AAU basketball and club volleyball are running full swing right now and those athletes are looking for ways to increase their vertical jump.  It should be fairly obvious the benefits of having a higher vertical in both sports, but let me list a few reasons why it helps:

  • You can jump higher than your opponents to get rebounds.
  • You get a better position to spike the volleyball.
  • In both sports, you have a better chance to block shots.

The vertical jump isn’t something that you can work on and in two weeks you will be jumping higher.  Like anything, consistent training over time will increase your vertical.  Increases can vary from 1 inch to 8 or 9 inches.

Understand that those big gains aren’t usually by athletes that already have high verticals.  It is usually by athletes that have a bigger window of improvement (i.e. younger, not a big vertical to begin with, does have some fast twitch fibers).

Factors that are related to a potential increase in vertical are: the age and maturity of the athlete, does the athlete have primarily fast twitch or slow twitch muscles,

  • The age and maturity of the athlete.
  • Does the athlete have primarily fast twitch or slow twitch muscles.
  • Size of the athlete and the percentage of muscle to bodyfat.
  • The training involved.

Taking all that into consideration.  Here are the ways you can improve your vertical jump.

  1. Improve your overall strength, in particular your leg strength. The best way to do this is by some sort of squat exercise – back squat or front squat are preferred.
  2. Do a plyometric exercise. A jump squat could be good or a box squat.  Something as simple as going to the park and jumping up on a park bench or table would suffice.  Or even focusing on getting the net, backboard, or rim would be good.  Doing repeated jumps over time will help with the vertical.
  3. Add resistance to the plyometric jump. Hold on to a medicine ball, use a weighted vest, or add some type of tubing that provides resistance to your jump.  When the resistance is taken away, you should be able to spring higher over time.
  4. Do a combination of weight resistance then a plyo exercise at the same time. You do a set of squats, wait 30 seconds, and then do some plyometric jumps.  This is called contrast training.  Your body is primed to move a loaded weight in the squat.  Once it is taken away, it is still ready to do the squat, but now you are doing a jump sans weight.  You should be able to jump higher with the recruitment of the muscles who thought you were squatting.
  5. Have a better muscle to fat ratio in your body. The more muscle you have, the more muscles you have to recruit for when you want to do a vertical jump.

Seems simple enough, but now you have to do it.  You also have to apply different intensities based on the age of the kid.  A younger athlete isn’t going to need as much stimulus because they can only handle so much.

If you do it right, you should have a jumping jack athlete in no time.