4 Advanced Jump Exercises Used By Explosive Athletes

Improve your lower-body explosiveness with these jump exercises.

In sports like basketball, soccer or hockey, acceleration and change-of-direction speed require more than just being big and strong. Lifting weights alone won't maximize your performance on the field, court or rink.

That's why, to increase your explosive power, you should perform jump exercises in addition to your strength workouts. With that in mind, here are four advanced jump variations that can improve any athlete's lower-body explosiveness.

1. Lateral Hurdle Jump to Short Sprint

Why it works:

The Lateral Hurdle Jump to Short Sprint teaches you to explode into a sprint after multiple rapid accelerations and decelerations.

How to do it:

  • Set up two hurdles side by side.
  • Keeping your hips pointing forward at all times, jump laterally over the hurdles.
  • As soon as you land after the second jump, explode into a short 10- to 20-meter sprint.

2. Depth Jump Over Hurdle

Why it works:

Depth Jumps enhance the all-important stretch-shortening cycle, which is key to making explosive moves quickly and decisively.

How to do it:

  • Stand on an elevated box or bench (height will be determined by the ability of each athlete.)
  • Step off leading with one foot at a 30- to 45-degree angle (not straight down.)
  • As your feet touch the ground, immediately reverse the motion into a maximal jump over a hurdle placed in front of you.

3. 3-Way Hurdle Jump

Why it works:

Combining linear and lateral jumps improves braking and change-of-direction skills, which is exactly what the 3-Way Hurdle Jump does.

How to do it:

  • Set up five hurdles in a similar pattern as shown in the video above.
  • Jump over the hurdles going forward-right-forward-left-forward.
  • On your next set, change the sequence to forward-left-forward-right-forward.

Less-experienced and/or less-coordinated athletes could have trouble with their form and the timing while performing this drill. If that's you, pausing each rep helps. Once you get the hang of this, you can move on to continuous jumps.

4. DB Vertical Jump to Hurdle Jump

Why it works:

Using external resistance (dumbbells) for the vertical jump "potentiates" your nervous system, allowing you to generate more power on the subsequent hurdle jumps than using body weight only. With the correct timing, you'll feel as if you were shot out of a cannon after dropping the dumbbells.

How to do it:

  • Grabbing a pair of light dumbbells (10- to 20-pound dumbbells will work for most athletes), jump as high as possible.
  • As you come down, drop the dumbbells and immediately launch into three hurdle jumps.

Add these four advanced jump variations into your workouts and you'll soon notice improvements in your explosive power and first step quickness.