Improve Your Vertical With This One-Week Jump Training Plan

Get a bigger vertical with a one-week jump training plan from STACK Expert John Cissik.

Your vertical jump isn't just useful on the field; it's also good for showing your coach a result of all the strength you've developed in the weight room. If you want to have a massive vertical, you need to build a strong, explosive lower body, a powerful upper body and solid jumping technique. You can develop all three by:

  • Improving your lower-body strength through lower-body, multi-joint exercises
  • Learning how to use that strength through plyometrics, Medicine Ball Throws and Olympic lifts
  • Developing upper-body strength and power through Presses, Rows and Medicine Ball Throws
  • Improving your jumping technique with plyometrics

Learn a few key exercises that train the main things you need to do to jump higher, then put it all together in a sample workout.

Vertical Jump Exercises

Back Squat

The Back Squat builds lower-body strength while mimicking the movement of a vertical jump. To get the biggest jumping benefit from the Back Squat:

  • Set the bar on the back of your shoulders or at the base of your neck
  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart
  • Keeping your weight on your heels, push your hips back and flex your knees
  • As you lower yourself, attempt to place your stomach between your legs
  • Go down a comfortable distance, then stand back up
  • To improve your vertical jump, aim for sets of 4-12 reps at 70-85 percent of your maximum

Hang Power Clean

In some studies, this exercise had the highest power output among the different Clean variations. It also mimics the jumping motion. When performing it, aim to be as explosive as possible.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart holding the bar with your hands shoulder-width apart
  • Keeping your arms straight, push your hips back and unlock your knees slightly so you lean forward
  • Allow the bar to slide down your body until it's at mid-thigh level
  • Explosively extend your hips, rise up onto your toes and shrug your shoulders
  • When the bar reaches shoulder height, move into a quarter squat, bend your elbows and receive the bar on the front of your shoulders
  • When training for the vertical jump, aim for sets of 3-6 reps at 60-80 percent of your maximum

Behind-the-Back Medicine Ball Toss

This exercise mimics the jumping motion and teaches you to use your arms explosively. In some settings, coaches actually use it as a test instead of a prep for the vertical jump.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart
  • Hold a medicine ball in front with your arms straight
  • Move into a quarter squat and swing the medicine ball back between your legs
  • Without pausing, explosively reverse directions and jump straight up. As you do so, throw the medicine ball as far behind you as possible without leaning backward
  • This is normally done five to 10 times in a session

Squat Jump

This is a partial movement that makes the jumping motion more difficult.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Place your hands behind your back so that you cannot use your arms
  • Lower into a quarter squat and hold that position for a full count
  • From the bottom position, jump as high as you can
  • When you land, push your hips back and allow your hamstrings to absorb most of the impact
  • This is normally done ten times in a session

Box Jump

This exercise also makes jumping more difficult by giving you a tall target. Stay safe by choosing a secured box with a non-slip surface. Remember, you're giving an all-out effort, so take your time between jumps.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart in front of a box
  • Quickly move into a quarter squat and swing your arms back
  • Without pausing, explode up and jump onto the box
  • Land softly on flat feet
  • Step down and repeat
  • This is normally done five to ten times in a session

Put all of the above exercises together into a one-week training program designed to improve your vertical jump.

One-Week Jump Training Plan

Day 1: Lower-Body Strength

  • Back Squats - 5x6-10 @ 75-85%
  • Lunges - 3x8-12 on each leg
  • Romanian Deadlifts - 3x8-12
  • Reverse Hyperextensions - 3x12-15

Day 2: Off

Day 3: Explosiveness

  • Hang Power Clean - 5x3-6@65-75%
  • Squat Jumps - 10x
  • Box Jumps - 5x
  • Behind-the-Back Medicine Ball Toss - 10x

Day 4: Off

Day 5: Upper-Body Strength

  • Bench Press: 3x6-10@75-85%
  • Pull-Ups: 3xMax
  • Military Press: 3x6-10

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