Best 10 Ways to Improve Your Vertical Jump
Need those last few inches on your vertical jump so you can finally dunk the basketball? Want to jump over tall buildings or simply want to be able to jump higher to impress you friends? This is a list of 10 great ways to improve your vertical jump. I give four basic, easy things you can do to improve your jump with little to no equipment. I then give four more moderately difficult exercise that require a little more effort. Then I give two intense workouts that will greatly increase your vertical if done correctly.
I have researched as well as done all these exercises, and, in my opinion, these are the ten simplest and easiest ways to improve your vertical. The key to improving your vertical jump is working hard and doing every exercise with the intent that you will be dunking soon. It may take a few weeks, but by doing these exercises, your vertical should greatly improve.
The first basic exercise that will help you improve your jump is stretching. Simple stretching will help loosen up all the muscles that are important for jumping. This is especially important for those who work out a lot. Lifting a lot of weights, tightens up the muscles and sometimes begins to hurt their range of motion. It will also help your body stay flexible after some of the other exercises done in this workout. One stretch I find especially good is a turning lunge. This is performed by putting one leg back, so you are in a lunge position. Then extend the arm on the side of the leg that is back straight up in the air. Slowly turn away from the arm as far as you can go and then hold for 15-20 seconds. Preform three sets for each leg. I read about this stretch when I was in sixth grade, and I wholeheartedly believe that it single handily added 2-3 inches on my vertical.
2. Calf Raises
A Calf raise is another basic exercise that can improve your vertical. These can be done in many different way. The most basic way is to stand on a stair or some other object where your heel does not touch the ground. Rise up on your toes as far as you can, and then come back down, completing a full range of motion. Weight can be added as your calfs become stronger. This is an easy exercise to improve calf muscle, which is important for jumping
3. Jump Rope
A third exercise is jumping rope. This may seem easy and simple, and that is because it is. Jumping roping not only builds calf muscle and gets the body used to jumping, it also builds core strength. Core strength is another important element of jumping. To not bore yourself doing thousands of jump ropes, consider using different techniques such as jumping twice in between each swing of the rope, or switching feet in between each jump. There are many different jump rope techniques, feel free to experiment with them.
The last basic way to improve your vertical jump is by simply jumping. Go out and play basketball, work on exploding out of your jump to the rim. Preform every jump with as much effort as possible. By constantly jumping as high as you can, your jump will naturally improve.
Box Jumps are a slightly more advanced way to improve your vertical. These are done by getting a box, jumping on to it, and then jumping off. People often jump from side to side or front to back. The choice is yours, but I would recommend both. The height of the box can also be increased as your strength increases. This exercise is another good way to work on your explosion. Remember to do every rep with a strong intent.
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Squats are the most basic lift to build strength in the legs. A squat done correctly will greatly increase one’s vertical jump over time. I believe this is the most important lift for most athletes. It works many muscles in the legs and, if done correctly, can improve balance and muscle control. A squat is preformed by bending at the knees, while keeping the back straight, until the thigh is nearly parallel to the ground. Experts often argue on how far down a person should squat, so I will not recommend exactly how far you should go. I would ask your coach or trainer, and see what they say. I will say that I have never gotten injured well preforming squats, and I believe that they are very, very helpful in improving one’s vertical.
Another good and perhaps different way to improve your vertical is by improving your core. A good way to do this is by doing crunches or planks. Leg lifts also improve cores strength, but they are rumored to cause back pain if done incorrectly (I have not experienced these). These are fairly simple exercises that will help build a strong core, which is crucial to having a good vertical jump.
Step-ups are another fairly easy exercise to do that will help improve your leg strength. They are preformed by stepping up onto a box, rather than jumping, one foot at a time. When you step down, step down first with the first foot you stepped up with. Weight can be increased with time to build great strength.
The first intense exercise is the hang clean or the power clean. These two lifts work on total body explosion, a concept crucial to the vertical jump. Chances are the more you can clean, the higher you can jump. Here is a good video of how to preform a hang clean. Remember to preform each rep with a strong intent. Slacking off in these exercises will not help you,
The last great way to improve your vertical is the jump squat. A jump squat is basically a squat except the lifter explodes through the squat, causing the feet to leave the ground. This lift should be done with less weight than the squat to reduce the chance or injury, but the intent is extremely important. The lifter must act as if they are trying to jump as high as possible, putting as much strength into the lift as possible.
These ten exercises, if done correctly and with a strong intent, should help you greatly improve your vertical. It worked for me, hopefully it will for you.
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