So You Want To Learn How To Jump Higher... Here's Exactly How You Can Start Jumping Higher FAST!
Regardless of whether you want to jump higher for basketball, volleyball or any other sport, this vertical jump exercise and workout blueprint will help you level up your jumping ability in a matter of weeks.
If you want to learn some pro hacks that can help add a few inches to your vertical jump in only a matter of minutes to hours be sure to check out our free vertical jump training course Rapid Vert Gainz.
In this guide you are about to learn various vertical jump training techniques that will help you reach your vertical jump potential. These are the same training methods applied by many professional athletes around the world.
Some of the innovative mobilization and activation techniques you are about to learn will help you start to jump higher FAST with minimal effort required on your behalf.
You will also learn specific vertical jump training exercises that will require you to commit to a much more consistent and sustained long term training effort.
Yes, these particular exercises are tough. But these are the exercises that can help you jump significantly higher and allow you to join the exclusive 40+ inch vertical jump club.
These are the best jumping exercises and training protocols you will ever see in any "how to jump guide", ANYWHERE.
You can think of this guide as your vertical jump bible.
NOTE: Due to the fact that the majority of our readers are basketball players, this jump higher guide was written with a focus on the end goal of learning how to jump to dunk a basketball.
Regardless of the sport you play, one thing is for sure, you can take the information provided in this guide and apply it to start jumping higher today!
Feature Photo Credit: C-Town Throw Down, by Erik Drost, licensed under CC BY 2.0 (modified from original)
We Share An EXTREME Obsession With Wanting To Jump Higher
Let's be honest, there is no more impressive feat in the world of sports than the act of throwing down a massive dunk on the competition.
However, to achieve this feat you will require an impressive vertical jumping ability.
Trust me, I understand how obsessive a person can become when it comes to wanting to be able to jump higher, especially to dunk.
Our team here at Vertical Jump World have all dealt with this extreme desire to want to dunk a basketball at one stage of our lives.
We even have a section on our site dedicated to vertical jump for basketball players.
Maybe your parents or girlfriend don't understand just how strong this desire to jump higher burns inside of you.
I on the other hand can totally relate.
If you have any burning questions regarding how to jump higher after reading this article, please leave a comment below and one of our team will get back to you as soon as possible.
I highly doubt you will though. We have taken the time to cover absolutely everything you will ever need to know about jumping higher.
We hope you enjoy this epic jump guide.
NOTE: If our tips do help you add inches to your jump then please leave a comment below telling us about your journey!
The Key Components You Must Develop & Master To Jump Higher
- Lower limb and core stability
- Jump specific movement efficiency
- Lower limb and posterior chain maximal strength
- Rate of jump specific force production (power)
- Optimized body composition (low body fat levels)
- Efficient and powerful ankle and foot function
- Optimized Stretch shortening cycle and elastic / reactive abilities of the lower limb muscles and tendons.
"We are here to break the mold and finally provide athletes with a no-nonsense step-by-step approach to learning how to jump higher"
Does Vertical Jump Training Really Help You Jump Higher?
Yes, vertical jump training really works!
By consistently overloading the body with resistance and challenging the most important muscles for vertical jump in a jump specific manner, the body adapts.
The end result is a more "springy" and explosive physiology that allows you to jump much higher.
How much higher you will be able to jump depends on a number of factors which I will discuss in greater shortly.
A ball park figure would be an improved jump height somewhere in the range of 6-24 inches in 12 weeks assuming that exercise prescription, nutrition, recovery and injury prevention is optimized.
One of the best ways to get an idea of what sort of results you can really get from following a well prescribed jump training protocol is to take a look at some of the jump success stories from the best vertical jump training programs on the market.
The makers of these programs compile and document lists of verified testimonials from their customers.
Many people find these testimonials serve as great motivation along their jump journey and are definitely worth checking out.
Purchasing a "done for you" jump program is by no means necessary. This guide will give you all the info you need to jump higher for free.
However, some people prefer to follow a jump training program as they don't require you to "learn" how to jump higher.
You simply fire up the program and follow the workouts day by day.
Sure if you can afford it go ahead, they flat out work and are quite affordable considering the value and bonus gifts they provide.
If you are short on cash, and have plenty of time that you are willing to dedicate to learning both the art and science of jumping higher then all the info you need can be found on our site here at Vertical Jump World. Most of it in this very article!
1. Breaking Down The Vertical Jump
A vertical jump is an activity that involves elevating one’s body into the air by using explosive lower body muscle activation.
When observed in the form of a squat jump it is a relatively simple movement.
However, the vertical jump movement becomes much more complex when performed in a sport specific way, such as when dunk training.
Regardless of the complexity of the movement we can still break the vertical jump down into 3 distinct phases.
The downward dip consists of hip, knee and ankle flexion.
This is also known as the eccentric phase of the vertical jump.
The split second pause between the downward and upward phase.
This is known as the amortization phase.
The explosive upward rising jump movement.
This is otherwise known as the concentric phase.
The Road To Vertical Jump Mastery
If you want to dominate the competition, particularly in basketball and volleyball, a high vertical jump is a must.
I am sure you have all dreamed of rising up over the competition and throwing down a dunk like the world's best dunker Jordan Kilganon or your favorite NBA vertical jump freaks
Only a dunker knows the feeling!
"The grace and power of an athlete dominating the competition with their explosive vertical jumping ability is a thing of pure sporting beauty"
The vertical jump is commonly used as a tool to measure and assess an athlete’s lower body power and explosive strength.
In fact, the simple vertical jump test is one of the most reliable functional fitness tests used by coaches and talent scouts to determine the physical attributes of an athlete.
The vertical jump is also heavily researched by sports scientists due to their interest in the strong correlation between vertical jump performance and general sports performance.
A Word Of Caution To Beginner Jumpers
Important: If you are new to jump training be careful not to "go too hard,too soon".
