In basketball, being able to jump high is a skill which every basketball player wants to have. Being able to jump high gives you a high advantage to play this sport better than others and perform better than your opponents in many ways!
The advantages of jumping high in basketball are, grabbing offensive and defensive rebounds over your opponents, blocking shots, dunking the basketball, scoring over your opponents, and intercepting high passes from the opponent. By having a higher jumping ability, these aspects of the game will be of ease to you!
There is also a science behind being able to jump higher! The terms “Power”, “Force” and “Velocity” are terms that are heard in Physics and are also being applied in basketball to jump higher.
Just like applying science into jumping higher, there are also many ways to improve the vertical jumping ability. For example professional teams and players use weights and other equipment like ankle weights and using weighted barbells while others prefer to use body weight and resistance exercises while there are also some players even prefer to just work and improve on jumping techniques only to perfect their jumping abilities.
Therefore, finding the perfect and most suitable training method for you and applying the “Science” behind jumping together with your preferred training method, will get you jumping over roofs!
The “Science” behind your vertical jump series
It is very interesting how these scientific terms are being applied to jumping higher! The main term and the most basic mindset that each of us has to understand is the fact that, “(Power = Force x Velocity)”.
The main understanding about this term, (Power = Force x Velocity), is that in order to jump to your highest ability, you must be able to generate and apply as much force as you can off the ground in a very short period of time.
Power is the force or the maximum amount of strength that someone has and applies before lifting off for their jump while velocity is the maximum amount of speed that someone has and generates before taking off for their jump.
This fact just means that by increasing your strength and velocity which is in ratio to your body weight, your vertical jumping ability will improve.
There are many ways to improve and gain strength such as doing Olympic lifting squats, power lifting squats and even dead lifts for athletes that are older.
For younger kids and sedentary people, they can do normal squats, lunges and even calf raises. Sprinting and doing body weight exercises like wall squats and single leg squats. These exercises allow anyone to improve their strength and anyone can do them at any age unlike exercises that include weights.
Velocity is something that can be improved by just fine-tuning certain movements, by speeding them up and having quick movements as quick velocity allows you to display your strength! Velocity can be improved by doing leap jumps, broad jumps and even shock jumps.
How to build up the basic strength and velocity in your vertical jump?
Anyone can improve their vertical jump; however, everyone has to have the basic techniques on how to jump to prevent injuries,build up the basic strength and velocity to actually make further progress in the future.
For strength, exercises to build it up or improve it will be, body weight exercises such as squats, pistol squats, wall squats, single leg squats, lunges, reverse lunges calf raises and even doing sprints!
These exercises and workouts train and develop the muscle strength in the hamstrings, thighs and calves! Focusing on the main areas being used to jump higher!
These exercises mentioned are all body weight exercises. This allows anyone to be able to do them at any age as there are no weights or equipment required. However, if these exercises and workouts get easy, feel free to add weights to these workouts, and challenge yourself!
These workouts can be split into doing any 4 of the exercises with 3 reps of 12 each! By consistently doing them every 2 days and giving yourself 2 days of rest and recovery, it allows your strength to be developed quickly and consistently!
These basic strength developing exercises and workouts will enable you to obtain the most basic strength you need to perform and do the “Vertical improvement” drills!
Velocity can be developed and fine-tuned by doing certain drills that train you to speed up your movements to ensure these short and quick movements build up the most speed and strength in a short period of time in a sense of developing a “burst” of motion!
For example, leap jumps, broad jumps and shock jumps are exercises that ensure you take off the ground quickly but using a lot of strength. These exercises allow you to master taking off from the ground very quickly!
These workouts can be done every 2 days as well of 3 sets of 12! By doing these on the same day as your basic strength developing workouts, you get to fine tune and ensure your muscle memory is maintained!
Correct jumping techniques to increase your vertical jump
No matter how hard you train and develop the strength in your legs and velocity techniques, without the correct jumping techniques, it will be very difficult to see results in your vertical jumping ability.
