Ask any basketball player what they want to improve and often you will hear “my vertical.” To improve your vertical jump, you must be able to apply more force into the ground in a shorter amount of time. Doing that increases your power output (Power = Force x Velocity). Many people think that your overall strength makes you jump higher, but you can only get serious "ups" after you build up your strength and you learn to use that force quickly. Additionally, an athlete has a better chance of tapping into his potential force production quickly when he can demonstrate efficiency of movement. The tips and workout below will send you on your way to high flying success on the court. Give it a try!
Boost Your Strength
Maximal strength isn't the only thing you need for better vertical, but it helps. If Athlete A can use a high percentage of his strength quickly but can only squat 135 lbs., he isn't going to out-jump Athlete B, who can access less strength in a given time, but can squat 315 lbs. Follow a sound program that develops your strength in basic lifts such as the squat and deadlift (we highly recommend 5/3/1 by Jim Wendler).
Store Your Force and Release It
The second part of the power output equation is velocity. You may be able to squats hundreds of pounds, but the movement may take anywhere from 0.4 to 0.7 seconds (the average time to develop peak force). Meanwhile, the vertical jump test takes about 0.2 seconds to complete. In order to develop the ability to apply force quickly, you have to efficiently absorb force via proper landing. A great way to improve your ability to call upon force quickly is to utilize various landing and jumping training.
Get Technically Sound
Jumping is an incredible example in the capabilities of human movement. The body must fire muscles in a coordinated effort to elevate you from the ground to the rim. When a great amount of force is called upon in a split second, efficiency is everything. Becoming technically sound can have instant transfer, adding inches to your vertical right away. Use the drill below to help groove the proper jump technique. NEXT: The Big Four Workouts to get all the skills above >>