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To Increase Vertical Jump:
A Few Simple Exercises that Get Results

To increase vertical jump is a major goal of almost every player I've ever coached, whether they were 5'0" or 6'5". Basketball is very often played above the rim, and if you've got a player with a good vertical leap, that usually spells more rebounds and easier put backs for your team.

So it is of no surprise that my players ask every summer for a workout that will help them increase vertical jump.

Good vertical leaping ability is as much a matter of the right genetics as it is of proper training. But like any other aspect of physical activity, in order to get the most out of what the body can do, the muscles need to be trained appropriately. Regardless of genetics, pretty much anyone can increase vertical jump if they train their muscles right.

In the past I have given my players exercises to do over the offseason that are designed to increase vertical jump a few inches. This is essentially strength training, focusing on the leg muscles involved in jumping up to the hoop. Unlike the weight training workouts I provide, there are no weights involved in these exercises; however, it is strenuous on the leg muscles, so I tell my players not to do this workout at the same time as they hit the gym - to do the jumping exercises on alternative days to the weight training program. For these exercises to help them increase vertical jump, their legs need to be fresh when they perform them.

Exercises To Increase Vertical Jump

Exercise #1: Bench Jumps
  1. Stand in front of a bench (wide stair, chair, etc.) that is about knee height.
  2. With your right foot on the bench, and your left foot on the ground, thrust yourself up as high as you can, using the thigh muscles of your right leg to push you up.
  3. While in the air, switch legs so that you land with your right foot on the ground and your left foot on the bench.
  4. Repeat with left leg thrusting you up.
Exercise #2: Running Jump
  1. Stand with one foot slightly in front of the other.
  2. Take three strides with a quick-quicker-quickest pace.
  3. As your foot hits the ground on the third stride explode vertically swinging your arms up for extra leverage.
  4. Repeat starting with your other leg. This is one repetition.
Exercise #3: Tuck Jumps
  1. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly bent.
  2. Jump up bringing your knees to your chest.
  3. Land on the balls of your feet and repeat immediately.
  4. Imagine the floor is like hot coals to reduce contact time with the ground.
  5. Perform 10 continuous jumps for 1 set.
Exercise #4: Depth Jumps
  1. Stand on a box, bench or sturdy chair approximately 30-40cm high.
  2. Step off the bench (don't jump off), landing on both feet, and as soon as you land explode vertically as high as you can.
  3. Try to minimize ground contact time (i.e. don't sink down into a deep squat before jumping up)
Exercise #5: Rim Touches
  1. Starting from the elbow (at the corner of the foul line), take 2-3 hard steps and leap off one leg - like a lay-up - to touch the rim.

    **If you can't touch the rim, then touch as high up on the mesh as you can.

Exercise #6: Calf Raises
  1. Standing on the edge of a stair, place the ball of the right foot on the edge so that most of the right foot is hanging off the stair.
  2. Press the left foot against the right calf, so that all your weight is on the right foot.
  3. Raise up as high as possible, in a quick, fluid movement, on the ball/toes of the right foot, then slowly lower the heel of the right foot as far below the stair as possible while still maintaining balance.

    **Raising up should be done in a count of two; lowering down should be done in a count of four.

  4. Perform 15 reps with the right foot, then switch to the left foot - this is one set.

These are exercises I have gathered from a variety of other training programs designed to increase vertical jump - I've taken the exercises that, to me, seemed to do a good job of developing the muscles used in the vertical jump.

And I believe these exercises are reasonably safe for athletes to perform without direct supervision - exercises they can perform on their own, during the off-season. Having said that, I'm not a professional trainer, so I would suggest that you consult a certified trainer before using these or any other exercises with your team

Most programs you come across that are designed to increase vertical jump have good points and bad points - review them for the author's credentials and, preferably, user reviews before spending any money on them.

One program that definitely has built up a large fan base is The Jump Manual. It has become an internet best seller, selling over a million dollars worth of online sales, promising an increase of 10 inches in vertical leap in 12 weeks and gathering plenty of user testimonial videos that are scattered all over YouTube. Worth checking out - in fact, I've even added a page on the Jump Manual here.

Good luck trying to increase the vertical jump of your players - and send me a note if you come across a program that works!

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