Jumping is an athletic skill that requires strength, speed, coordination and power. Just like any other skill, jumping higher can be achieved through proper training. Following a specific strength and conditioning training program using various exercises such as squats is one of the most common techniques for helping you jump higher.
The squat is a basic functional movement and is essential for any training program designed to help you jump higher. The movement patterns used in a jump and squat are similar resulting in the same muscles used for each exercise. As a result, improving squat technique, strength and endurance can directly influence your ability to jump higher.
Several types of squats can be used in your strength and conditioning program for improving your vertical jump. For example, weighted back squats or front squats are used to improve maximal strength while body-weight squats focus on muscular endurance and technique. Single-leg squats can also improve your jumping ability by improving lower-body strength along with general balance and coordination.
Plyometrics include advanced squat exercises designed to improve power and explosive strength. Squat jumps are the most common type of squat-based plyometrics and are characterized by continuous jumps combined with a squat during the landing. The goal of squat jumps and plyometrics is to develop maximum force and power in the least amount of time possible. Plyometrics can be performed with your body weight or while holding lightweight dumbbells. The exercises are explosive -- that's why they are so effective -- but are best approached under the guidance of a certified trainer. Some plyometrics call for advanced skills and fitness level so protect yourself from injury with proper instruction.
A sample workout program with squats to help you jump higher includes four workout sessions of weight training and plyometric training spread throughout the week. For example, Monday and Thursday are dedicated to a weight-training workout that includes squats and other total-body exercises. Tuesday and Friday are dedicated to plyometric training workouts but can be used as an additional weight-training workout for beginners.