Improved vertical is something that athletes strive for in their careers. The ability to jump higher than your opponent takes discipline and practice. Just like any other aspect of a sport, it won’t come without putting in the time and effort.
There are three things that are key to improving your vertical: form, strength, and flexibility.
You’d be surprised how much your vertical will improve simply by correcting your form. Once you get the feel of using correct form, you’ll be able to jump with more ease. Here are some things to remember:
- Don’t lean too far forward. Use your strength to jump forward instead.
- Line your body up from your take off foot, then align your hips, shoulders, and head.
It’s important to get your form down before you move on. Otherwise, adding strength won’t do you any good. The key with strength is to focus on those jumping muscles. Here are some exercises that target your jumping muscles:
- Box Jumps – Place a medium sized box or platform in front of you. Jumping with both feet and using your arms, jump as high as you can and onto the top of the box. Step down from the box and repeat.
- Jump Rope – This is the most common of the jumping exercises because it not only builds jumping strength, but it also increases the elasticity in your tendons to aide your ability to jump. For jump rope exercises, do a normal jump 100 times. When that is easy, increase that number.
- If you’re looking to challenge yourself, jump with just one foot.
- Jump Squats – This is just a variation of normal squats, but you don’t need any weight. Instead, squat down into squat position until your legs are parallel with the ground. At that point, jump up into the air as quickly as possible. Explode up using your legs and arms.
- When you land, move straight into the next jump squat.
Flexibility plays a big role in increasing your vertical. If your muscles and tendons aren’t stretched, you’re keeping yourself from having the best range of motion. The Psoas Stretch is the best stretch for these muscles.
- Get into lunge position to the point you are on one knee.
- Tighten your glutes and push your hips forward.
- To get more out of it, lean back from your hips and turn your body toward your front knee. You will feel the stretch in your groin and the front of your hip.
What are you doing in your program to help athletes increase their vertical?
Colin Reay coaches track and basketball at the high school level, working with record breaking sprinters and jumpers as well as championship teams. His focus is jumping higher and jumping workouts at his site JustJumpHigher.com