Many people focus on genetics when it comes to a person’s ability to make improvements to their vertical jump. However, if you are willing to work at the process, including fitness training, stretching, and lifting weights, you can learn to jump higher, perhaps even dunking a basketball. If you play on an amateur team, getting the best out of your opponents, in attack and defense, will make the workout worth your time!
Along with the vertical jump, this type of training can also lead to quicker ground speed, particularly important if you are playing basketball, volleyball, soccer etc. In this article we are going to focus on weight training, with 3 types of weight workouts helping your explosive leap. Also, credit to Jacob Hiller for some of the information I have gathered from his Jump Manual course. Check out the course here.
Should I Follow the Standard Training Program?
If you have spent time at the gym, you will be used to this style of workout. It is popular among athletes who want to add muscle to their body and get stronger. Typically, the workout will include heavier weights and low repetitions, which can add bulk to your body. The exercises you would follow are squats, lunges, toe raises, and leg presses, ensuring you lift a weight heavy enough to max you out.
This workout is great if you want to get stronger and build up your physique, but you will suffer when it comes to speed. You can still potentially develop the strength to improve your jump, but you will cause problems if you want to zip around the court. This method should be avoided if you are looking to play basketball, volleyball, or any sport that requires quickness and flexibility.
What About a Dynamic Workout?
Training with dynamism allows you to become stronger, but also maintain your speed and agility. For these type of exercises, you would need weights that are lighter, though they are still challenging. The repetitions are also increased, helping to build lean muscle. Rather than static weight training, dynamic workouts use weights in combination with power cleans and jump squats, ensuring you don’t lose your ability to move quickly and explosively. Due to the combination of dynamic exercises and weights, it is not advised to perform these exercises on your own. It is important to have an experienced professional watch you, at least initially, to make sure you are maintaining good form through every stage of the exercise.
Are You Integrating Plyometrics?
Leaving the best to last is plyometric training. Plyometrics is used by all kinds of athletes from basketball players to NFL players, or anyone who wants to develop explosive speed, power, and agility. Plyometrics can help you jump higher, but also works on your complete fitness for excellent results. The technique essentially involves loading muscles with a stretching or lengthening action, before moving into a shortening action. The benefit is that the contraction occurs quicker and with more force when it has already been stretched. It is the combination of the eccentric motion followed by the concentric motion that gives it power. A few powerful exercises include burpees, speed skaters, mountain climbers, and depth jumps. Plyo doesn’t have to be your daily regimen, but a few training sessions each week should lead to a higher vertical jump and quicker speed across short distances. Adam Folker is another guy who teaches these types of exercises. Check out his Vert Shock system here.
All three of these techniques have their benefits, but for increasing your jumping ability, plyometrics should be at the core of your workout routines. If you stick to a well balanced training routine you should see gradual improvements,whether you want to dunk a basketball or get better at spiking a volleyball. Of course it will take a lot of dedication to make a real impact, but fitness revolves around determination, so go out there and get started.
If you want a list of great explosive workout technqiues, Bodybuilding.com have a good list to get you started. Check it out here.
An interesting look at aspiring young basketball players in China, looking to make it into the pro ranks in the future. Nike Basketball have created an interesting documentary series that is definitely worth a watch.
Interestingly, a player mentions that the ability to jump is not something that can be trained, but instead a gift. On the contrary, increasing your vertical jump is certainly something that can be improved through training. Correct use of weight training and plyometrics can have a big impact on jump ability, leading to an increase in the inches you can jump.
The comment section mentions that the translation may be wrong, though, with the player suggesting that his personal jump ability was a gift and not something he had to train hard for.
Take a look at the video and see what these young Chinese athletes put themselves through to make it to the top.