How to Improve Your Vertical Jump | STACK

How to Improve Your Vertical Jump

November 15, 2010

Must See Speed Videos

There's no quick fix for improving an athlete's vertical jump. A common misconception is that to boost your vert, you must increase leg strength, and leg strength alone. True, athletes must perform lower-body exercises to strengthen their legs, but many more physical dimensions of an athlete’s make-up must be addressed to maximize vertical potential.

Core Four

According to basketball performance expert Alan Stein, four key areas must be trained—flexibility, core, strength and power.

  • Flexibility refers to the range of motion in a joint or series of joints. You need to improve lower-body flexibility to increase your power production. Perform lifts that work the triple extension, meaning the ankles, knees and hips.
  • To achieve higher "ups," core strength is just as important as lower-body explosiveness. And the core includes more than the abdominal muscles. You must also strengthen your lower back, glutes, obliques and hip flexors. The hips play a huge role in an athlete’s ability to produce power from the ground.
  • Strength is the ability to produce force. The more force you can create against the ground, the higher you will be able to jump, according to Stein.
  • Power, on the other hand, defines an athlete’s ability to exert maximum strength quickly and forcefully, which Stein considers "the essence of jumping."

With a comprehensive training program focused on the "Core Four," an athlete will maximize his or her vertical jump performance, says Stein.

Explosiveness

To develop explosiveness for an improved vertical, an athlete must train using full-body, ground-based lifts, such as Power Cleans and Squats, which  mimic the explosive movement patterns required to jump higher.

The benefits of performing full-body lifts include increased lower-body power output, core strength development and recruitment of fast-twitch muscle fibers. By performing Power Cleans and Squats, you will be training the hip drive that generates explosive power to jump higher.

Plyometrics

Plyometric exercises are another explosive power driver. When performed and used correctly, plyos help an athlete produce faster, more powerful and coordinated movements. The objective of plyometric training isn’t to jump as high as possible. It's to land softly in a balanced state, and to work for limited ground contact time.

Sequences

The combination of explosive weight training, flexibility work and plyometrics  is a training method known as sequences. Sequences were created by Tim Grover, owner of ATTACK Athletics and performance coach for Michael Jordan and many other NBA stars. Grover says, “When you combine the three together, we are actually training the mind and body for the muscle to work the way it is supposed to work...because now it knows why it is doing the weight training, plyometrics and stretching.”

FROM AROUND THE WEB

The benefits of training to improve your vert go beyond jumping ability. The muscles trained and used to execute a jump are the same as those needed to run faster and move laterally. In other words, you are not just improving your vert, you are enhancing your overall athletic development.

Follow the links below to learn how to perform the vert-heightening sequences used by Grover:

Vertical Jump Training with Michael Jordan's Former Trainer
Michael Jordan: Mind of a Champion
Dwyane Wade's On-Court Skills and Weight Room Training

Find information on additional workouts for an improved vertical jump at:

Brandon Roy's Explosive Training
NFL Combine Training for Football
Kobe-Inspired Plyo Program
Vertical Leap Training with Connecticut Basketball

Photo:  Danny Vega

Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
Zac Clark
- Zac Clark is STACK Media's Custom Content Manager. Prior to joining STACK in September 2008, he served as an editorial assistant for USA Hockey Magazine...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

5 Ways to Spice Up Your Ladder Drills

To become a better athlete you must continue to progress your programs difficulty and in my opinion, for advanced athletes, ladder drills alone don't...

Make Quick and Powerful Cuts Like Adrian Peterson

10 Reasons Why You're Not Getting Faster

The Speed Drill That Set Up DeSean Jackson's 64-Yard Touchdown

Build Strength for Baseball and Softball Speed

3 Box Drills That Develop True Game Speed

Build Game-Breaking Speed With This Exercise

How to Build First-Step Quickness for Baseball and Softball

Ditch the Sprints. Here's How to Build True Sports Speed

STACK Challenge: 300-Yard Shuttle

3 Speed Workouts to Improve Your Top-End Sprints

8 Positions to Lower Your 40-Yard-Dash Time

Get Faster With the Ultimate Stair Workout

Get Faster With 3 Essential Speed Training Strategies

Step Counting: How Big Men Can Run a Faster 40

How Sammy Watkins Built His Game-Breaking Speed

Lengthen Your Stride for Maximum Speed

How to Safely Decelerate Faster

Pyramids: A Sprint Workout for the Strong

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: The Treadmill Challenge

3 Simple Tips to Improve Your 40-Yard Dash

Soccer Players: Get Faster with the Montreal Impact Workout

3 Speed Training Essentials You Must Develop to Get Faster

2-Week Long-Distance Track Workout Training Plan

Get the Most Out of Foam Rolling

Michael Johnson's Guide to a Faster 40

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

Rev Up Your Sprint Training With These Complexes

The Off-Season Baseball Speed and Agility Workout Program

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Multidirectional Run

5 Easy Ways to Improve Your Sprint Speed

Reactive Agility: The Next Big Thing in Speed Training

4 Foot Speed Drills to Increase Speed and Agility

Stability Training Can Improve Your Agility and Range of Motion

The 5 Elements of a Successful Speed Training Program

Get More Explosive Off the Line of Scrimmage Like DeSean Jackson

5 Essential Cross Country Workouts Explained

Here's Why Andre Williams' Breakout Performance Was No Fluke

Improve Your Football 40 Time During the Season

Sprint Faster With Speed Demons

Burn Your Competition with This Sprint Workout

The Secret to Tom Brady's Newfound Speed

ZSeries 10-Minute Workouts: Track Sprints

Skipping Drills: The Missing Link From Your Speed Workouts

Increase Your Soccer Speed With 4 Sprint Drills

Get Faster With 'The .10 Second Difference' From EXOS

3 Speed Drills to Help You Sprint Faster and Lower Your 40 Time

Soccer Speed and Agility Drills for Women