As athletes, everyday gym goers and social sport enthusiasts we all want to have a high vertical jump. A crucial part of athleticism is the ability to jump high, especially in sports such as basketball, volleyball, soccer and a variety of football codes. Even if your sport doesn’t involve frequent jumps, a big vertical jump is a key indicator that you’re a powerful athlete. Plus, it’s a great way to impress coaches and scouts.
The vertical jump is a staple in combine testings all over the world as a lower body power test. Athletes displaying high levels of explosive power are believed to be one of the most important factors in determining athletic success. So, whether you're an up and coming athlete looking to show an impressive vertical jump score in a combine testing to bolster your draft chances or just wanting to show your co-workers that at 35 you can still get up and dunk or a local footballer wanting to jump over an opponent and take a mark this is the perfect blog for you.
The purpose of this blog is to bring you the knowledge and success that I have developed that has seen my athletes vertical jump scores improve drastically. With these 5 exercises that require virtually no equipment it can be easily added into your workouts.
Exercise 1. Squat
Now I know you probably thought that the first exercise was going to be a jump of some variation, however, it is strength is generally the first order of business. Without adequate strength all the fancy power and plyometric exercises won't allow you to get the most out of your vertical jump. There are plenty of different types of squats, my personal favourite for someone fresh to squatting is a traditional Barbell Back Squat. Begin by trying to squat 1-2 times per week for 4 sets of 6-8 reps for males and 8-10 reps for females.
Exercise 2. Ankle Jumps
The most missed aspect in a program taken off the internet or your local PT is often the most important, the foot and ankle. The only part of the body that contacts the ground. Ever seen someone jump and it looks ridiculously easy, so much so that it looks like they have springs in their shoes? That’s because they do, to a degree anyway. They have turned their foot and ankle into the spring that it was made to be.
Ankle jumps are small almost stiff legged repetitive jumps that teach you how to use your foot and ankle like a spring. By improving the strength and springiness of the foot you will be able to unlock jumping abilities that you didn’t realise were locked away in your shoes.
I like to prescribe 50-60 of these ankle jumps in workout twice a week – 3-4 sets of 15-20 reps.
Exercise 3. Box Jump
I’m sure we’ve all come across this exercise on Instagram at one point in time, seeing athletes jump up on to a box and stick the landing. Although it is an extremely effective exercise in improving vertical jump there is a few things to note. Don’t go too high with the box, if you start to tuck to land up on the box it is testing your mobility not your jump height. Either step off or make sure the jump off the box is done with a proper landing, poor landings increase injury risk. Fewer reps are required but should all be done trying to jump as high as possible and stick the landing, 3-4 sets of 4-6 reps is plenty.
Exercise 4. MB Vertical Throw
How is a throw working on your vertical jump you ask? It is all about full-body extension, utilising power from your arms in a jump will improve your power into the air. The weight of the MB means you are forced to work harder to push the ball into the sky as high as possible. It is a safe and easy way to add load to vertical jumping. Again, reps are relatively low with 3-4 sets of 4-6 reps.
Exercise 5. Depth Drop Box Jump
Quite an advanced drill although it looks simple, due to the depth drop aspect then having to explode back up into the air it is quite taxing. Depth drop jumps work on reactive strength (think springiness) from landing on the floor to then being able to jump again quickly. Therefore, quite low reps with 3 sets of 3-4 reps with 2+ minutes of rest between each set.
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