An overly aggressive approach to jump training is common issue among teenage athletes and will often be counterproductive in deriving max vertical jump gains.
An overzealous approach to jump training can also lead to over-training and injury.
Take your time to learn the jump training principles in the following guide to begin to truly understand what it really takes to jump higher.
Yes, it will take time before you can jump significantly higher, but bit by bit you will begin to join the pieces of the vertical jump puzzle together.
Remember, knowledge is power.
2. Can You Jump Higher Than The Average Person?
The Average Vertical Jump Heights By Gender
You are about to see the average vertical jump heights for males and females.
Don’t worry if you rate poorly. If you work hard on your training you will start jumping higher.
If you follow a proven vertical jump protocol you can significantly improve your jump height in only a matter of weeks.
3. How High Do You Need To Be Able To Jump?
Considering that the average standing reach for a 6 ft male is 8 ft, in order to touch the rim this person would need a vertical of 24 inches.
This is approximately 4 inches above the average person’s vertical jump height.
In order to dunk (standard two or one foot dunk) a rim clearance of at least 3 inches is required.
To throw down a spectacular windmill or 360 dunk a rim clearance of at least 8 inches is required.
So for this 6ft subject to consistently dunk a vertical jump height of 27 inches is required.
To throw down spectacular dunks a 32 inch vertical jump is required.
There are many ways to measure your vertical jump height. To learn more make sure you read our huge guide on vertical jump testing.
Recommended For You: How Tall Do You Have To Be To Dunk
Simple Vertical Jump Calculator
You will find many vertical jump calculators on the web...
Who needs a vertical jump calculator? It’s very simple math!
To work out how high you need to jump to be able to dunk you don’t need a complicated vertical jump calculator like some people make out.
Instead use this simple vertical jump calculation as follows and determine exactly how high you need to be able to jump.
All you need to know is your standing reach height. That is the height of your hand when standing flat footed and reaching straight up.
Vertical Jump Required To Achieve A "Standard" One Or Two Foot Dunk
(Hoop Height (10ft or 3.048m) - Current Standing Reach (In Inches or Metres ) + 3 inches (7.62cm) = Vertical Jump Height Required
Vertical Jump Required To Achieve A "Spectacular" One Or Two Foot Dunk
(Hoop Height (10ft or 3.048m) - Current Standing Reach (In Inches or Metres ) + 8 inches (20.32cm) = Vertical Jump Height Required
How To Jump Higher If You Are Short?
If you are "vertically challenged" you are just going to have to work a little harder on your jump training, probably also for a little longer.
I have seen numerous people under 5 ft 7 inches train to jump high enough to allow them to throw down some very impressive jams.
Check out these 5 shortest NBA players to dunk if you are "vertically challenged" and need some extra inspiration.
If you are short it won't be easy, but it can be done!
4. Identify Your Jump Weaknesses
- Do you lack explosiveness, "springiness" and plyometric ability?
- Are you weak in the lower body and posterior chain musculature?
- Are you carrying excess body fat that may be stopping you from increasing your vertical jump?
If you want to jump higher you must drop your ego and be honest about your physical limitations.
Identifying your jump specific weaknesses will allow you to develop them through targeted training.
This means that you can start jumping higher, faster!
PRO TIP! Remember an athlete who cannot squat his own body weight will not derive as much benefit from plyometric training as someone who already has very strong legs.
In contrast, an athlete who squats twice his body-weight will waste his time with more weight training for vertical jump and would greatly benefit from a plyometric based program.
The reason why The Jump Manual remains one of the most effective jump programs to date is because it takes into consideration all the facets of vertical jumping, regardless of one's current limitations and abilities.
A Higher Vertical Jump is Very Achievable
Although the feat of throwing down a dunk or massive volleyball spike may seem unachievable for “the average Joe”, the truth is that it isn’t that difficult to accomplish.
With hard work and dedication an approximate 6-24 inch increase over an 8-12 week vertical jump program is very realistic and achievable.
5. Developing the Right Mentality to Jump Higher
Where the mind goes the body will follow!
This is so true when it comes to jump training.
If you really want it and have faith in yourself, you will achieve the vertical jump of your dreams.
Regardless of whether you choose one of the many proven jump programs or design your own based on the principles you learn in this article, it is vital that you bring 100% focus and determination day in day out for the entire duration of the program.
When training for vertical jump enhancement it is important to remember that you are not aiming for cardiovascular fatigue, but improved performance.
Forget silly jump programs (like Air Alert) that require ridiculous amounts of jump repetitions and sub maximal jumps.They simply don’t work.
Slow velocity high repetition jumps will only make you good at low slow high rep jumps.
This is the opposite of what you want.
You want to train for jump specific EXPLOSIVENESS.
The exercise prescription principle of specificity, referred to as the SAID Principle (Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands), is a very important concept to understand if you really want to learn how to jump higher.
We must replicate the movement and intensities that we want to get good at.
Be prepared to BRING IT every rep of every set throughout the entire duration of the program.
Do whatever it takes to get you super pumped.
There are a number of things you can do to get pumped up for jump training such as listening to your favorite workout tunes or having a pre-workout drink.
Sure there will be times when you feel flat.
And it is during these times when you will learn how bad you REALLY want to jump higher.
Will you pussy out and say it’s too hard or man up and get through the session with 100% pure intensity.
How bad do YOU want it?
Keep your eye on the prize and passion intact and you will jump higher soon!
6. Use Visualization To Improve Your Jumping Height.. It Works!
Incorporating visualization techniques into your daily life can help equip your mind so you can be sure to see your jump program through to the end.
To use visualization effectively you must vividly envision yourself achieving your desired goal of jumping high.
For example if you want to dunk, perhaps every night before bed you could picture yourself approaching the rim and throwing down a monster dunk.
Now stay with me here. I know this may sound like some heeby jeeby b.s, but trust me, IT HELPS!
It is best to visualize from a point of view perspective as opposed to 3rd person.