Firstly, the correct way to take off from the ground would be to quickly load your strength and velocity and get off the ground as fast as you can. This way your speed triggers your strength from your legs and core to give you a higher jumping ability and balance when you land.
Ensuring that you take off the ground quickly and have a quick loading time is key in being able to generate and make use of all the strength in your legs to help you jump higher. As mentioned above, having a quick velocity change is very important.
Secondly, the correct way to be jumping is by being in an athletic stance and having your knees bent as this generates a lot of strength and triggers your fast twitch muscles to give you that quick explosive power. Fast twitch muscles are used in sudden powerful movements with sudden bursts of strength. Bending your knees and jumping allows you to build up a lot of momentum and trigger the needed muscles to produce the strength we need to lift off.
Bending your knees during the landing phase also saves us from having injuries to our knees as there is less pressure exerted on them due to the body momentum of the lower extremities of your body!
Thirdly, having a strong and fast build up process before taking off leads to you jumping higher. As mentioned above, velocity/speed is needed to jump higher as it triggers our strength and power to give us the boost, we need to reach higher off the jump. The correct way is to run up to your jump at full speed without stopping as this builds momentum, generates the maximum amount of power and strength to allow us to jump to our highest ability!
By running at full speed and not slowing down, the momentum built up is very great and it naturally carries you off the ground way quicker and faster!
Common mistakes made in jumping techniques
The first mistake made in trying to take off from the ground is if you were to take your time and slowly load the strength and velocity and have “excess” loading time, that leads to you not maximizing the full potential of strength and velocity in your legs. It hinders you from jumping higher as you are not using speed and strength to help you gain momentum.
The second mistake many people make is that they feel that by jumping with your legs straight, it allows you to get off the ground faster and jump higher. However, that is not true! By not bending your knees fully and jumping off with your knees straight, it does not allow you to have or build up any sort of momentum to lift off from the ground. This mistake can also cause many serious injuries to your lower extremities such as your hip and knees while landing.
Third, many people do not fully understand the concept of power to body weight ratio thus leading to many mistakes being done in their take off build up process. The mistake everyone makes is that they either jog slowly, walk up or slowly build up their power and momentum to jump, this hinders them from jumping higher and they are not going to get any power and strength to jump higher as there is no speed or quickness being used to generate our velocity.
Vertical Drill Series
Here are 2 separate vertical drill series that you can do to improve your vertical jump! With consistency, will and determination, soon you will be reaching for the skies!
1) Speed drop one-foot jumps
This drill is very beneficial in ensuring that you are activating and using proper “force-impact” mechanics to get your fast twitch muscles engaged and activated.
This drill can be done by firstly standing on the tip of your toes with your hands straight up in the air and immediately within a quick action, to land in a lunge position on one leg and immediately after jumping straight up to your highest and landing on two feet with bent knees.
This drill can be done with 10 reps on each leg of 3 sets each! By having consistent practice, your fast twitch muscles will be activated quickly, and your thigh, hamstring and calf muscles will also be stronger as those are the main parts of your leg muscles being activated and engaged throughout this drill!
2) Drach jumps
This drill activates and strengthens your hip flexors, hamstrings, and thigh muscles as these are the main parts of your lower body being used in doing this drill.
This drill is done by first getting in a lunge position while one leg is up with a bent knee and the other leg is on the ground. Both legs are to form a 90 degree angle. Your hands are also to be kept straight up as well.
In this position, you are to use all your strength to push your body up and land on both feet with knees bent. By having your hands up, when you force yourself to jump up from that position, bring your hands down quickly with force and strength to give you that extra momentum needed to jump up from the lunge knee position!
This drill ensures that your hamstrings, hip flexors, and thigh muscles are strengthened and able to be activated quickly in a real situation! This drill should be done consistently of 10 reps for each leg of 3 sets each!
