Increase Your Basketball Vert With This Step-Up Progression | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

Increase Your Basketball Vert With This Step-Up Progression

January 7, 2013 | Mike Atkinson

Must See Basketball Videos


When you jump up for a layup or a dunk in basketball, you almost always leap off one leg. So, to improve your jumping ability and help you posterize defenders, you need to train on a single leg with Step-Ups.

The Step-Up increases single-leg strength through the ankle, knee and hip to maximize the muscles powering your jump. Working one leg at a time helps improve your jumping ability on both legs, so you can even drive to the hoop on your weak side.

The following basketball Step-Up progression is designed specifically to improve these skills on the court. This is accomplished by incorporating a basketball into the exercises to mimic live gameplay.

Learn more about increasing your basketball vert with STACK's Guide to Jumping Higher.

The Basic Components of a Step-Up

Step-Up Start Position

Start Position

Starting Position

  • Start with 18- to 32-inch box
  • Keep lead leg on box for duration of exercise
  • Knee should be directly over heel with leg bent at 90 degrees
  • Drive force through foot on box

Acceleration/Concentric Finish

  • Full extension through leg on box
  • Foot flat on box
  • Tall posture

Swing/Gate Leg

  • Drive opposite knee up until parallel to ground
  • Foot is dorsiflexed directly under knee
  • Shin angle is at 90 degrees

Deceleration/Eccentric Finish

  • Stabilize leg on box
  • Reach back with swing/gate leg
  • Control eccentric movement on the way down
  • Finish in starting position
  • Repeat for specified reps

Step-Up Progression for Basketball

Step-Up with Ball Press

Basketball Step-Up

Basketball Step-Up With Ball Press

This variation provides a base for more aggressive movements in the progression. Adding the basketball provides sport-specificity and increases body and ball awareness.

How to Perform

  • Stick to the basics above
  • As you begin to accelerate upward, press ball out and up to simulate attacking the rim for a dunk or layup
  • Keep ball at chest level
  • Extend body upward

Sets/Reps: 2x12-15 each leg

Step-Up with Ball and Dribble

Step-Up With Ball and Dribble

Step-Up With Ball and Dribble

This is a great exercise to work on your timing and how to use the ball during the acceleration phase. The dribble adds some proprioception and kinesthetic awareness that simulate game demands.

How to Perform

  • Focus on the three phases of the Step-Up
  • Dribble ball off side of box
  • As ball bounces, rise up with ball
  • Finish with balance and check your form
  • Bounce can be a dribble or "crab dribble"
  • Bounce ball then drive up with leg

Sets/Reps: 2x12-15 each leg

Step-Up with Ball Press and Single-Leg Jump

Step-Up With Ball Press

Step-Up With Ball Press

The final variation increases single-leg explosiveness and stability through the deceleration phase. This exercise is only for advanced athletes, best performed after mastering the first two steps in the progression.

How to Perform

  • Focus on all the basics of the Step-Up
  • Aggressively step up and jump vertically with leg on box
  • Land on same leg and decelerate into position for  next rep
  • Think about extending your leg on the box
  • Land softly and transfer energy evenly to the glutes, hamstrings and quads
  • Focus on form in air

Sets/Reps: 2-3x4-8 each leg

See also Step Up Progression for Basketball from Mike Atkinson on Vimeo.

Must See
Skylar Diggins Attacks the Off-Season On and Off the Court
Views: 2,772,532
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,797,527
How to Perform the Euro Step With Iman Shumpert
Views: 81,154

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: Duke University Views: 217,694
Eastbay: It Begins Now Views: 67,081
Path to the Pros 2015: Training Days Views: 118,412
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

3 Post-Activation Potentiation Combos for Explosive Strength

Ask any experienced athlete what the biggest difference is between high school and college sports or between college and professional sports, and...

Build Max Power With These Pulling Exercises

12 Strength Moves from NFL WR Harry Douglas's Full-Body Workout

These 3 Single-Leg Movements Will Improve Your Squat Technique

7-Exercise Core-Blasting Workout

Master the Lateral Lunge to Improve Your Hockey Stride

Increase Your Explosiveness with the Power Curl

7 Strategies for Faster Workout Recovery

Mike Boyle: 4 Small Muscles That Can Lead to Big Gains

5 Ways to Get a Higher Vertical Jump

Kyle Lowry's 12-Week All-Star Training Program

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Exercise

The Science of Building Muscle: 2 Ways to Maximize Hypertrophy

10 Ways to Get Stronger With a Sandbag

7 Best Lower-Body Strengthening Exercises

Improve Your Squat Depth With 5 Easy Warm-Up Exercises

5 Exercises to Develop Soccer Power

Develop Core Strength for Throwing

7 Ways to Work Out Competitively Without CrossFit

A Better Way to Train Your Core

How Functional Training Has Overly Complicated Strength Training

3 Nordic Hamstring Curl Exercises to Boost Your Performance

How NOT to Perform a Pull-Up (With Fixes)

Bench Press Grip Guide: How Hand Placement Changes the Exercise

Dominate Your Bench Test With This Strategy

Make Lifts More Challenging With Resistance Bands

Reach New Training Heights With Resistance Band Exercises

4 Simple Golf Core Exercises to Increase Your Driving Distance

How Often Should You Vary Your Exercise?

4 Weaknesses That Can Ruin Your Exercise Technique (With Fixes)

Posterior Chain Fixes to Improve Your Game

4 Deadlift Variations to Increase Your Pull

6 Gym Machines That Are Actually Worth Your Time

7 Farmer's Walk Variations for Improved Core Strength

Improve Soccer Agility with Lateral Strength Exercises

3 Tricks for a Stronger Front Squat

Perfect Your Squat Technique With the Unloaded Squat

Use Eccentric Lifts to Increase Size and Strength

Putting Together an Off-Season Workout for Point Guards

12-Week Resistance Band and Chain Workout

How to Design a Greco-Roman Wrestling Training Program

Never Bench Press With Your Feet in This Position

Mike Boyle's 5 Tips for More Effective Workouts

How Strength Training Changed Rory McIlroy's Game

The Best Single-Leg Exercises for Youth Athletes