Research has also shown that incorporating all senses can enhance the benefits of visualization.
- What do you see?
- What do you smell?
- What do you hear?
- Can you feel the ball in your palm?
Regular visualization sessions will help strengthen your resolve and make it much less likely for you to quit on your jump program.
With consistent practice you will develop steely determination and an internal dialogue hell bent on achieving vertical jump success.
But Aren’t Most Athletes That Can Jump High Just Genetic Freaks?
Yes it is very true that some people pick the correct parents and win the genetic lottery.
Some of the world's highest vertical jumpers are simply born with a higher proportion of fast twitch muscle fibers and lower natural levels of body fat.
This is particularly true in people with African ancestry. This is evident in the amazing natural jumping ability of many African american NBA athletes.
Check out the amazing jumping ability of these athletes:
Yes, these are very lucky in the fact that they can naturally jump very high, usually from a very young age.
However, for every naturally gifted athlete you will find a determined athlete who has dedicated countless hours to become the supreme athlete they are today.
Every athlete has the ability to Jump Much Higher
You may not ever be able to throw down a dunk from the free throw line, but for the “average joe” a nasty 2 hand slam is not unrealistic.
I have witnessed many “average joes” significantly increase their jump height and subsequently throw down some impressive dunks.
One thing that these particular “average joes” have in common though was a steely determination and drive to make it happen.
No matter what age, race or height you are, if you dedicate yourself to learn how to jump higher by consuming the information we share and then apply this info in the real world, you will increase your vertical jump.
But you must COMMIT!
7. Basic Vertical Jump Training Principles
A solid understanding of the basic principles of the jump training will be very beneficial on your journey to obtaining an impressive vertical leap and becoming an all-round more explosive athlete.
To be effective these vertical jump principles must be applied with a consistent and focused effort over time.
It doesn’t happen overnight, but build that “house” day by day brick by brick and you will achieve MAD HOPS.
Regardless of whether you are an absolute beginner with a 12-inch vertical or a seasoned pro with a 30+-inch vertical, you will need to first address the following jump specific movement fundamentals in order to further enhance your jumping capacity.
1) Build A Stable And Flexible Foundation First
If you want to learn how to jump properly you must approach vertical jump training in a holistic manner.
Before applying major forces to the musculoskeletal system through jump training a stable base must be developed.
Human movement fundamentals such as hip/ankle mobility, flexibility, squat mechanics, core strength, and postural control are often neglected parts of many popular programs such as BoingVert, The C.V.J.T.S or Bouncekit.
Note: The Jump Manual , Vert Code and Vert Shock do a great job of covering these principles.
These important fundamental components must be addressed in the early phases of a jump program in order to optimize vertical jump results and minimize risk of injury to the musculoskeletal system.
The majority of force production in a high jump is produced in musculature surrounding the hips.
However, the impact of core and upper body strength and stability should not be underestimated!
When it comes to the vertical jump you are only as strong as your weakest link.
NOTE: The Glutes, Hamstrings,Quads and Calves Play The Major Role In The Vertical Jump
Improve Your Flexibility & Jump Higher Instantly
A very important component that should not be overlooked when attempting to improve vertical jump is flexibility.
If you are not flexible enough, you will not be able to set up in optimal jumping position and range of motion when you jump.
If your hips are tight (particularly the hip flexor muscles) you will not be able to translate force through these muscles effectively and are potentially setting yourself up for injuries around the lower back.
Exercises which address stability and flexibility components should always be incorporated into the initial phases of a periodised vertical jump program. Any decent jump program should include these stretches to help you jump higher.
The Hip Flexor Stretch Is One Of Many Exercises That Can Help Add Valuable ROM To Your Jump Technique
Remember, before you build that house you must first lay the foundation.
Once you have established a solid foundation you can move onto the more fun, yet challenging vertical jump specific training exercises.
If a your jump training protocol doesn’t focus on developing mobility and flexibility you are potentially setting yourself up for injury and diminished results.
Yes, these stabilization and mobility exercises are a bit boring but trust us they are worth the time and effort in the early phases of a jump program.
You will be surprised at how quickly the correct application of these exercises can help you jump higher instantly.
In fact, the correct application of these simple mobilization exercises, particularly the hip flexor stretch provides the fastest way to jump higher with the least amount of effort.
2 ) Focus On Improving The Art & Skill Of Jumping Higher
You don't need fancy shoes to increase your vertical or to train in gimmicky Jumpsoles for greater vert gains.
If you really want to learn how to jump higher you must invest time into gaining an understanding of how to jump higher correctly.
Optimizing your vertical jump technique is a vital component that should not be underestimated.
At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how strong you are. If you can’t coordinate your muscles to work together to produce a smooth vertically directed force you will not "get up".
Have you ever noticed just how smooth and effortless the great jumper’s technique seems to be in their jump approach and take-off?
Zach Levine and Aaron Gordon Both Have Impressive Vertical Jumps, But Very Different Jump Techniques
One thing that you must know is that that an individual’s jump technique is very unique to them based on a variety of factors such as their biomechanical and neuromuscular properties.
"If you want to learn how to jump higher in basketball you must focus on improving your basketball specific jump technique"
Let’s take Zach Levine for example. His approach and technique is very different to Aaron Gordon yet they both have amazing verticals.
Zach tends to prefer to jump off one foot and Aaron is more of a two foot power jumper.
Both techniques achieve impressive results.
Each of them have put in the time and work to allow their unique jump technique to develop.
So why does Zach tend to jump off one foot?
For starters his slight frame is better suited to one foot takeoffs from a bio mechanical viewpoint than Aaron Gordon's muscular frame.
The style of training they do may have also dictated the way they jump.
Looking at Aaron's frame it is likely that he does some heavy lifting such as deadlifts and squats.
Athletes who undertake regular heavy squats tend to develop motor control and muscle activation patterns that compliment the two foot jump.
Remember, vertical jump success comes down to both "nature" and "nurture".