3) Penultimate jumps
This drill is related very closely to an “in game” situation where a player takes 2 big steps and then immediately jumps up straight to their highest point and lands on 2 feet with knees bent.
This drill can be done by simply putting cones or any equipment that can separate two sections of wide space so that you can land on that space easily. First with hands straight up in the air, bring your hands down with force and strength to give you the momentum and then, take two big steps and jump up straight ensuring this movement is quick and effective.
This drill trains coordination as it uses the entire body movement to drive your legs up with strength and power to jump as high as possible. Just like the other two drills with consistent practice being done and 10 reps for each leg with 3 sets each, here are your 3 basic vertical jumping drills!
1) Rapid deceleration lunges
This drill is closely related to strengthening your hamstrings, quads, glutes, and thigh muscles by doing lunges at a faster and quicker rate! By doing this drill, athleticism and agility is also improved to give you the ability to jump higher as well!
This drill is performed by standing in an athletic stance with knees bent and ready to perform a quick movement. Once you are in an athletic stance, perform a single right leg lunge to the right side and quickly come back to your athletic stance and then perform the same lunge to your left side but instead with a single left leg lunge.
This drill should be done with very controlled movements to engage the correct muscles such as your quads, inner thigh muscles, hamstrings, hips and glutes. This drill also builds up strength and endurance within those muscles. If this drill becomes of ease to you, feel free to challenge yourself by increasing your speed but remember to have controlled movements!
With consistent practice of 20 reps for each leg for 3 sets each, your lower body strength and endurance will improve tremendously!
2) Rapid deceleration lunges with ball handling
This drill is performed the same way as the previous drill mentioned above. However, to add some challenge and difficulty, ball handling is added into the mix!
This drill is done similarly as the previous one by getting in an athletic stance and performing a single leg lunge with the respective leg to both the right and left side. With ball handling added, after performing the lunge to the right side, take one dribble with the basketball and perform a crossover back to your athletic stance. The same act applies to the left side as well, by performing a lunge and taking one dribble and performing a cross over back to the athletic stance.
This drill can be sped up once it becomes easy as this not only improves your verticals but also your ball handling and coordination!
This drill should be done with more practice with 12 reps of 3 sets each for each leg as well!
3) One-legged side hops
This drill trains your calf strength, quads, and hamstrings as it requires you to use your single leg strength to jump over to the other leg while still landing on one leg!
This drill is performed by standing on your right leg and jumping up and over as high as possible to land on your left leg only! After landing on your left leg, immediately jump over as high as you can to the right side and land on your right leg again. Remember to land with your knee bent as this takes off excess pressure and prevents injuries from happening. This drill should be done continuously with efforts made to not fall over or lose balance!
By doing this drill balance, coordination and leg strength is improved as it requires these 3 aspects to be done correctly. This drill should be done with 20 reps for each leg of 3 sets each!
4) Rear isolated leg press
This drill is done with the mindset of doing a normal lunge. However, when focusing on your right leg, your left leg should be on an elevated surface such as a chair, a bench or even a low table. By having your other leg placed on an elevated surface, all the concentration is placed on your right leg allowing it to be strengthened as you perform a lunge movement. This drill should be done for both legs!
Key points to remember for this drill are firstly, your knee should not go past your toes as this may cause serious injuries. Secondly your knee should be bent fully as by not bending it, excess pressure is being put on your knees!
This drill can be done of 12 reps each for each leg of 3 sets!
This drill is called a burnout as it lives up to its name! This drill strengthens the calf and thigh muscles and improves the endurance.
This drill is done by jumping and landing on your toes very quickly non-stop for 100 reps! By doing this, our calf and thigh muscles are really focused on and develop the strength needed to make us jump higher!
By doing these drills consistently with hard work, dedication and commitment, soon you will see a huge improvement in your vertical jumping ability and you can take your game to another level!