Want to jump higher? There is no real secret to increasing your jump, and requires the same thing that everything else in life does, hard work. However, the fact is that a lot of people go about it the wrong way.
There are a lot of mistakes that you can make along the way, and some of them can cause a lot of injuries. It takes a step by step approach to increase your vertical jump, and with some smart training, you will succeed.
Remember it depends on what your starting point is, some people are ore advanced than others, this is aimed at those that are basically starting from a low level base, read through and you can adapt it to your own level, starting at different stages.
Get Strong First
Firstly you have to understand this formula to understand how to increase your vertical jump.
POWER= STRENGTH * SPEED
What does this tell you? You gotta be strong, and you gotta be fast. Without one of them, your power is going to diminish. The biggest problem people face is trying to get their vertical jump up without being strong.
Not only is it not going to be effective, you are putting yourself at a high risk of injury. Get strong before you take the next step, you will keep your body healthy, and ensure results. There are many leg workouts to jump higher, but it is important that you take a step by step approach to ensure the best results.
It is very important to understand that we are all different athletes. When we learn to jump higher, we all have very different needs. There is no single best exercise to jump higher, it is a very individual thing. Some athletes are naturally stronger, but lack reactive speed and “spring”. Some athletes naturally have that reactive speed, and will do best to increase their strength if they want to get a better vertical.
Step By Step Approach With Basic Plyometrics
First we need to get strong in our legs. Don’t worry about speed, just get strong. The quadriceps, glutes hamstrings, lower back and calves are the important muscles. Understand that we use our hip extensors to jump primarily. The problem is that these are muscles that a lot of people are really weak in. They need to be given extra attention to make sure they are up to scratch. You need to develop strength in them, regardless of speed. Without the basic strength foundation, you are going no where. Concentrate on your glutes with some bum exercises, hamstrings and lower back if they are problem areas.
Remember you are focusing on getting strong, so build up and start to lift some heavy weights. Some great exercises for this phase are:
- Swissball Hamstring Curls
- Good Mornings
- Single Leg Squats
- Leg Press
- Step Ups
After you have the strength down pat, you need to start working more explosively. This simply means faster movements. Power is the ability to produce a maximum amount of force in a minimum amount of time. Learn to move a heavy weight quickly, and you are going to increase your power immensely. Be aware, you really do need to have enough raw strength in order to develop any explosive strength at all.
There are so many exercises for explosive strength, and most exercises just take a bit of adaptation to get the effect, but here are some great and simple explosive exercises:
- Explosive Box Squats- Squat back onto a box to ensure glute activation, and explode out of it, use about 50-60% of your max.
- Jump Squats- Use around 30% of your max, and explode out of the squat and into a jump.
- Step Up Jumps– Put a weight on your back, step up and attempt to jump. Doesn’t matter how high you get, the attempt at explosion is the important part.
- Power Cleans/ Snatches/ Variations- Tougher exercises with more technique, but very effective when mastered. There are simpler variations like a clean pull where you don’t get up with the weight over your head but still get the explosive benefits.
- Split Leg Lunge Jumps- Get into a lunge, jump up, switch legs, land, rinse and repeat. Tough exercise to do at home that gets your explosive, great for beginners.
Reactivity Is The Key
So you are strong, you are explosive, now you need to get springy. Reactive strength is basically what we actually call plyometrics. It is what most people are lacking, myself included. I said look at what kind of athlete you are, and adapt your training to that. Well I am built like a brick shit house, excuse the language, and am naturally strong, but lack the reactivity, so I work more on this side of things. For those starting out, get strong first, or you will get injured. This stuff tends to put more stress and strain on the joints, and is not something to ‘jump’ into without pre conditioning.
The fact is that there is an ENDLESS supply of plyometrics exercises you can do, and I am simply not going to give you all of them. You can even make them up, the trick is to be on the ground for the shortest time possible. I will just list a few simple ones, and if you want a longer and more complicated list, you can pick up jumping into plyometrics really cheap at amazon…great book with a lot of great exercises for those needing to increase reactive strength. A lot of great leg workout to jump higher.
Here are some of the simpler and most used plyometrics exercises:
- Depth Jumps- The best way to do these is with two boxes. You jump off one box, hit the ground, as soon as you hit the ground try to get off it as quickly as possible, and then jump up to the next one. This video is an example. You can vary the box heights. Depth jumps are a sure fire way to increase your vertical jump.
- Hurdle Jumps- Again the key is to make sure that you touch the ground for as little time as possible. Start as low as you need.
- Reactive Vertical Jumps- Simple, stand next to a wall, do repeat jumps. Focus on touching the ground for a short time, land in a cushioned position.
- Speed Ladder Exercises- There are quite a few speed ladder exercises that are great lower level plyos. Try hop scotch, double leg jumps, single leg hops etc etc…here are some examples, the ones with jumping apply more, but they are all good for foot speed, a great range here.
- Single Leg Hops- Single leg stuff is pretty intense, much higher level plyos and something you need to progress too. However, for those ready, is a huge stimulus and will surely increase your vertical. This guy is jumping super high hurdles, and you don’t even need to have hurdles there, just gives you something to get over. Start low, without hurdles is best.
I think I have made it pretty clear how to get your vertical up, and provided you with some leg workouts to jump higher.
- Get Strong.
- Get Explosive.
- Get Reactive.