For many sports, the ability to vertically jump from a standing start is essential. These include soccer, volleyball, American football, and perhaps most of all, basketball. As with any sporting skill, you have the means to improve by following training programs and exercise routines, and in this article, we are going to give you some which you can use to improve your vertical jump. Some are easier than others, some require other equipment, and most can be done just about anywhere.
First Things First
Before you start any of the exercises there are two matters which you need to take care of. The first is your attitude towards improvement and getting yourself in the correct frame of mind to do so. You must start with the belief that you can improve because whenever you have the mindset that you can do something, it makes it so much more likely that you will.
The second point in relation to how you think about improving is to set yourself challenging but achievable goals or milestones. We say achievable because in relation to your belief system if you set a goal for improvement that seems far too difficult to achieve you will quickly become disillusioned and possibly give up altogether. At the same time, make it challenging enough that you genuinely have to work some to get there and in doing so improve your strength, flexibility, and speed along the way.
One of the most important priorities of physical activity is that before starting any session you should properly warm up. This doesn't have to be too intense as you want to save your energy for the main session, but it should be sufficient to loosen your joints and warm up your muscles. Unfortunately, many sportsmen and women think that a warmup isn't necessary for them because they see themselves as already in peak condition, but the fact is EVERY sportsperson should warm up.
By doing so you remove much of the risk of pulling a muscle, straining a ligament or any other type of injury caused by a lack of a warmup. It is tragic that many sportspeople end up being unable to play in the sport they love for several months because of an injury caused by not taking 5 or 10 minutes to warm up properly.
What are We Trying to Improve?
When it comes to the physical action of a vertical jump, there are several physiological aspects to it. In no particular order, you have speed, flexibility, power, acceleration, and stability which all stem from your muscles, joints, and ligaments in varying degrees. You should appreciate that there is no one single part of your body that we focus on to improve your vertical jumps, as there are several that need to be worked on.
For more information on these, and some hacks for instant improvement check out ‘The Jump Manual’ which can help you unlock more power and gain maximum height in your jumps.
Exercises to Increase Vertical Jump
These exercises are presented in no particular order because, as we said in the previous paragraph, there's no one single muscle or joint we want to work on — there are several. For this reason, each exercise will help improve one or more parts of your body, and a specific attribute of being able to jump higher.
Bulgarian Split Squats
This is an exercise that lets you work on both your stability and your strength. The importance of the former is that it will help your landing, and the latter will obviously help generate power when you lift off. You will need a box or bench and two dumbbells.
Stand with one foot resting on a bench, and holding a dumbbell in each hand. Lower yourself down so that the knee of your rear leg touches the floor, or at least gets close to touching the floor. Now push up so that you raise yourself back to a standing position. Do this up to 8 times and repeat this set 2 to 3 times for each leg.
Hip Flexor Stretch
This is an exercise that focuses on maximizing your flexibility and also improving a key element of a vertical jump, which is a quick leg extension. The specific areas of your body this exercise works is knee joints and loosening the muscles around it.
To do the exercise you lunge forward by placing one leg in front with it bent at the knee. Your rear leg comes behind you, underneath your hip. When you feel your pelvic muscles stretching, hold that position for 3 seconds, then move back to the starting position.
This is designed to improve muscle tone, and if you do the exercise while holding weights it is also a great way to build strength too.
Standing normally, you want to squat down as far as you can, making sure you keep your body aligned, and your back straight as possible. Once you are low as you can go, jump straight up with as much power and force as you can. Repeat 5 times and you can do two reps of this during each session.
For this, you will need a set of weights. If you do not have any, you could use a long pole and hang equal weights at each end of it in a bag or bucket. This helps to improve your balance and also build up the strength in your muscles.
Hold the weight across your shoulder and slowly squat down. Hold for 3 seconds and then rise up again. To make the exercise more effective as you progress increase the weight you are holding
Although running should be part of most exercise regimes, for vertical jumping, running up and down stairs is an excellent variation. It targets muscles that are used for jumping such as your calves, quads, and glutes, plus it is an excellent way to build up your cardiovascular fitness too.
There are lots more exercises that you can undertake by using the ‘The Jump Manual.’ It has exercise videos, workouts, and training which are designed to improve your