Best Exercises to Jump Higher (for Basketball and Volleyball)

exercises to jump higherIf you play basketball, volleyball or football being able to jump high gives you an advantage in the sport and when skills testing time comes. This article lists out the best exercises to jump higher.

You can use the exercises in your workouts to improve leg strength and work your fast twitch muscle fibers in order to reach your goal, whether it is to dunk a basketball or get a vertical leap that’s over 40 inches.

The exercises below will focus on the main parts that are used during the jumping movement. These are the quads, hamstrings and glutes. They also work the posterior chain which means that your core, lower back and calves are also involved.


6 Best Exercises to Increase Vertical Jump

1. Back Squat or Box Squat

The squat is among the top exercises used for improving lower body strength because it directly works the pushing muscles. The same pushing muscles are what propels the jumper up from the ground. So the stronger they are the higher you go up.

Depending on how tall you are, how long your legs are, and a few other factors the back squat or the box squat may be the exercise of choice.

The back squat involves taking a full bend down till your butt almost reaches your heels before pushing yourself back up.

For taller individuals or those with very long legs, keeping proper form all the way down often becomes difficult. For this reason, most tall players including basketball players are told to do box squats. You’ll see NBA trainers use this exercise too.

One thing to remember when doing the squat is to learn proper squatting technique and form before increasing the weight since it can be hard on the back when done incorrectly.


2. Deadlift

To complement the squat, another complex exercise that helps with jumping is the deadlift. The deadlift is a pulling exercise as opposed to the pushing motion of the squat.

Deadlifts focus on working the posterior chain which include the hamstrings, glutes and the lower back muscles. It also works the back muscles and arms since you pull the barbell upwards also.

Using deadlifts helps build posterior chain power that’s necessary to get any lift during your jump. The hip movement during the deadlift also helps train the hip for the jumping motion.

Like the squat, learning proper lifting technique is very important with the deadlift as not doing so can result in injury as you get to heavier loads.


3. Trap Bar Deadlift

Many coaches love using the trap bar deadlift in place of the squat or deadlift. Others use it together with the 2 exercises on different days.

The value of the trap bar deadlift is that it is much easier to learn and do properly compared to the deadlift and the squat. This makes teaching it easier as well as being able to avoid potential injury due to form issues.

The trap bar deadlift exercises trains both the front (quads) and back (hamstrings) legs. As a bonus, it also works the posterior chain. This allows the athlete to hit both sides with one exercise instead of doing squats then deadlifts.

For taller individuals, this leg exercise is much easier to do compared to squats. It also allows taller athletes or those with long legs to get a full range of motions that they sometimes aren’t able to with the back squat.

When using this exercise in your workout, standing on a 4 inch box increases the range of motion you need to lift, making the exercise more challenging.


4. Bulgarian Split Squat

Bulgarian split squats are a single leg version of the squat. You can do with holding a dumbbell on each hand or placing a barbell on your shoulders for weight.

The split squat exercise works each leg individually making sure that you don’t end up with muscle imbalances between your dominant and weak sides.

This exercise also helps build power for one foot take offs.

The split squat involves placing one leg on a bench that’s positioned behind you. You then go down until your back knee touches the ground. At that point your use the front leg to push yourself back up.


5. Power Cleans

For explosiveness, power cleans are among the best exercises for jumping power. They are one of the reasons Olympic weightlifters have very high vertical leaps.

This is a very complex exercise that combines speed and maximal force, which means proper guidance and technique is very important.

Power cleans involve a lot of hip movement that helps with jumping. They also build speed, power and explosiveness off the ground.


6. Reverse Hyperextensions

One of the best movements for building posterior chain strength is the reverse hyperextension. Doing the exercise involves hip extension that makes you work the hamstrings, glutes and also the spinal erectors which all play a big role in jumping.

The movement is done best with a reverse hyperextension machine. If your gym does not have one, you can use a heavy bench and lean over that.

The goal of the exercise is to lift your legs up to parallel without using your upper body. This works the posterior chain in a single movement.


Building Your Workout

With the exercises above you can build a workout that will help your jump higher. To get the best results, you should incorporate them with proper stretching exercises and plyometrics which have been scientifically proven to improve vertical jump.

Building the proper jump training workout requires knowing which exercises to combine on what days so you don’t over train or under train.

For complete workouts to increase vertical jump,

Click here to see our top jump training programs comparison chart.