and going directly into your next squat.
- Hold the squat for a second or two, then repeat.
Tip: To help provide your joints with a little more cushion, try doing this exercise on a gym mat or a “bouncy,” rubberized track.
To jump higher, you need strong calf muscles to provide you with extra power. This exercise helps to strengthen your calf muscles by pushing them to support your body weight. At the same time, it extends your hips by loosening up the hip flexors.
- Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Take a large step forward with your left foot, bending your knees slightly to get into the lunge position.
- Put your left elbow against the instep of your left foot. While doing this, make sure your right knee doesn’t touch the floor.
- After a pause, put your left hand next to your left foot and put your right hand on the floor for balance.
- Lift the toes of your left foot toward your shin while also pushing your hips up toward the ceiling. Hold that position for a second or two.
- Stand back up and return to the starting position.
- Repeat the forward lunge, this time leading with your right foot.
Tip: Make sure you pause in between movements as described in the steps above. This helps to stretch important muscles and extend your hips.
This is a great way for those who are comfortable using weights to increase their vertical jump. This exercise strengthens the glutes and hamstrings which, according to Men’s Health magazine, contribute to more than 30 percent of a person’s total jumping power.
- Stand with your feet about shoulder-width apart. Your back should be arched normally and your knees should be slightly bent.
- Hold a dumbbell in each hand with your palms facing in towards your legs.
- Push your hips back as you lower the weights. Stop when the weights are just below your knees.
- Use your hips to push yourself back up into the starting position.
Tip: To help ensure that your form is accurate, think about whether you are utilizing your hamstrings and glutes during the exercise.
This exercise works muscles that are often overlooked in other workouts. It also teaches your muscles to move faster and more effectively, which is critical for jumping higher. The type of Olympic lift described here is called the snatch.
- Stand in front of a weighted barbell with feet about shoulder-width apart.
- Bend down and take a wide grip on the bar.
- Move your body down into a squat position with your hips pushed back and shoulders over the bar.
- Push your feet down to lift the bar up. Once the bar passes your knees, jump up immediately. While jumping up, pull the bar up and over your head.
- Land in a squat position with the bar over your head sitting just behind your ears.
- Stand up while keeping the bar overhead.
- After a pause, carefully return the barbell to the floor.
Tip: If you’re not an experienced weightlifter, have a trainer help you with this move. Those with little or no weightlifting experience could easily hurt themselves when attempting this exercise.
Athletes who take the time to work on their vertical jump may be amazed at just how much it improves their game. Though these exercises may be challenging, they can do wonders for developing the muscles that make it possible for you to jump higher and faster when needed. In addition, these exercises can be useful for sports where jumping isn’t even a priority – such as soccer or sprinting – because of the way they develop the legs and all of their surrounding muscles.