To develop an efficient jump movement pattern you must jump regularly.
However, these jump sessions must be focused and intense.
Don’t just go through the motions.
If you want to dunk practice dunking over and over again.
Don’t make it a cardio workout though.
It must be EXPLOSIVE!!!!
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU: Check out Jordan Kilganon's Vertical.
Vert Shock is just one example of a program that effectively stimulates the nervous system to effectively learn proper jump movement patterns.
This innovative program uses shock training and shock jumps to boost jumping ability beyond a persons perceived genetic potential.
Maximal effort jumping plays a significant role in the makeup of the programs that get people jumping higher fast.
If you follow a poorly designed program that instead develops poor movement patterns you will be at great risk of injury and will be unlikely to improve your jump height at all.
I have witnessed examples of poor jump training exercise prescription in programs such as Air Alert.
Vertical jump training is extremely taxing on both the musculo-skeletal and neuro-muscular systems so please take care with every single jump and rep you perform.
Quality jump programs do a fantastic job of balancing intense jump sessions with effective recovery sessions to ensure that you are consistently jumping a little higher each session.
8. Ready For Takeoff! Developing Vertical Jump Specific Fitness
In order to maximize the effectiveness of the vertical jump movement a few specific components of health/fitness must be addressed through task specific exercise prescription and programming.
These components include:
- movement efficiency
- body composition
- reactive ability
- core control
Ok, so let's break these components down individually...
1) Jump Movement Efficiency
One of the most important aspects to gain knowledge on when learning how to jump higher is the concept of movement efficiency.
This component is often overlooked in the novice vertical jump trainer.
To move with movement efficiency means to be able to activate the correct muscles with optimal force at precisely the right time.
We have all witnessed quality movement efficiency in action, particularly if you are a basketball fan.
Have you ever noticed how an NBA star participating in a slam dunk contest will perform the dunk almost effortlessly?
You see they have developed an efficient movement pattern that allows them to generate the greatest force possible with minimal effort.
These athletes are able to approach the hoop at speed and then convert that horizontal momentum in vertical jump height.
To undertake an explosive vertical jump in such an impressive manner these athletes must exhibit excellent total body coordination, mobility and stability.
These three components are extremely important in efficiency of movement and should not be overlooked when learning how to jump higher.
THE 3 COMPONENTS OF MOVEMENT EFFICIENCY:
- Coordination is defined as the ability to use different parts of the body simultaneously in a smooth and efficient manner
- Mobility can be defined as a combination of muscle elasticity and joint range of motion.
- Stability on the other hand is the ability to maintain optimal posture while controlling dynamic movements and keeping your body balanced throughout the vertical jump movement
To achieve a high vertical jump one must achieve optimal movement efficiency.
If you are a newcomer on the journey of learning how to jump higher I urge you to prioritize these movement efficiency principles in the early stages of your jump training.
Although they are the least exciting to train they are extremely valuable in helping you achieve an impressive vertical.
If you are after a high quality pre-packaged vertical jump program that covers components of jump movement efficiency please view our vertical jump program reviews page.
Remember that in order to develop an efficient vertical jump movement pattern you must perform sport specific jumps. Just don’t overdo it or you may succumb to injury.
2) Body Composition and Power to Weight Ratio
Another important aspect to grasp on your journey of learning how to jump higher is the concept of optimal body composition.
Remember that any excess body fat and muscle that an athlete holds will become detrimental to their vertical jump.
Body fat is dead weight and not only weighs you down but also places stress on the body which can result in over-training injuries.
Most athletes with an explosive vertical have body fat levels below 10%.
Excess muscle mass can also be counterproductive to vertical jump height.
Although more muscle usually correlates to more explosive power, there comes a point when an athlete carries too much muscle mass, which at this point becomes counterproductive to the vertical jump.
Lets take a look at Lebron James's physique. He obviously pays a lot attention to his nutrition for basketball success .
He is very muscular but definitely not bodybuilder status.
If you are carrying extra weight you need to get your caloric intake and expenditure in check.
One of the quickest ways to improving upon your jump performance is to rid yourself of additional body-mass that is not contributing to power development for jumping.
Basically to lose weight you have to be in a caloric deficit. It’s a simple formula.
For example if you consume 4000 calories a day and your body only uses 3000 to provide energy for daily activities and physiological processes you will end the day with a surplus of 1000 calories that will be stored, most of it as body fat.
If you want to lose weight without negatively affecting training output shoot for a calories deficit of around 500 calories per day.
You can obtain an energy deficit by expending more energy through physical activity or by dieting.
However beware, excess cardiovascular exercise will be counterproductive to your goals of increasing your vertical jump so we usually recommend dieting to our novice athletes.
I recommend losing body fat before embarking on an proven vertical jump program in order to maximize results and minimize risk of injury.
If you want to lose stubborn body fat super fast so you can get on with your vertical jump training we recommend following a science based program that offers proven results. Imagine losing 12 pounds of excess fat....
Just that alone would add significant inches to your vertical jump.
If you are looking for a great jump program that includes an excellent nutrition and weight loss guide I suggest checking out The Jump Manual.
I’ve Developed a Stable Base and Am Perfecting My Vertical Jump Form… What Next?
Once you have established a stable and strong base and are jumping with correct form you can then move onto adding resistance to your jump training related exercises to further develop strength, explosiveness, and bounce.
This is where the impressive “vertical jump gains” are really made.
Of course all of our valued readers vary greatly in their physical characteristics which will ultimately determine their current level of strength, explosiveness and jumping ability.
Therefore it is vital that any exercises that you participate in so that you can jump higher can be customized based on your specific limitations and abilities.
You know your body better than anyone.
Listen to your body, be honest in acknowledging your limitations and you will give yourself the best chance at vertical jump success.
3) Strength Training To Jump Higher
Another extremely important component that you need to understand when learning how to jump higher is the concept of strength.
DID YOU KNOW? NFL players have a higher average vertical jump than NBA players due to greater strength/power .
