As Seen On

How to Increase Vertical Jump

What Do Most Explosive Athletes Have in Common?

Whether you play basketball, football or any other power sport, the vertical jump is the ultimate indication of overall body power, more specifically lower body power. Most power sports require short and explosive movements and this is exactly what the vertical jump is. Keep in mind that you cannot jump slowly, you have to be explosive! You see, the athletes that jump the highest usually run the fastest, are the most explosive and are usually the most athletic.

BIG Vertical Jumps!

What else do athletes with big vertical jumps have in common? I would bet money that they have a high level of relative body strength, a low body fat level and a high rate of force development.

Let’s Get Serious

How many fat and out of shape athletes do you know with a 40 inch vertical jump? Not many. Chances are if you do know any fat and out of shape athletes that have a big vertical jump, they probably have a very high rate of force development.

When it comes to improving your vertical jump, most beginners, especially in high school, will improve their vertical jump by simply increasing their maximal strength and relative body strength. These increases in strength come through mastering basic bodyweight exercises like push up variations, pull ups, hand walking and rope climbing to name a few.

Big barbell exercises like squats, deadlifts and heavy pressing will help improve maximal strength. Strengthening the posterior chain is also critical to improving your vertical jump. Exercises like deadlift variations, glute ham raises, box squats, kettlebell swings and upright sled drags will build a strong and powerful posterior chain.

Don’t underestimate the role that strength plays in improving the vertical jump. Strength is the foundation upon which speed, power, agility and all other athletic abilities are built. If you want to see a serious improvement in your vertical jump start moving some serious weight!

While beginners should focus on getting stronger, advanced athletes need to dig a bit deeper.

First off, the athlete needs to determine where they are on the absolute strength to absolute speed continuum. Here is a great video Eric Cressey did describing this continuum.

In a nutshell, if you are more explosive than you are strong, you need to focus on maximal strength, however if you are stronger than you are explosive, you need to focus on reactive training. In order to optimize your performance and to maximize your vertical jump you should fall in the middle of the absolute strength to absolute speed continuum.

While maximal strength is an important component of increasing your vertical jump, athletes who already have a solid foundation of maximal strength should focus on improving rate of force development. This is where reactive training comes in-various jumps, sprinting, and medicine ball throws. For the purpose of this article, let’s focus on the jumping aspect as that will have the most carry over to the vertical jump. Check out my top 10 jumping exercises below to help improve your vertical jump.

Vertical Jump

  • Start in an athletic position and the hands locked out overhead
  • Explosively whip your arms down and jump as high as you can
  • Land in an athletic position
  • Reset and repeat

Here is a great video by Joe DeFranco

Box Jump (onto Tires)

  • Start in an athletic position and the hands locked out overhead
  • Explosively whip your arms down and jump as high as you can
  • Tuck your knees in to ensure you clear the box
  • Land in an athletic position
  • Step down and repeat

Weighted Box Jump

  • Start in an athletic position and the hands locked out overhead
  • Explosively whip your arms down and jump as high as you can
  • Tuck your knees in to ensure you clear the box
  • Land in an athletic position
  • Step down and repeat

Box Squat into Box Jump

  • Start in an athletic position and perform a box squat
  • Explosively jump out of the hole and onto the bigger box
  • Tuck your knees in to ensure you clear the box
  • Land in an athletic position
  • Step down and repeat

Static Box Squat into Box Jump

  • Start by sitting on a 12 inch box
  • Explosively jump out of the hole and onto the bigger box
  • Tuck your knees in to ensure you clear the box
  • Land in an athletic position
  • Step down and repeat

Squat Jump into Box Jump

  • Hold 10lb dumbbells at your side
  • Perform a squat jump
  • As you are landing release the dumbbells and jump onto the box
  • Land in an athletic position
  • Step down and repeat

Broad Jump

  • Start in an athletic position and the hands locked out overhead
  • Explosively whip your arms down and jump as far as you can
  • Land in an athletic position and without any rest immediately go into the next broad jump

Squat Jump into Broad Jump

  • Hold 10lb dumbbells at your side
  • Perform a squat jump
  • As you are landing release the dumbbells and jump as far as you can
  • Land in an athletic position and immediately go into your next broad jump

Heavy Sled Drags

  • Load a sled up with maximal weight
  • Lean forward and drive with your legs
  • Apply as much force to the ground as possible
  • Drag the sled for 10 yards
  • Rest to you are fully recovered and go again

Depth Jumps

  • Start by standing tall on a 12 inch box
  • Step off the 12 inch box and immediately perform a box jump
  • Land in an athletic position
  • Step down and repeat

Putting it All Together

There you have it, a list of my top 10 favorite jumping exercises to help improve your vertical jump.

This article wouldn’t be complete without me telling you how to implement jumps into your training. Start performing jumps on your lower body days directly after your warm up and right before your main exercise. This is important because it will prime your central nervous system for the workout and because your body is not yet fatigued.

Start with the most basic progression of a jump and progress each week or two to a harder variation. It may even take as long as 3 weeks before your athletes really start getting good at certain jumps.

Here is a sample progression I use with my athletes:

  • Week 1-Box Jump with a running start
  • Week 2-Box jump from a static position
  • Week 3-Box Squat into Box Jump
  • Week 4-Static Box Squat into Box Jump
  • Week 5-repeat week 2 with a higher box

You have a couple different options here. You can either progress each week to a harder exercise like the example above or you can pick one exercise and perform it week after week but alter the volume and intensity (see chart below). If you have the equipment for this option then go for it, if not stick with the example I provided above. I have had success with both options in the past.

For bounding exercises, perform no more than 3 jumps per set. Make sure you are getting full recovery and then repeat for 3-5 sets. If you are just starting to incorporate jumping into your program start with minimal volume and slowly increase the volume each week. For example, you can do 3 X 3 of broad jumps week 1, 4 X 3 week 2 and 5 X 3 week 3.

It is important to closely measure your volume and intensity. In order to do this I adhere to Prilepin’s Table. For example, say your 1 rep max box jump is 40 inches and all you have is a 36 inch box, you should perform around 5-7 singles for that workout. If your goal is to improve rate of force development, I do not recommend you jump below 70 percent of your 1 rep max.

I hope you enjoyed my top 10 jumping exercises to increase your vertical. Start by implementing a handful of these techniques into your training, or your athletes’ training, they will be come more explosive and start leaping higher and higher.

Of course, if you have any questions about this article, please leave a comment below and I’d be glad to address them and possibly do a follow-up sometime down the road. Make sure you head over to my website, MeglioFitness.com and sign up for my newsletter to receive 3 FREE gifts including a 4 free week program, my performance nutrition manual and an awesome interview with EliteFTS Athlete, Chad Smith.

Thanks.

Joe Meglio

Joe Meglio is a strength and conditioning coach at Zach Even-Esh’s underground strength gym. Joe is a former college baseball player and has competed in powerlifting and written for many national magazines and online websites including EliteFTS.com, Oneresult.com and STACK.com and Today’s Man to name a few. Joe is giving away a FREE 4 week training program and a FREE performance nutrition manual. Claim your FREE Gifts. For more information on Joe Meglio and his unique training methods, check out MeglioFitness.com

Articles You Might Also Like:

Tags: , , , ,

About

2 Responses to “How to Increase Vertical Jump”

  1. Joe Meglio Says:

    Hope you guys enjoyed the post. Hit me up with your questions. If you guys enjoyed this article I will do a follow up one.

    Thanks for checking in!

    Joe Meglio

  2. John Says:

    Nice post Joe.

    -Coach Gaglione

Leave a Reply