When it comes to increasing your vertical jump, adding strength is the first step to step it up. The exercises below aren’t there to make friends and play nice, they’re there to build you up the only way it can really be done. I’m not talking about toning and firming up, I’m saying get strong and build muscle. There’s no secret to what it takes to pack on the strength. Lift heavy things, work your muscles to an overload, eat clean, rest, repeat.
The Back Squat is revered by fitness professionals and enthusiasts alike as one of the best exercises for adding muscle. Just try it and see what happens when you load up a good old fashioned barbell with some free weights and do a set of back squats.
If you’re looking to pack on the muscle and amp up the explosive power, good luck one-upping the power clean or hang clean (pictured). This lift will strengthen muscles, reduce the risk of injury, and separate the workhorses from the ponies when the season rolls around.
This one is an Intermountain St. George Acceleration exclusive. Complete with a sliding sled to allow for full explosion beyond a simple leg press and a cam resistance system that delivers resistance to mimic that felt during your actual jumping motion.
In addition to getting strong you have to train the nervous system, your body’s athletic control center, to maximize the newly added strength. Plyometric exercises are really the best way to convert newfound strength to functional, vertical jump improving power.
You squat down to load the muscle, explode up off the ground off the balls of your feet, and get high enough to land on the box. Arm action is crucial here, it is considered a necessary skill component of jumping and Box Jumps give a great opportunity to practice it.
The starting position mirrors that of a Box Jump but once you’re airborne, tuck your knees to your chest and enjoy a split second of levitation. Land soft on the balls of your feet, knees and hips slightly bent and fire the knees right back up into the chest.
Resistance cords anchored to the floor allow for full range of motion and strong resistance without the stress on your back or joints. Take the cords off and the brain will use the increased voltage when performing the vertical jump, resulting in added inches to your vertical.
As a general guideline, three sets of ten is recommended for beginning lifters who can demonstrate proper form, increasing the weight by 5-15 lbs. with each set. Personal modifications are permissible but should be determined by your coach, trainer, or other strength & conditioning professional. Resistance training and plyometric training should be structured to alternate days, performing both in high volumes and intensity in the same day is not usually recommended.