Vertical Jump Exercise Solutions
Interested in increasing your vertical jump? Not sure which exercises are the best for improving your vertical jump? Well then you’re certainly reading the right blog. Earlier this year I authored a blog post titled Supplements that increase your vertical jump. This post explored some traditional and novel supplements that can be implemented into anybody’s routine to improve vertical jump numbers. The supplement recommendations were then followed by a quick workout program to compliment their vertical jump stimulating effects. This post will dive deeper into the recommended exercises, workout programs, variations and new exercises to increase vertical jump.
Exercises to Improve Vertical Jump
The SAID (specific adaptations to imposed demand) principle states that if you want to get better at a certain activity, then do more of it! With that in mind, if you want to get better at jumping higher, then you need to do a lot of jumping! Here is a complete list of powerful and effective jumping exercises you can do at home:
- Jumping: Simply jump as high as you can for 8-10 reps. Whether it’s trying to touch the ceiling, basketball rim or a poster/banner, pick a tall object and repeatedly try and touch it. Make sure you jump as hard and as high as you can each time.
- Jumping Rope: Jump roping will get your calves and leg muscles used to moving fast. You’ll build fast twitch muscle fibers and endurance in your legs as well as your cardiovascular system.
- Single Leg Jumps: These are a bit harder and involve you only jumping with one leg. You are allowed to land with both legs, but make sure the take off only consists of using one leg.
- Frog Leaps: These are bodyweight squats in which you explode on the way up and travel as far forward as you can without landing awkwardly. These are a powerful bodyweight exercise for improving vertical (and horizontal) jumping distance.
- Double Leg Jumps: Double leg jumps are when you squat down and jump straight up as high as you can. They differ from regular jumping in that you start from a fixed position, whereas regular jumping you are allowed a running start and typically take off from your stronger or more dominant leg. Double leg jumps involve you taking off from both legs, equally utilizing strength from each leg.
Metabolic resistance training is probably the most powerful and effective way to boost your vertical jump training. Here is a comprehensive list of weight training exercises you can implement into your routine for quick results:
- Squat Jumps: Load a barbell with light weight and perform sets of normal squats except on the pressing part of the movement push as hard and as fast as you can, accelerating your entire body of the ground. When you land, land comfortably and slowly sink into your next rep. Be sure to explode on each rep to activate and build fast twitch muscle fibers.
- Overhead Squat Jumps: Same as above except with the weight locked above your head. As a safety precaution, only use extremely light weights so you don’t hurt your shoulders or back. I recommend using a broomstick or an unloaded barbell (max).
- Breathing Squats: Heavy, high rep squats. Like 185 for 30 reps or 225 for 20 reps. This builds extreme strength and power in your legs which will translate into your vertical jump.
- Ultra High-Rep Squats: Same as above except with lighter weight and higher rep ranges. Try 135 for 100 or 155 for 50 if you dare. This builds endurance and strength. Once you get good at this exercise, try doing it for time, squatting as fast and efficiently as possible while maintaining good form.
- Barbell Calf Raises: Heavy barbell calf raises will help build up your calves, an imperative part of a solid vertical jump.
- Single-Leg Calf Raises: Go for speed to help build fast twitch muscle fibers in your calves.
- Barbell Lunges: A powerful single-leg strengthening exercise with whole body strength implications. Barbell lunges are a great synergistic leg builder in addition to double-leg exercises.
- One-Legged Squats: Builds strength and increases mobility in the legs, hips and ankles. Once you master the one-legged squat you will be the king of the court and vertical jump.
- Bulgarian Split Squats: Bulgarian split squats are like supercharged lunges. They involve you elevating your non lunging leg to further stress your glutes, hammies and quads. The strength you will build with Bulgarian split squats will help you take your vertical jump to an entirely new level.
- Dumbbell Snatches: These will help you build power and strength throughout your entire body, especially your legs and back.
- Hang Cleans: Hang cleans are a great upper body power builder that will compliment your lower body fast twitch muscle fiber training.
- Hang Snatches: Same reasons as above.
- Overhead Squats: Overhead squats are a powerful whole body exercise that can be successfully implemented in any body strengthening routine.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a very effective type of cardio conditioning that helps to improve fast twitch muscle fiber make-up and therefore vertical jump. Here is a complete list of effective HIIT exercises that can help take your vertical leap numbers up and off the charts:
- 8 – 100m sprints at 95-100% of your top speed.
- 6 – 200m sprints at 90-95% of your top speed.
- 4 – 400m sprints at 80-85% of your top speed.
- Go to a local stadium and practice sprinting up the steps as fast as you can without risking tripping. Don’t run down the stadium, always be careful and walk down once you get to the top. Fast on the way up, slow on the way down.
- Push Press / Squat Tabata:
- This involves performing a dumbbell push press movement that flows into an elevated dumbbell squat under the tabata format. Tabata simply means 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest. This gives you a 30 second cycle, 20 on, 10 off. The 20 seconds on must be performed at a fast pace, preferably 90-95% all out. Each cycle flows right into the next cycle, so you get 20 on, 10 off, 20 on 10 off, and so on for as many cycles as you choose to do. Beginners and can start with 2-4 cycles and advanced trainees can bump it up to 8-12 cycles. These are very effective at building both upper and lower body strength and can directly translate into an improved vertical jump.
Supplements to Improve Vertical Jump
Here is an excerpt taken from the other blog post regarding the best supplements for increasing your vertical jump:
- Alpha GPC: This stuff was my most promising find. It assists in delivering choline to the brain and has been shown to increase max rep output by up to 14%. Post-workout Growth Hormone response was also twice as high with subjects supplementing with Alpha GPC compared to the placebo group. If that wasn’t enough, Alpha GPC was also shown to increase high-threshold motor unit recruitment (fast-twitch fibers).
- Caffeine*: A well-known stimulant that increases muscular contractions during exercise, boosts energy, and increases focus.
- D-Aspartic Acid: Stimulates NMDA receptors in the brain and boosts free testosterone levels in men.
- Alpha Lipoic Acid: Lowers blood sugar levels and is a protector of brain and nerve tissues.
- Creatine Monohydrate: Should be obvious by now, creatine makes everything better. More power, more ATP, more creatine please.
- Beta-Alanine: If you’ve ever taken a pre-workout supplement containing beta-alanine, you’re probably familiar with the beta-tingles effect. This supplement has been shown to slow the onset of lactic acid building up in muscle cells. In short, beta helps you edge out those extra reps just a little bit faster. On the court, it translates to a more powerful jump and more of them.
- Coenzyme Q10: With doses over 300mg a day, CoQ10 supplementation was shown to modify slow-twitch muscle fibers so that they act more like fast-twitch muscle fibers.
- DMAE: Reduces fatigue, improves memory and cognition, and stimulates neural activity in the brain.
- Phosphatidylserine (PS): Important for maintaining healthy cortisol levels as well as promoting healthy brain function.
- Vinpocetine: Improves cerebral blood flow and facilitates ATP production in brain cells.
- Acetyl L-Carnitine: Improves brain function by enhancing acetylcholine and dopamine neurotransmitter activity.
*RECOMMENDATION: Take a scoop (or two) of a popular pre-workout drink like Body Surge 30-40 mins before you plan to perform a vertical jump test. These drinks contain caffeine among many other CNS activators and potentiators.
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