Wanting the sickest hops the game has ever seen is a goal most ballers set. After years of training elite basketball players, UConn Huskies strength coach Chris West has discovered a simple way to help you do just that. “The vertical jump is just an expression of your power output,” he says. “So, to improve your vert, you need to improve lower-body power output.”
To increase his players’ output, West uses various lifts, including the Front Squat, Hang Snatch, Single-Leg Squat and RDL, among others. However, according to West, one particular lift is extremely effective in producing quick results—the Back Squat Jump.
“To really work the vert, you need to address force in terms of speed of movement,” West says. “That’s where the Back Squat Jump comes into play and why it’s such a valuable exercise.”
West recommends adding Back Squat Jumps to your upper body workout once a week. For best results, he suggests using 40 to 60 percent of your one-rep maximum weight. Using this lighter weight allows for greater speed of movement, preserves your form and prevents injury.
Back Squat Jump
• Begin in athletic stance with bar resting on traps
• Squat with control into quarter squat, keeping weight back on heels
• Explosively drive out of squat and jump for maximum height
• Land, reset and repeat
• Perform 2-4 sets of 4-8 reps