6 Essential Exercises for Learning How to Jump Higher in Basketball

So you want to play basketball. Only problem: you can’t jump to save your life. Your dunks are pathetic. Your rebounds are non-existent. Your opponents always block your shots. Sound familiar? You’re in good company.

As any seasoned player will tell you, vertical jumping is an important part of basketball. Scratch that. Jumping is a vital part of basketball. If you can’t jump then you can’t dunk, you can’t block, you can’t rebound.
Alright, so you know by now that you need to learn how to increase your vertical jump. How do you do it?

You’ve come to the right place. There are many tips out there for improving your vertical jump, but we’ve distilled them down into 6
essential exercises.

How to Develop a Good Training Routine

First things first. The best vertical jump programs recognize that improving your ability is a matter of both technique and discipline. You not only need to learn the correct techniques, you also need to develop good practices.

That means that jumping exercises should become an integral part of your basketball training routine. The best way to increase your vertical jump is to develop a comprehensive routine that not only strengthens your leg muscles but also improves your control and agility.

When planning your exercise regimen, remember that consistency is more important than quantity. You don’t need to do these exercises every day. In fact, you shouldn’t. You need to allow your muscles to recover from previous workouts. Every other day is optimal.

The important thing is to create a realistic schedule and stick to it. As with anything, practice makes perfect.

The good news is that it’s easy to practice your jumps. You don’t need a team. You don’t need a court. You don’t need any equipment. You just need the will and a little time.

How to Measure Your Vertical Jump

Tracking your progress is an important part of improving. Before you start your training program, measure your vertical jump. As you make your way through the program, continue to measure your jump to see how far you’ve come.

Here’s how to measure your vertical jump:

  • Stand next to a tall wall.
  • Reach your arm as high above your head as possible.
  • Ask a friend or teammate to mark the wall where your hand reaches. This is your standing reach.
  • Next, jump as high as high as you can from a standing position.
  • As you jump, reach your hand up.
  • Ask your teammate to stand on a table or ladder and measure the position of your hand.
  • Now measure the distance between the first measurement (standing reach) and the second measurement (jumping reach). This is your vertical
    jump.

Vertical Jump Exercises

Be sure to warm up your muscles before starting your routine. Jog, climb stairs, or jump rope for 5-10 minutes and then give your muscles a good stretch. Never work out without warming up and stretching first.

Now to the good stuff. Here are 6 simple exercises that will radically improve your jumping ability.

1. Deep Knee Bends

  • With your feet positioned shoulder-width apart and with your back straight, bend your knees.
  • Slowly crouch down until it appears as if you’re sitting in a chair (your thighs should nearly be parallel to the floor). Keep your heels on the ground and don’t allow your knees to knock together.
  • Exhale as you gently rise back up to a straight-legged position.
  • Repeat the exercise 10 times. That’s 1 rep. Increase your reps by 5 each week.

Note: Be sure not to bend so far that you feel pain. If you do feel pain, stop immediately and see a health professional.

2. Lateral Jumps

Lateral jumps are a great way to increase the speed, control, and agility of your jumps. Here’s how to do them:

  • Lay a rope or stick on the ground.
  • Stand parallel to the rope.
  • Now jump sideways over the line, keeping your body facing forward.
  • Jump back over the line.
  • Keep jumping back and forth over the line. Jump 10 times and increase as the exercise becomes easier.

Note: You can also do lateral jumps with one leg at a time to strengthen each leg separately.

3. Step-Ups

Step-Ups help you strengthen your thighs. Follow these steps:

  • Grab a chair or bench and two dumbbells.
  • Stand up straight behind the chair/bench, holding a dumbbell in each hand, palms facing inward, toward the outside of your leg.
  • Place your left foot on the chair or bench.
  • Keeping the pressure on your heel, lift your right leg up onto the chair.
  • Step back down off the chair with your right leg.
  • Step the left leg back down onto the floor.
  • Do 5 reps and then repeat with the left leg.

4. Calf Raises

Follow these simple steps to strengthen your calf muscles:

  • Stand up straight with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Hold the back of a chair to maintain your balance.
  • Gently raise your heels until your standing on the balls of your feet.
  • Slowly lower yourself.
  • Repeat.

5. Tuck Jumps

Tuck jumps will make your vertical jumps more explosive. To do a tuck-jump,

  • Squat just as you did for the deep-knee bends.
  • Jump as high as possible.
  • As you jump, bring your knees up to your chest.

6. High-Reach Jumps

High-reach jumps are similar to tuck jumps. They’ll help you increase your vertical jump.

  • Squat just as you did for the deep-knee bends
  • Jump as high as possible
  • As you jump, reach your arms up as high as you can

As with anything, progress takes patience and commitment. Keep practicing these 6 simple exercises and you’ll notice progress in your vertical jumping in no time!