Great athletes are able to jump higher mainly because their leg muscles are strong and powerful. Therefore, you should increase the power and strength of your legs considerably to enhance your vertical jump.
Doing bodyweight squats are the simplest and most effective exercises to increase leg strength and endurance. You can use a pair of dumbbells or a barbell to further enhance the conditioning of your legs.
Whenever you jump, your legs are in the squatting position first. Hence, by doing the squats exercise regularly, you train your legs to get accustomed to the squatting position.
Jumping ability can be gradually developed
Jumping higher is not an innate ability that anyone is born with. Consistent practice over an extended period helps you develop this unique ability.
Watching basketball players literally fly in the air and execute acrobatic dunks may fill you with awe and despair. Awe, on account of their stunning feat, and despair because of the notion that as far as the ability to jump is concerned, you assume that a person has it or doesn’t. Your assumption isn’t true. The fact is that your jumping ability can be gradually developed. There are diverse techniques to add inches to your vertical jump.
Loosen your muscles
While enhancing the power and strength of your leg muscles is extremely important, it’s also essential that you keep the other muscles in your body loose and flexible. Exercise tends to stiffen these muscles and render them less effective. Hence, to improve the flexibility of these muscles, you should do stretching exercises. Yoga stretches your muscles sufficiently. Athletes regularly do yoga for augmenting their cardio workouts and weight training.
Do calf raises
The calf muscles play an extremely important role in jumping higher. Exercise these muscles by grasping a raised surface using your toes and employing your calf muscles for doing short dips.
• Perform calf raises using one leg, both legs, or from a seated posture.
• Hold some weight while performing this exercise to enhance your resistance and develop strength.
Practice the pre-jump steps
Develop energy in your pre-jump steps to generate additional upward momentum. You need a lot of practice to attain the right timing, right body alignment, and right body coordination.
When you perform jump work-outs, take 2—3 steps prior to each jump. For honing your basketball skills, walk down the court and quickly take 2—3 steps. Envisage that you are on the verge of taking a jump shot. This will activate your fast-twitch muscles and enable you to jump higher.
Practice jumping from both feet and normal plant foot, as well.
Practice jumping from the “Jumping Position”
In the “Jumping Position”, your knees should be bent 60º, hips flexed 30º, and ankles flexed 25º to generate the maximum power and prevent injury to your knees.
Ensure that your knees aren’t in the “Knock-Knee” position — don’t point inwards. Yours knees should be positioned approximately over the second toe. Ideally, your arms should hang out loosely at your sides. They should come up to match your jump, and generate part of the momentum necessary to jump higher.
To jump higher, use the power of visualization
Great players ascribe their ability to jump higher to the power of visualization. They visualize literally every play as being successful before they even have the ball. Likewise, each time you jump, you should visualize that you’re flying in the air. As your mind gets accustomed to imagining you in flight, your body also will soon follow suit. Before you realize it, you’ll be jumping much higher than you had been previously. The power of visualization is amazing.
You should be doing several things simultaneously to jump higher. They include:
• Pushing your body up by using your legs — spring off the balls (the front part) of your feet.
• Swinging up your hands towards the ceiling into the air for additional momentum.
• Exhaling while you’re performing this action, similar to when you’re lifting weights.
Your landing after the jump should be on the balls of your feet. Additionally, you should bend your knees, and quickly “roll” onto your heels all in one fluid motion. This absorbs the shock of landing on the ground efficiently.
To jump higher, incorporate Plyometric exercises
Plyometric exercises are specially designed to train your muscular system to move from rest to maximum force in minimal time. These exercises greatly enhance your performance in activities that rely heavily on speed; for instance, high jump.
Hold about a third of the weight you’d normally lift and jump explosively. Do as many reps as you comfortably can.