8 Exercises To Increase Your Vertical Jump


A lot of hoopers have dreams of throwing down a nasty dunk in front of an arena packed full of screaming fans.  There's no doubt that there's noting quite like a monster slam to get the crowd into a game and potentially swing momentum. 

While there are a lot of awesome vertical jump training programs, including Vert Shock and The Complete Vertical Jumping System, you can pay for to help you can 6+ inches on your vert, there is also a lot of great information on the internet to help you that is completely free.  

With that in mind, we've compiled eight of the best exercises you can do to improve your vertical.  The best part about all of these exercises is that they can be done at home as none require weights.  

Include these exercises into your workout routine and over time you will see your vertical climb and climb until you are able to throw it down!

1. Tuck Jumps

Exercise coaches agree that the tuck jump is one of the best workouts for building strength and power. When combined with other training, it helps get your heart rate up and helps build muscle endurance.

Meanwhile, you’ll definitely be feeling it in your legs the next day. Tuck jumps help target the major muscle groups in your thigh, including the quads and hamstrings. They are also great for your abs as the motion of pulling your knees to your chest puts this workout on double duty.

Be sure to really drive off the ground and focus on getting a high, powerful jump rather than going through the motions if you want to see the best results.

How To Do Tuck Jumps

1. Start with feet apart and chest up

2. Drop your butt back and down

3. Drive up with your arms and push off the floor

4. Lift your knees towards your chest

5. Bend your knees when landing to lessen impact

Sets

3 x 10 Reps

Target Muscle Groups

Quads, Abs, Hamstrings

2. Split Squat Jumps

If you’ve been training for a while and have good body control, split squat jumps are a rewarding exercise to add to your regimen. They are a little difficult to get right at first but once you learn the technique, you’ll start reaping the benefits.

This exercise targets almost all of the major muscle groups involved in jumping which gives it a high payoff.

It isn’t great if you have knee problems though. However, it does help strengthen your hips and glute muscles. 

The split squat jump is ideal for adding explosiveness to your legs and helping you build muscle strength needed to go off one foot on powerful drives to the hoop.

How To Do Split Squat Jumps

1. Start with one foot forward and one behind you

2. Drop your back knee to the ground while keeping the front at 90 degrees

3. Push off the ground into a jump

4. Switch your legs in the air and land with the opposite foot forward

5. Keep your chest up throughout and don't extend the front knee past your toes

Sets

3 x 20 Reps (10 each leg)

Target Muscle Groups

Quads, Abs, Hamstrings, Glutes, Hips

3. Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats

Along with strength, basketball players need excellent balance. Whether you’re performing a Kyrie-like reverse layup or are euro-stepping down the lane, balance is crucial to maintaining control on the court.

This exercise helps with both strength and balance. Also known as the Bulgarian squat, it allows you to focus on one leg at a time.

Since one foot is on the ground and the other is raised during the squat you target both major muscles and small accessory muscles.

Rear foot elevated squats can be performed with or without added weights depending on your level of conditioning. When done properly, this is a great workout for developing both traits in one.

How To Do Rear Foot Elevated Squats

1. Stand upright with feet shoulder width apart

2. Place one foot back on a bench or box

3. Squat down, dropping the raised knee to the floor

4. Hold this position for a moment

5. Explode up smoothly and stand straight with back foot still on the bench

Sets

3 x 10 Reps each leg

Target Muscle Groups

Quads, Glutes, Hips

4. Plyo/Platform Jumps

Everyone has at least seen a box jump, whether it’s an NFL player showing off or someone doing it at your local Planet Fitness.

This exercise is a popular one and for good reason. It helps quickly develop your explosiveness while you actually jump rather than just doing other exercises.

It can be tough on your knees if you have improper form, so landing correctly is very important. You also want to keep your back straight to lessen the impact and strengthen your core.

When doing box jumps, be sure not to overdo it and use a box with a height that is challenging but not too high.

