The ability to jump high is prized among volleyball players because of the offensive and defensive weapons it adds to your arsenal. Vertical jumping is important for spiking the ball as well as defending against spikes from your opposition. For some athletes, a superior vertical leap is something they’re gifted with. The majority need to build and hone it like any other athletic skill. With some simple exercises and techniques, you can build up to an impressive vertical leap.
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Test your jumping ability. Stand next to an outside wall with a piece of chalk in your hand. Jump as high as possible, using the chalk to mark the wall at highest point of your jump. Find the height of your mark with a tape measure. Every two weeks, re-test yourself to gauge your progress.
Build lower body strength with resistance training. Use exercises like the leg press, deadlift and squat that mimic the lower body jumping motion. Train with moderately heavy weights to improve your strength. Select weights that allow you to do no more than 10 reps per set, but no less than 5. Do resistance training for your lower body once per week.
Train explosive power with depth jumps. Start out by standing on a one- to two-foot platform or bench. Hop down from the platform landing with both feet at once. As you land, squat down and quickly reverse direction into a jump. Use the momentum you gained hopping down from the platform to propel yourself as high as possible. Depth jumps teach your muscles to contract faster.
Learn to use your arms to generate more force. As you squat before your jump, forcefully throw your arms down. As you reverse direction, swing your arms back up as fast as you can. When you reach the highest point of your jump, your hands will be in perfect position to block spikes from the opposing team.
Improve your serve with the three-step vertical jump. Practice with a line on the floor to mimic the lines on the court. Start from about 15 feet from the line. Take three steps toward the line and take off from both feet, jumping as high as possible. Use your arm swing to assist you. Make sure you do not cross the line before the jump, which would be a rules violation in a game situation.
- Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, Third Edition; National Strength and Conditioning Association
- ACE Personal Trainer Manual: The Ultimate Resource for Fitness Professionals, 3rd Edition; Cedric X. Bryant, et al.