Any time the topic of vertical jump is involved, one type of training almost always comes up. Plyometrics for basketball to jump higher is one of the things that trainers and athletes will all mention or use during their careers.
There’s one reason for that. Plyometrics are effective.
This type of training isn’t new and has been used by decades. But over time, it has been modified and new exercises have been added to improve performance.
When it comes to jumping there are a number of drills and exercises that are really effective to help improve an athlete’s vertical.
What is Plyometrics?
Plyometrics when it comes to basketball and being able to jump higher involves explosive jumping movements that make the muscles exert maximum amount of power in short bursts.
The main goal is to put together strength and speed of executing the movement in order to increase the power produced.
Its origins come from the Soviet Union from a man named Yuri Verkhoshansky based on “shock” training methods. These methods were one reason why Soviet athletes were so dominant during the 1970’s.
By the mid 1970’s the methods were adapted in the U.S. and that’s where the term Plyometrics was born.
When doing plyometrics, athletes go though a number of repetitions using high intensity and at fast speeds. The repeated movements make the muscles extend and contract which help them develop to get stronger and become more explosive.
Plyometrics are often used to improve both speed and vertical jump.
How Does Plyometrics Help Basketball?
As mentioned above the goal of plyometrics is to build power. Plyometric exercises do this by tricking the body to work harder as well as contracting and extending the muscles repeatedly in a quick motion.
While the most popular use of plyometrics for basketball is to increase vertical leap using different plyo jump exercises it isn’t the only way to use plyometric training for basketball.
Plyometrics can be used for both the upper body as well as the lower body. In basketball there is often more focus on lower body power due to the jumping, running, and lateral quickness needed in the game.
Proper use of plyometrics helps players become more explosive, be quicker, run faster, accelerate and decelerate faster and also jump higher.
These are all based on the agility, top speed and strength improvements from using plyo drills.
How Often Should a Basketball Player do Plyometrics?
One of the most important things with plyometrics is starting slow and building up. Proper technique is also needed when learning the exercises because of the dynamic and explosive nature of the exercises.
Doing too much can result in being more prone to getting injured because of the overuse of the joints, including the ankles and knees.
For basketball players it becomes even more important to control the amount of plyometric training done because basketball players, like volleyball players already do a lot of jumping during games and practices.
For this reason plyo training is usually cut down during the season. During the off season training can go at full speed, but even then, guidelines limit training to 2 times a week, 3 times at most with at least a 48 hour rest period between plyometric training sessions.
This gives the ligament, joints and muscles enough time to recover in order to get them to full strength and avoid injury.
Top 5 Lower Body Plyometrics for Vertical Jump in Basketball
1. Box Jump
Box jumps or front box jumps are among the top plyometric drills for increasing vertical leap. The reason is that they are very effective.
The front box jump makes you use your quads and glutes as well as your vision to connect what you need to do and make your body do it.
Doing box jumps:
- Stand in front of a high box or plyo box.
- Bend from the knees till you go down into squat position.
- Swing your arms to gain momentum and jump up to the top of the plyo box.
- Try to land softly.
- Step off the box and land back on the floor.
- Prepare yourself and jump again.
As you improve, you can increase the height of the box or wear a weighted vest to add resistance.
2. Standing Broad Jumps
In basketball, being able to jump far is just as important as being able to jump high. Standing broad jumps build the ability to cover distance when you jump not just go up high.
This allows you to glide by other players when you drive and add hang time when you jump.
The broad jumps work similar muscles to the box jump but in a different way. They also train you to jump without the benefit of having a running start or an extra step to make it more difficult. This forces you to get the most out of your muscles.
Doing standing broad jumps:
- Find an area that gives you enough forward room to jump to.
- From your standing position, bend form the knees down to a squat position.
- Then swing your arms and explode forward pushing off both feet.
- Jump as far forward and as you can.
- Land softly.
- Set yourself up for the next broad jump.
3. Depth Jumps
Also called shock jumps, depth jumps begin with an athlete standing on a high box. They then step off the box and and immediately on landing explode back up to another box.
The goal is to spend as little time or no time on the ground before jumping back up.
The immediate jump upon touching the ground makes the muscles stretch when they land allowing them to contract harder and faster when you jump back up. This trains the muscles to get stronger and become more explosive.
Performing depth jumps:
- Set up two plyo boxes with some space between them.
- Get up on one of the boxes.
- Step off the box.
- Immediately upon landing, explode back up towards the other box.
- Land softly on the other box.
4. Rim Vertical Jumps
This exercise serves two purposes, to help improve vertical jumping ability by aiming for something high and also fixing any technique problems.
If you don’t have a rim available or can’t reach the rim. Go for a target that you find challenging enough to reach.
To improve jumping technique you will need a coach or trainer who can watch you or videotape yourself and have them assess you jumping form. Never underestimate the value of good jumping form as it is one of the easiest ways to add 2 to 4 inches to your jump.
Performing rim vertical jumps:
- Find a basketball rim, or anything that’s challenging to reach.
- Stand under it and prepare to jump.
- Jump as high as you can and reach the rim or object.
- When you land, prepare and jump again.
5. Barbell Jump Squat
This is a variation of the jump squat. It adds the weight from a barbell that’s positioned on your shoulders.
By adding extra weight to the jump squat it increases the resistance and the force you need to push off the ground to jump up. The main goal is not to use a weight that’s too heavy you can’t jump properly. This defeats the doing the exercise. Usually athletes are given a weight of 30% to 50% of the maximum weight they can squat.
Performing barbell jump squats:
- Set the weight on the barbell.
- Position the barbell over your shoulders like you would when doing a back squat exercise.
- Squat down.
- When you reach the low point, jump up.
- Keep the weight balanced and land softly.
- After you land, squat back down and go for another jump.