Strength is essentially the amount of force you can apply to a physical object.
For example when squatting almost every muscle in the body must work synergistically to produce a force greater than the resistance applied by the barbell and weights.
Strength of the musculature of the entire body can heavily influence jumping ability.
The jump movement consists of a combination of hip extension power ( utilizing glutes & hamstrings), knee extension power (utilizing quadriceps), and ankle extension power (calves).
Also don’t forget the small muscle groups like flexor hallucis longus which can be developed through the toe squat exercise.
The correlation between an individual's strength and vertical jump height has been well documented in numerous scientific journals.
Most professional athletes display excellent strength and can commonly squat over 2.5 x their own body-weight.
Develop Strength First And Then Turn That Into An Explosive High Jump
The greater the amount of force an athlete can apply to the ground to overcome their own body weight and gravitational forces the higher they will jump in the air.
The vertical jump is largely a function of strength in combination with power and plyometric ability.
It is imperative to build a strong strength foundation (particularly in the hips and core) in order to maximize your vertical jump height.
Any vertical jump program should focus on building this component of fitness early in the program and develop it further in a periodized fashion.
Common exercises that are extremely beneficial in gaining strength while learning how to jump higher include squats, lunges and deadlifts.
Squats and deadlifts promote quadriceps & glute strength.
They also replicate the jump movement through what's known as triple extension (hip,knee and ankle extension).
The 3 Best Strength Exercises For Vertical Jump
Remember these exercises must be prescribed in a graduated fashion and at correct load and volume in order to maximize vertical jump results.
5 sets of 5 reps with long 3 plus minute rest intervals is a good range to aim for when training for strength.
The more force developing capabilities you can develop in your muscles of the lower body, core and posterior chain the greater force you will be able to exert into the ground.
Just be mindful that when you are undertaking a vertical jump training, that you don’t develop strength at the detriment of speed and power development.
Do I Really Need To Lift Weights To Be Able To Jump Higher?
You may have noticed that popular weightlifting free jump programs such as Vert Shock still produce some amazing jump enhancement results (see video testimonials here) and be thinking “do I really need to lift weights in order to jump higher?”
The short answer is no, but let me elaborate.
It is undeniable that muscular strength plays a vital role in jumping.
However you don’t need to be squatting huge weights to dunk.
Look at guys like Kevin Durant. How much weight do you think he could get up on his shoulders to squat.
Probably nothing to brag about but I bet he would be strong enough.
By strong enough I mean that he has no obvious muscle weakness that prevents him from maximizing his power, reactiveness and overall jumping abilities.
That is not to say that if he didn’t undertake a weight training regime that he could add significant inches to his jump.
People with below average strength will get the most out of incorporating a jump program into their routine.
However these same novice athletes are also usually lacking plyometric ability, reactiveness and have poor stretch shortening cycle function which also limits their jump.
Basically, an athlete like this has two separate limitations: poor reactive/explosive ability and poor strength.
A program like Vert Shock simply focuses on the first equation of improving reactiveness which is enough to add at least 6 inches to the average person over an 8 week period.
Programs like Vert Shock are great for beginners who want to jump higher fast without weights.
Programs like Vert Shock incorporate great plyometric exercises which are particularly suited for basketball players.
However once an individuals reactive window is reached it will be hard to gain further inches.
At this stage if he began to incorporate weights he could increase this window by maximising his strength.
Optimally a program will combine both strength and explosive/reactiveness components to ensure that the participant continues to add inches to their vertical month after month year after year if desired.
Hybrid Training Is The Key To Jumping Higher
If you want to keep jumping consistently higher for years to come then choosing a hybrid system like The Jump Manual is the best way to go.
The all-encompassing approach of these programs is a major reason why it remains ahead of other programs on the vertical jump program market.
Many people have great success undertaking a program like Vert Shock in season and then moving onto a weight based routine like The Jump Manual in the off season to really gain some impressive vertical gains.
If you are familiar with force-velocity curve which essentially states that a the force required in an exercise (such as the squat) goes up, the velocity or speed of the movement will go down.
This is where there art and science of vertical jump based exercise prescription by experienced jump experts can be very helpful.
Rather than waste time guessing the correct load and velocity of strength training exercise in the gym these guys have done the research and created the protocol for you.
If you want to create your own strength program to improve your jump height then please remember that jump height is also effected greatly by velocity at take-off.
This means that if you spend to much time lifting heavy weights without concurrently developing other components of the jump you will be likely sabotaging your results.
Jacob Hiller's Jump Manual
Adam Folker's VertShock
4) Power Training to increase vertical For Vertical Jump
When embarking on a journey of learning how to jump higher it is of great benefit to understand how power development can translate into a higher vertical jump.
The vertical jump is the ultimate display of athletic power.
In scientific terms power is defined as a combination of force and speed (force x velocity).
To develop power one must develop their rate of force development (ROFD).
ROFD is how quickly you can access maximal strength.
All explosive jumpers have mastered the art of power development by developing optimal rate of force development.
If you take a look at some of the highest jumpers you will notice just how quickly the true vert freaks apply maximum force.
To develop power one must train explosively with gym exercises. That means moving a weight at a fast speed.
All good vertical jump programs are designed to improve power by training both the force and speed components of specific vertical jump movements.
Olympic Lifts are fantastic at improving rate of force development and overall power of "the jumping muscles".
Olympic lifts help you jump much higher by developing explosiveness through the hips.
Olympic lifts can also help improve strength and power through a large range of motion in the muscles surrounding the hips, knee and shoulder.
The 3 Best Power Exercises For A Higher Vertical Jump
The Clean and Jerk
Dumbbell Squat Jumps
5) Developing Reactiveness & "Springiness"
The final component of fitness that you must gain an understanding of on your journey to learn how to jump higher is the concept of reactivity or "springiness".
