Most sports require a blend of skill and physical fitness, with elements of fitness often being the key to success in that sport. Take boxing for example. You could be very good technically, but all it takes is for someone with immense knockout power to put you on your back. For basketball, having a high vertical leap will springboard you over opponents and add to your game in a plethora of ways. You can be a threat for alley oops, you’ll be a better shot blocker and in turn it will be hard for opposing players to block your shot. In volleyball, it may help even more than basketball, as being able to jump higher than anyone on the other team gives yours a great advantage. So if you play one of these sports or just want to improve your jump in general, then keep reading this article with the tips on improving your vertical jump.
What you need
For building your vertical leap, you should alternate training for power and for strength. Strength training sets ourselves a base of how much weight we can push, while building power determines how fast we can push that weight. So if I weigh 90 kilos, I need to be able to perform certain leg exercises around or surpassing that weight to have the strength to lift myself off the ground high enough, with the power exercises helping the speed of that jump.
Specific conditioning elements which you should work to improve include your coordination, flexibility, balance and keeping your body fat to a minimum.
For strength, start training squats and deadlifts, both in original form and in variations such as overhead squat and Romanian deadlift. These two exercises work loads of muscles used for jumping and are well-rounded exercises which strengthens our legs, glutes and quadriceps. Jumping off two feet requires more focus on the quadriceps, while calves have to be more considered with one legged jumps.
For power, Olympic lifts are the way to go. There are a bunch of Olympic lifts that many regular gymgoers don’t perform. Partly because the exercises don’t specifically make one part of your body look better, and because it takes a lot of training to be able to perform them at a heavy weight. Power cleans, snatch and clean and jerk are the best exercises for improving your fast twitch muscles and building your vertical leap power.
In order to build flexibility, you can perform exercises such as lunges or step ups on high benches. Yoga is also a great way to improve flexibility and is an activity which many of the top basketball and volleyball players take part in to lengthen their careers as increased flexibility can prevent muscle injuries.