7 Exercises to Improve Vertical Jump

7 Vertical Jump Exercises

In order to have an explosive vertical jump, you must perform exercises that target all the muscles involved in jumping.

Like everything in life, not all exercises are created equal…

Here are the top 7 vertical jump exercises (complete with video):

1.Squats

The squat is widely regarded as the ‘king of vertical jump exercises’ because it targets multiple muscles simultaneously.

It targets all the leg muscles and posterior chain muscles.

This means that it targets your lower back, glutes (butt), hamstrings, quads, and calves.

The great thing about the squat is that it works all these muscles at the same time, and trains them explosively.

Here is a great video showing you how to perform squats correctly:

Tips on How To Squat
Focus on proper form and start at a low weight before moving on to heavier weights.
Keep your feet shoulder width apart, and point your toes approximately 30 degrees outward to enable you to target your hips/glutes properly.
While squatting, focus on placing most of your weight on your heels – this will help you target the posterior chain muscles better.
Always keep your abs tight, and NEVER arch your back (this can cause serious injury)

2. Deadlifts

The deadlift is another great vertical jump exercise that targets multiple muscles simultaneously.

It is very effective in targeting all the muscles of your posterior chain, which are the most important muscles in jumping.

Here is a great video showing you how to perform deadlifts correctly:

Tips on How To Deadlift
Focus on proper form and start at a low weight before moving on to heavier weights.
If you discover that you can’t lift a particular weight because your hands hurt, it is because of poor grip strength. (Read step 3 of my article on how to dunk to learn
how to improve your grip strength)

3. Depth Jumps

The depth jump is a great plyometric drill to increase your vertical jump.

Depth jumps are excellent at improving your speed and explosiveness.

Here is a great video showing you how to perform depth jumps correctly:

Tips on How To Do Depth Jumps
Start with a low box (approx 12 inches) and get accustomed to it before moving on to higher boxes.
If you have never done depth jumps before, begin by just stepping off the box and landing on the ground to absorb the force as shown in the video below (don’t jump off the ground).

As you become comfortable with the mechanics and form of the exercise, incorporate the jumping portion of the exercise.
Depth jumps are deceptively difficult on your body and put a huge strain on your body’s nervous system. This may cause serious injury so do not overdo them.

4. Jumping

It sounds stupidly simple, but one of the best ways to jump higher is to JUMP.

This will improve your jumping technique/form and hence increase your vertical jump.

The key is to jump for your sport.

If you are a basketball player, focus on jumping toward the hoop and also practice dunking on lower hoops to increase your vertical jump.

If you are a volleyball player, practice your spiking.

You get the idea…

It is widely know that many athletes fail to jump high because they have poor jumping form.

By working on your jumping form, you will jump higher.

5. Weighted abs exercises

Your abdominal muscles are crucial in jumping.

Along with your lower back, they form the CORE muscles that link your upper body to your lower body.

You can have the strongest upper body and the strongest legs, but if you have a weak core, you will remain grounded forever.

Sure, anyone can do 3 sets of 20/30 crunches.

Solely performing regular crunches therefore limits the amount of core strength you can have.

To perform weighted ab exercises, simply incorporate weights to your current ab workout.

For example, hold a weight plate on your chest as you perform crunches on a medicine ball.

Here is a great video showing you how to do a medicine ball situp correctly:

6. Bench Press

I believe that in order to skyrocket your vertical jump and achieve your athletic potential, you have to develop your upper body strength.

The bench press is a great exercise that targets all the major muscle groups of your upper body simultaneously.

It simultaneously targets your chest, shoulders, triceps, biceps, and forearms.

It also targets your upper back muscles to an extent.

Here is a great video showing you how to bench press correctly:

Tips on How To Bench Press
Focus on proper form and start at a low weight before moving on to heavier weights.
When you are lifting heavy, ALWAYS have a spotter assisting you so that you don’t let the damn bar fall on your head and crack your skull!

7. Pull Ups

This is another great upper body exercise that will increase your vertical jump.

Pull ups primarily target your shoulder, back, and arm muscles.

You can peform pull ups in two ways depending on how you grip the bar:

1. Overhand grip (palm facing away from you)

With the overhand grip, you will feel it more on your forearms and back .
2. Underhand grip (palm facing you)

With the underhand grip, you will feel it more in your biceps.
Here is a great video showing you how to perform pullups correctly:

If you are not yet strong enough to perform pull ups, here is a video that will show you how to progessively increase your strength to finally perform a proper pull up:

Tips on How To Perform Pull Ups
Focus on proper form and start with few reps.
If you can’t perform pull ups yet, watch the video above to learn how to increase your strength to that level.
There you have it! The top vertical jump exercises.

If you incorporate them into your workouts, you will see a tremendous improvement in your vertical jump.

Where to go from here…

Ok, great.

Now you know what the best exercises to increase your vertical leap are.

So where do you go from here?

Get into the local CrossFit Gym near you and be sure to let the coach know you would like to improve your vertical jump. He or she should tailor a program with your goals in mind.

Better get going, life is short!

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