Simply put, reactivity refers to how well you can convert the downward dipping phase (eccentric) of the jump into the upward rising phase (concentric) without loss of energy.
That means spending less time in the pause phase (amortization phase) which results in an overall faster time to complete the jump movement.
To develop reactiveness your jump training workout should incorporate exercises that stimulate what’s known as the stretch shortening cycle.
The stretch shortening cycle is a natural physiological stretch reflex combined with elastic energy in the muscles and tendons that can be developed through correct exercise prescription and programming.
An effectively designed jump program will promote positive adaptations of the SSC that lead to a more efficient use of energy stored during the downward phase while maximizing output in the upward phase of the jump.
You would have witnessed the stretch shortening cycle in action when analyzing your favorite NBA players vertical jump.
For a second envision your favorite NBA player preparing to jump for a rebound by crouching into a semi squat with flexed knees and hips (stretching and loading the quads plus a host of other muscles). They then, almost instantly, begin extending the knees and hips which shortens and concentrically contracts the quad muscles propelling them into the air.
The overall impact that the SSC has on vertical jump height is directly related to both the speed and size of the stretch placed on the muscles.
The popular, yet controversial Jumpsoles are a vertical jump training device that enhances the efficiency of the stretch shortening cycle. However, be warned. They can have some serious downfalls!
By training our bodies to repetitively jump intensely and under load we can enhance the properties of the SSC. This is sometimes referred to as shock training.
Simply put, jump training is all about optimizing the SSC will allow you to rapidly spring into the air.
The Science Behind The Stretch Shortening Cycle
Reactiveness is developed through the application of plyometric training.
Most jump programs start off with exercises such as jumping jack, split shuffles, slalom jumps, mountain climbers, jump rope etc.
Once a base is established more forceful plyometrics such as depth jumps and drop jumps are usually incorporated.
The 3 Best Plyometric Exercises For A Higher Vertical Jump
How To Jump Higher With Jump Rope/ Skipping Exercises?
Many readers ask us how to jump higher with a jump rope and if this is an effective method of plyometric training.
Yes, although skipping is a great exercise which strengthens the jumping muscles it is not a true plyometric exercise that is focused on maximal effort and contraction.
Skipping is a great conditioning exercise for jumpers and also helps strengthen the calves and ankle muscles.
However, at the end of the day doing lots of skipping will make you better at skipping. This means you will be very good at doing lots of small jumps.
Remember the principle of specificity.
You body will adapt to the training you do.
You my friend are after explosiveness!
To achieve this lift heavy and train with max effort plyometrics.
6) Core Training For Vertical Jump
To get the most out of your vertical, you MUST have a strong core.
Your core and stability are what converts the speed of your approach from horizontal to vertical.
It's also the link between your upper body and your legs, and if you have a weak link/core, it could be a major limiting factor in jumping higher.
Research has established that the core muscles play a important role in effectively linking both the upper and lower body during the jump movement.
This optimization in the linking of the upper and lower body can help promote whats known as bio-mechanical and neuromuscular efficiency.
Core muscles are those found include the abdominals plus the muscles around the hips, buttocks and lower back.
Any weakness in one of these regions can significantly decrease your potential to jump high.
Primary lifts such as the deadlift and squat do a fantastic job of strengthening core in a jump specific way.
There are also some other exercises that help with stability and body awareness.
The 3 Best Core Exercises For Vertical Jump
Ab Wheel Rollout
Single Leg Glute Bridge
Can I Still Do Cardio While Training To Jump Higher?
Numerous studies have shown that cardiovascular endurance training performed concurrently with a jump training can hinder jump gains.
Remember the body adapts, and gets better at what the body is asked to do.
If you run a lot at a low pace you will program the muscles and nerves to fire in a slow and steady manner.
If you feel as though you are over-fat for optimal jump performance, then you obviously need to burn more calories than you are consuming.
If you must do cardio while embarking on your journey to jump higher try to stick to high intensity interval training.
The Importance Of Landing/Planting Correctly
The importance of a correct foot plant is probably the most underemphasized component of many jump programs yet one of the most important.
We always check for this component when carry out our thorough Jump Program Reviews.
You see when you plant your foot/feet prior to jumping there is an immense amount of energy generated that has the potential to be absorbed by the muscles and tendons.
This energy generation is created in the downward stretching (eccentric phase) of the jump.
The secret is harnessing the energy so that it can be utilized in the rising phase (concentric phase) and in the elastic properties of the tendons to propel us skyward.
DID YOU KNOW? There are actually shoes that can make you jump higher that are also developed around the principle of storing and releasing energy.
You must learn how to drive your feet into the ground and harness this energy to drive you high into the air.
In beginner athletes the amount of force generated in the downward phase is much greater than the output of force generated due to poor biomechanical and neuromuscular efficiency which we discussed earlier.
Trained athletes on the other hand are more efficient at storing this landing energy and re-using it to jump.
This is essentially what any decent jump program trains your body to do.
Leading programs such as The Jump Manual, Vert Shock and The Flight System improve jump performance by decreasing what is known in the field of exercise science as time-to-stabilization (TTS).
TTS basically refers to the time it takes to stabilize the body after a load such as pre-jump is loaded through it.
A shorter TTS time has been correlated with an improvement in jump height in a number of scientific experiments.
To paint a picture in your mind of TTS in play in a real life scenario imagine this...
Picture a gym with 2 x 40 cm high plyometric boxes set-up.
On top of one box is NBA star Lebron James, on the other is your Grandma.
They are both asked to step off the box and as soon as they hit the ground jump up as high as possible.
As you can imagine Lebron would spring up almost instantly, as opposed to your grandma who would probably crumble and shake upon impact with little energy left to complete the jump.
Lebron is able to harness the energy due to his more stable and optimized nervous system.
The Importance of Speed of Movement In Jumping
When you compare a great jumper with an average jumper one thing that is immediately apparent is the speed at which they move throughout the jump phases.
