With the NBA and high school basketball in full swing, let’s talk about how to increase your vertical jump for basketball. When looking at the vertical jump for basketball there are a bunch of different kinds of jumps (2 foot take off, 1 foot take off, 2nd jump capability), so it is important we train for all of them. There is no doubt that being able to jump higher than your opponent will give you a distinct advantage. For example, if you have a high vertical you can elevate over your opponent for a layup or jumpshot; as well as high point a rebound over them. In this blog we will go over what are the 5 best exercises to help increase the vertical jump for Basketball Players.
Russell Westbrook (Houston Rockets), Lebron James (Los Angeles Lakers), Zion Williamson (New Orleans Pelicans)….. What first comes to mind when you hear those names? Hopefully you thought of EXPLOSIVENESS! All 3 mentioned are highly dynamic athletes that can jump out of the gym. You are probably wondering how do these players jump so high? Were they born that way? Good genetics? Do they have a certain training program that built their vertical up? Is it their jump mechanics??
Well I would say it is a combination of all the three I mentioned above (Genetics, Jump Mechanics, and Training). Think of it like a triple double, your rebounds don’t out way your assists or points. You need all 3 stats to get that triple double. Same with maximizing your vertical jump!! Let’s be honest here, your genetics will play a big part in your athleticism. For example, some are born with more type IIa muscle fibers, which will then in turn make them more explosive.
Before we go any further, let’s talk about dunking. Having a high vertical jump and dunking are 2 different things. One can be 5‘5 with a 40 inch vertical and not be able to dunk a basketball, but a guy who is 6’5 with long arms and a 30inch vertical can. Again this goes back to genetics! When it comes to jumping higher though, looking at your vertical jump should be your main concern.
Jumping Mechanics, are another important element in the vertical jump that is often overlooked by athletes. When we say jumping mechanics we mean: does the athlete have a proper hip/knee bend? Arm swing? What angle is their torso at? Velocity of their jump? …. There are a bunch of different factors in jumping mechanics that can make or break the height of your jump. Once you have mastered the mechanics of a jump, that will only be able to take you so high. Thus, you will hit a plateau on the height of your jump. Here is where performance training comes in!
Performance training will tie everything together! Being on a proper training regimen, this will allow you to maximize your genetic athletic potential. With proper training, you will be working on your jump mechanics and strengthen the areas related to vertical jump power. Here, we will go over the 5 Best Exercises To Increase Your Vertical:
- Depth Drop to Box Jump: This exercise is great because it will help work on jump mechanics and the ability to absorb and produce force. When doing the depth drop, it will focus on absorbing the landing and the back swing of your jump. As soon as you hit the ground, swing those arms forward and push explosively through your legs so you land on the box. The less ground contact time the better! Think if you can explode up quicker than your opponent to get a rebound or jump ball, the better outcome for your team. This exercise will also help improve your second jump capability. An example of using a second jump in basketball would be missing a shot inside the key and jumping back up right away to grab the rebound so you can shoot again. The speed of absorption and exploding up is crucial.Click here to learn how to perform the Depth Drop to Box Jump
- Single Leg Depth Drop to Single Leg Box Hop: This exercise has all the same benefits as the one listed above, except it will be focusing on single leg instead of two. Unilateral training is very important to basketball players because they are jumping off one foot a lot of the time when attacking the rim while doing a traditional layup. Generally, basketball players will develop asymmetries within their legs because they are performing a dominant hand layup more often, thus leading to jumping off a certain leg more. Single leg training will help you develop power and a balance of strength within each leg!Click here to learn how to perform the Single Leg Depth Drop to Single Leg Box Hop
- Hex Bar Deadlift: The Hex Bar Deadlift is a great foundational lift to target strength! Strength is key to increase vertical jump because the stronger you are, the more force you can produce. Then when you go ahead and perform a jump, you are producing the same force as you were if you were lifting 300lbs on the deadlift. There is a reason why Olympic weightlifters and powerlifters always have a surprisingly high vertical for their size and weight. It doesn’t really come that shocking to fitness coaches though because olympic weightlifters and powerlifters are always training at high intensities building strength. That strength will then translate over in a vertical jump because the production of force is so great. Moral of the story, get strong!Click here to learn how to perform the Hex Bar Deadlift
- 3 Hurdle Jump Continuous: This plyometric exercise is perfect for hoopers. The 3 Hurdle Jump Continuous will target increasing your stretch shortening cycle, the ability to stretch your muscles and contract them rapidly. This drill will not only target vertical jump height, but 2nd jump capability. Remember, 2nd jump capability is when you jump then land, then jump again. This is key among basketball players because in games there will be many scenarios when they need to rejump. For example, a player drives in for a layup and misses. In order for him to recover his rebound versus his opponent he would need to land after his missed shot and jump back up again quickly to grab the rebound. Once he grabs the rebound, he then needs to land and jump back up to shoot again. The increase in the stretch shortening cycle will help with the speed of continuous jumps.Click here to learn how to perform the 3 Hurdle Jump Continuous
- Vertimax Squat Jump: This resisted plyometric exercise is perfect for being explosive and quick, while being able to challenge yourself on the tension. Sometimes bodyweight plyometrics can only get you so far before you plateau, that is why resistance is key to target changes in your body. This is a reflection of the Progressive Overload Principle (In order for a muscle to grow, strength to be gained, performance to increase, or for any similar improvement to occur, the human body must be forced to adapt to a tension that is above and beyond what it has previously experienced.) The resistance for the Vertimax Squat Jump will be the banded tension (harder on the way up, pulls you faster on the down). This power exercise is perfect for increasing vertical jump because it mimics the exact mechanics of a jump.Click here for the step-by-step on how to perform the Vertimax Squat Jump
One key thing to remember when doing these 5 exercises is to keep the sets in the 3-5 range, reps around the 5-8 range, and get proper rest time between sets 2-5mins. The reason for the certain ranges is because we are looking to target strength and power. We need to be well rested and keep the reps low so we can perform each repetition explosively. The ranges would be different though if we were looking to train for endurance or hypertrophy. Program these 5 exercises into your training regimen and you should start to see increases in your vertical jump!
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