Athletes are interested in improving how high they can jump so that they can perform better at their sport. How high you can jump depends partly upon genetics, but you can significantly increase your jumping ability by participating in an effective training program. An effective vertical jump training program consists of strength training and plyometrics.
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How high you can jump ultimately depends on your leg power, which is the ability of your lower body to produce a significant amount of force is a short amount of time. You can improve your leg strength with weight training and your leg power with plyometrics, or explosive exercises. Plyometrics are effective at improving vertical height, according to the American Council on Exercise.
The muscles involved in the jumping movement include the glutes, quadriceps and calves. To develop strength in those muscle groups, complete squats, lunges, stepups and calf raises. With all of the strength exercises, you can place a barbell on the back of your shoulders or hold dumbbells in your hands. To complete squats, position your feet so that they’re slightly wider than your hips and with your toes pointed forward. Push your butt back as you bend your knees so that you lower down into a squat sitting position. Continue down until your thighs are parallel with the floor. To complete lunges, take a large step forward with one foot. While keeping your torso erect, lower your back knee down until it just about touches the floor. Return back to starting position and repeat with the opposite leg. To complete stepups, step up onto a plyo box so that your entire foot is on the box. Drive up off that leg and lift your trailing leg up, bringing your knee up to your chest. Lower the trail leg back down and repeat all repetitions on one leg before switching. To complete calf raises, stand with your feet at shoulder width and your toes pointed directly forward. Rise up onto your toes and then control yourself back down.
While strength exercises are designed to be completed slowly and under control, plyometrics are meant to be done as explosively as possible. Plyometric exercises that develop power in the muscles involved in the jump include squat jumps, single leg jumps, box jumps and rim jumps. To complete squat jumps, place your feet so that they’re slightly wider than your shoulders with your toes pointed forward. Lower slowly down into a squat, but once your thighs become parallel with the floor, explode upwards as fast as you can, jumping as high as possible. Stick the landing and set yourself before moving onto the next repetition. Single leg jumps are complete in the same manner, but are done one leg at a time. You likely won’t be able to lower down into a full squat, but lower down slowly into a quarter squat, then explode up into a jump, sticking the one legged landing. Complete all repetitions on one leg before moving to the next. To complete box jumps, stand in front of a plyo box with your feet shoulder width apart and toes pointed forward. Lower down slowly into a quarter squat and then explode upwards, jumping off the floor and landing up on the box so that both feet are completely on top of the box. Step down and repeat. To complete rim jumps, stand directly underneath a basketball rim. Hold your arms directly up towards the hoop. Jump as high as you can. It’s okay if you can’t touch the rim. Once you land from the jump, immediately explode back up again. You should be jumping directly upwards over and over.
Training Frequency and Volume
Vertical jump training is very intensive and requires a significant amount of recovery time in between sessions. Work out twice per week with at least 72 hours of rest in between. For example, work out Mondays and Thursdays or Tuesdays and Fridays. Complete the strength exercises first, performing three sets of 10 repetitions for each exercise. Then, move onto the plyometric excercises, completing each exercise at three sets of 10 repetitions.