If you want to jump higher then you must improve the speed (or velocity) at which you move your jump specific musculoskeletal system.
How Do You Jump Higher Off Both One or Two Feet Effectively?
Before you can truly maximize your jumping ability it is essential that you learn how to jump off either one or both feet.
This type of training is called unilateral-specific jump.
Any jump program worth its grain of salt will develop both jump types.
Obviously the one foot jump is a very different movement than the two foot jump and requires specific training variables to be implemented.
Athletes tend to have a preferred jump style.
Don't worry If you are currently a one legged jumper, with correct jump training you can also become proficient at the two legged takeoff.
Important Considerations Before Starting To Jump Higher
Always Warm Up Before Jumping
Research has shown that a traditional static stretching warm up before jumping can actually decrease a person’s vertical jump. Dynamic warm ups that specifically focus on the jumping muscles on the other hand are very beneficial in optimizing jump height.
Movements undertaken in dynamic stretching sessions should replicate jump like movements. Dynamic stretches help improve jump height by prepping both the neurological and muscular system.
The Dynamic Warm Up
Cool Down After Jumping
After you have completed your jump higher drills take the time to cool down after your jump training.
Stretch and elongate the muscles.
Stretching post workout can help aid the recovery process.
Choosing the correct Footwear for Vertical Jump Sessions
Upon landing from a vertical jump a huge amount of force is absorbed by the body.
Therefor it is very important to wear a pair of shoes that help minimize dangerous forces on the joints and direct these forces into upward motion.
The amount of cushion is important as you want your muscles and tendons to absorb the forces and not the knee and ankle joint.
However in order to jump higher a certain amount of force is definitely welcomed.
Most basketball shoes are designed to optimize jump performance and shock absorption ratio. Always ensure that you choose a shoe that is light with good support.
It is important that the soles are not too thick as you don’t want to lose all ability to sense the feet on the ground. Ensure that the foot does not overly pronate or supernate (roll in or out) during takeoff or landing).
Ensure that the laces are tight so that no vertical energy is lost through horizontal movement due to lose shoes.
Should I use Vertical Jump Supplements To Jump Even Higher?
The majority of vertical jump enhancing supplements on the market are completely bogus.
However there are two supplements that have been proven by science to be safe and improve performance of explosive activities such as the vertical jump.
These two supplements are creatine and caffeine.
Without boring you with scientific jargon creatine helps your body's energy system create explosive energy and build muscle mass and strength.
Caffeine is a proven stimulant that can help fire you up for training sessions and may also assist with fat loss.
If you want to learn how to jump higher it is worth considering taking a supplement to gain an extra edge but is no means necessary.
Always be sure to purchase supplements from a respected retailer to ensure you are getting a safe and quality product.
Following a quality jump program and eating a nutritious diet will do a lot more to help you jump higher than any supplement ever will.
Rest and Recovery To Jump Higher
1. Have rest days (at least 2 a week)
2. Sleep 8 hours a day
3. Foam roll
4. Stretch (Dynamic stretches before workout, Static stretches after)
5. Stay active on rest days (light walks and dynamic stretching)
Nutrition For A Higher Vertical Jump
Nutrition plays a vital role when attempting to jump higher.
Eating healthy wholesome foods will help optimize body composition, fuel you through workouts and aid in recovery.
The best vertical jump programs all include detailed instructions on what to eat while undertaking their regime.
I won't get into great detail of the specifics here today but basically a jump optimized nutrition plan comes down to a few basic principles:
Eat enough protein to repair your muscles and maximize strength gains
The Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) recommends that athletes consume around 1.5-1.7grams/kg/day of protein.
Some people may find it difficult to get in enough protein through foods and may prefer to use a protein supplement.
Eat enough Carbohydrates to Fuel Your Body
In order for your muscles to produce energy during high intensity exercise the muscles must be full of glycogen.
Glycogen is stored from consumed carbohydrates.
The AIS recommends that athletes consume around 5-7 g of carbohydrates per kg of body mass.
Some popular carbohydrates include bread, rice, pasta, and sweet potatoes.
Some people may want to cut carbs while on a jump program in order to lose fat fast.
I definitely recommend against this practice while undertaking jump specific training.
A low carb diet simply won't allow you to maximise the intensity output in your jump sessions.
Eat Enough Fats To Optimize Hormone Response
When training to jump higher be sure to eat plenty of healthy fats such as avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts etc.
Fats play a vital role in optimizing hormones such as testosterone and growth hormone which encourage muscle growth and neuromuscular recovery and therefore potential jump height.
Losing excess body fat through dietary changes is one of the easiest and fastest way to improve your strength to weight ratio!
Gender Specific Vertical Jump Considerations
Studies have revealed that both males and females can expect to see similar results from participating in an effective vertical jump program.
However, it is important to note that females tend to have lower force outputs and muscle size than men which may result in a lower relative potential.
If you take a male and female of the same body composition, muscle size and training history research suggests that both of these individuals would have very similar potential to increase their muscle mass.
However, it is important to note that females have an increased risk at obtaining jump related injuries of the knee.
This is due to a number of anatomical differences around the pelvis and femur between males and females.
If you are a female athlete embarking on a jump program be sure to take extra care when landing from jumps.
So Which Trainer Should You Follow and What Vertical Jump Program Should You Choose?
If you just want results fast without pursuing hours of research and are willing to invest a few dollars into your training, then perhaps you would prefer to follow a professionally designed and easy to follow pre-packaged vertical jump program.
Notice I said easy to follow, Not Easy to Perform.
Although some of these class leading vertical jump programs are extremely well designed and presented, they still require hard work.
But how do you know which program is best for you?
To help you guide your decision we have comprehensively reviewed the majority of the world’s most popular vertical jump programs on our site.
If you are willing to work hard to increase your vertical jump, but need guidance on exactly what to do step by step in a linear fashion then you will probably find these jump programs very helpful.
Beginners tend to enjoy following these instantly downloadable vertical jump programs due to their all-encompassing presentation and attractive bonus gifts.