How To Do Plyo/Platform Jumps

1. Stand 12-24" away from a sturdy box

2. Drop your butt back and bend knees

3. Swing arms up and explode off the ground, jumping onto the box

4. Bend your knees on landing and keep them from bending inward, keep your back straight

5. Stand up straight then step off the box

Sets

3 x 10 Reps

Target Muscle Groups

Quads, Abs, Hamstrings, Glutes, Hips

5. Bent Knee Hip Flexion

Hip flexors are some of the most ignored muscles in the body until something goes wrong with them. While they may get a workout from some other exercises, this is one that focuses on them directly.

Keeping your hip flexors strong will help ensure you can continue working out with full intensity. Meanwhile, strong hip flexors will allow you to take a bump (or deal one out) on the court without fearing injury.

Bent knee hip flexion is also a great exercise for your range of motion in the hip and also increases stability.

If possible, having someone help you by adding resistance to your knee makes this exercise even more beneficial. 

How To Do Bent Knee Hip Flexion

1. Lie on your back with your legs flat

2. One at a time, draw your knee up towards your chest

3. Push your hands against your knee to add resistance

4. Draw knee as far back as possible

5. Lower leg back to the flat position

Sets

3 x 10 Reps each leg

Target Muscle Groups

Hip flexors, abs

6. Superman

It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s you on the floor doing supermans! This exercise has a cool name and looks like you’re flying. If only you had a green screen.

Regardless, it is a great choice for strengthening your core and lower back. Though most people only think of legs when they think of jumping, these central muscle groups are also important.

Even more so in basketball when you’re often jumping at strange angles to get a rebound or go around a defender.

By having strong core and back muscles, you’ll be able to jump higher from these awkward positions without injury.

How To Do the Superman

1. Lie face down with arms and legs extended

2. Start by raising one arm and the opposite leg into the air. Switch limbs and repeat

3. Next, raise both arms. Then raise both legs. Repeat

4. Finally, raise all four limbs simultaneously and hold for two seconds

5. Clench glutes and abs during exercise

Sets

Easy: 3 sets x 15 reps each side

Medium: 3 sets x 15 reps arms and legs

Hard: 3 sets x 10 reps, hold for 2 sec

Target Muscle Groups

Abs, Glutes, Lower back

7. Depth Jumps

Depth jumps are like the opposite day cousin of box jumps. Instead of jumping up onto the box, you’re now jumping off of it.

However, the true power of this exercise comes from the explosive jump you do after hitting the ground. The faster you turn this jump around, the more power you can create.

In essence, you are taking the energy from falling off the box and turning it into a jump. You’ll probably be surprised by how effective this is and how high you’ll be able to get.

By adding extra energy to your jump, this exercise works by training your muscles to explode with that force so when you leap normally it will feel effortless.

How To Do Depth Jumps

1. Stand straight up on a box

2. Fall forward off the box so both feet land on the ground at the same time

3. Bend your knees to lessen impact

4. Immediately explode into an upward jump

5. Land again with knees bent and then return to the box

Sets

3 x 10 Reps

Target Muscle Groups

Quads, Hamstrings, Glutes

8. Kneeling Jump

Here come those hips again. Bet you didn’t think they would be so crucial to your success with vertical jumping.

This workout is great for strengthening your hip muscles because it isolates them and forces you to jump without using your major leg muscles. Doing so helps add extra power to your jumps when you do use the larger groups.

You may want to do this on a softer surface as it can be tricky to get the technique right on the first try. Have your hands ready in case your feet don’t get forward enough and you land on your face. Hey, if it doesn’t work out, you’ll be in perfect position for a few pushups.

With some practice though, you’ll be able to complete kneeling jumps with no problem.

How To Do Kneeling Jump

1. Kneel in an upward position, keeping your chest straight

2. Load your hips backward until they almost touch your feet

3. Explode up with your hips, pulling your feet forward

4. Land in a squatting position with a wide base

5. Finish the squat by standing straight up

Sets

3 x 5 Reps

Target Muscle Groups

Glutes, Hips


Nick Daniels

About Nick Daniels

Nick Daniels has been involved in the game of basketball from a young age. A shooting specialist, he once finished 3rd in a state wide free throw shooting contest. Most recently, he coached a youth basketball team and continues to play weekly games of pickup hoops at his local YMCA. Nick started Hoops Fiend in 2013.