To take your basketball game to the next level and maximize opportunities, you must work on enhancing your vertical jumping ability.
Olympic lifting, power lifting and plyometric training all improve vertical explosiveness. But the key to maximizing your vertical jump is to train specific phases of the dynamic movement individually.
Every dynamic movement can be broken down into three phases: eccentric (muscle lengthening), isometric (fixed length), and concentric (muscle shortening). Training these phases individually enhances movement quality, rate of force development and energy transfer to optimize force dynamics during execution of the jump.
In the video above, I demonstrate three effective exercises to optimize vertical jump, and provide critical coaching points below.
Eccentric Weighted Box Jump
Holding dumbbells 30 to 40 percent of your body weight, descend into a quarter-squat position for four seconds. When you reach the bottom of that position, release the dumbbells to the side and rapidly explode up onto the box.
Depth Drop to Squat Jump
Stand on top of an 18- or 24-inch box. Step off the edge of the box with both hands up, reaching toward the ceiling. While descending, point your toes up toward your shins (dorsiflex), hyperextend your arms back behind your hips, and pull your knees up toward your chest right before both feet strike the ground simultaneously. It is critical to land flat-footed, feet hip- to shoulder-width apart, hips back, shoulders over the knees and chest up. After a two-second pause on the landing, explode up as high as possible.
Note: I like to cue athletes to hit the ground like a brick, bracing their muscles and joints and minimizing hip drop on the landing. This puts a lot of stress on muscles and tendons to decelerate quickly, which enhances joint stiffness. When accelerating up, think about pushing through your big toe to emphasize triple extension.
Depth Drop to Box Jump
Start this drill the same way as the Depth Drop to Squat Jump. As you step off the box, anticipate the landing and attack the ground with both feet while swinging your arms up. This helps you become reactive and enhances the stretch-shortening cycle, allowing you to rapidly explode off the ground and onto a second, higher box.
Note: To maximize the speed of your take-off after landing, land flat-footed, shoulders over knees, hips back and arms back. Swing your arms forward quickly to gain momentum upward, and rapidly extend your hips while tucking your knees up toward your chest.