Please beware of “Scam” jump training websites.
Have you noticed that almost all vertical jump training websites are setup to promote a single jump program.
The opinions on these sites simply cannot be trusted.
Often you will notice that these sites feature fake product reviews that simply only rehash the information that they have copied from the product's sales page.
Hopefully you find our honest and comprehensive vertical jump program reviews and product comparisons helpful and a “breath of fresh air” when compared to these other sites.
Congratulations, You Have Just Graduated How to Jump Higher 101!
Thank you for taking the time to read our ultimate guide to jumping higher.
Hopefully you have gained a greater insight into what it is going to take to improve your vertical jump.
Develop the aforementioned components of fitness and you will be jumping way higher in no time.
It is not overly complicated but it does require 100% commitment over at least 8 weeks.
With persistence you will obtain the vertical jump results you desire.
Also, remember that not all online vertical jump programs are over-hyped scams.
We are all very lucky that we live in a time where we have access to exceptional high quality jump programs that are developed by world class vertical jump trainers with impressive professional backgrounds.
Remember that no matter how good the vertical jump trainer is at providing the exercise prescription and programming please don’t underestimate the fact that you will have to work hard and adhere to a sound nutritional and recovery program if you want to jump higher.
Even genetically gifted athletes won’t jump higher without the proper training program.
To achieve an impressive vertical leap you must undertake jump specific exercise training.
To maximize the outcomes of a training program and ensure that you adhere to the entire program it is vital that you invest in someone or something that will provide evidence based guidance and support.
Please spend some time perusing our site and soaking in the free information we have on offer.
The journey of learning how to jump higher may feel overwhelming at first, but hang in there and you will begin to understand exactly what it takes to get an impressive vertical jump soon enough.
If you are not comfortable with exercise techniques I suggest finding a local personal trainer or exercise physiologist versed on the principles of sound vertical jump training exercise programming.
Enjoy your journey of learning how to jump higher and longer than ever before.
If you have any questions about "how to jump higher" that we didn't cover please comment below and we will be happy to help.
Hopefully, this guide has taught you how to jump higher and given you valuable insight into what it takes to obtain an impressive vertical jump.
Best of luck on your journey to a higher vertical jump.
Please share the info-graphic below with your friends, family and teammates.
How To Jump Higher Guide: Frequently Asked Questions
UPDATE: Since the time that we published this "How To Jump Higher" Guide we have received many questions from our readers regarding the topic of improving jumping.
Therefore, to save time for the both of us we have decided to collate the most common questions we receive from our readers in the following F.A.Q list.
Oh, and If you are viewing on a mobile once you click a tab the answer will be displayed below all tabs!
What workouts will make you jump higher?
- Jump Squat.
- Power Clean.
Remember not to neglect the plyometric training that will help you get more "springy". Jump technique training that is specific to your particular sport is also very important to include in your workouts if you want to jump higher.
How Can I Jump Higher FAST?
The best way to improve your vertical jump fast is to undertake a range of proven activation and mobilization exercises. These exercises are designed to fire up the neurons and muscles in your core and legs so that you can reach your vertical jump potential.
WHAT ARE THE BEST EXERCISES THAT MAKE YOU JUMP HIGHER?
If we could recommend any 3 exercises that make you jump higher these would be the barbell squat, the power clean and depth jumps.
Of course there are a number of other exercises that make you jump higher and target different aspects of the vertical enhancement process.
Remember it's not just the exercises used but the prescription of the correct load, intensity, rest of the exercise sessions that count.
This is why we suggest leaving the programming upto a professional jump trainer and consider purchasing one of the many proven vertical jump programs.
HAVE YOU GOT ANY TIPS TO JUMP HIGHER IN HIGH JUMP?
Here are a few handy high jump tips to jump higher in frosby flop.
Firstly if you want to learn how to jump higher in the frosby flop you must learn how to perfect your "J" run. Take your time to perfect your run-up so that you slowly and steadily transition your horizontal forces into vertical forces.
The second-to-last step should be another quick step towards the bar. This is called the "penultimate step." Ensure that you stay tall during this step while driving your knee through with power. Also be sure to use your upper body if you really want to jump higher with the frosby flop.
Secondly, to maximise jump height of the frosby flop make sure you point your non-takeoff foot toward the back-left corner of the pit (right footed takeoff. At the same time drive your hands forward and up.
I TRIED WEIGHT TRAINING FOR JUMPING HIGHER, BUT IT DIDN'T WORK! WHY NOT?
If you have tried weight training to help you jump higher but found yourself putting on too much muscle mass you must reassess your approach to diet.
Putting on muscle is a problem most people would like to have. Unfortunately too much muscle can offset any gains you are making in explosiveness and power.
To prevent putting on muscle you must ensure you are not eating over your "maintenance" calories. If you don't eat more than you burn you simply will not put on muscle.
HOW TO JUMP HIGHER WITHOUT WEIGHTS?
To jump higher with out weights you will have to harness the power of plyometrics. Plyometric can make you more explosive without having to build more strength. This is otherwise known as shock training and has proven to get excellent results for people who prefer to do jump training at home.
MANY PROGRAMS CLAIM THAT THEY CAN HELP YOU JUMP WAY HIGHER FAST. IS THAT TRUE?
Yes, it is definitely possible for a jump program to help you jump higher in basketball in 2 weeks or less. Most people who undertake jump programs begin to see results after the first week if they follow the program word for word. We have reviewed and compared the best jump programs on the market. See our roundup of the best jump programs currently available here.
HOW TO JUMP HIGHER IN NETBALL?
All you ladies playing netball can start jumping higher by spending time training netball specific jump movements. For example practice the same movement you use to block shots. When you do this use MAX EFFORT, take a rest, and repeat. Spend time increasing your leg strength and after a couple of weeks begin to incorporate plyometric exercises. if you do this you will be able to jump higher this netball season.