Get More Air: Steps to Increase Your Vertical Jump

Steps to Increase Your Vertical Jump

FAST has a long history of improving athletic function, ability and sports performance. A measure that athletes, coaches, and trainers alike examine to gauge an individual’s athletic ability is the vertical jump. The vertical jump requires that you start with both feet on the ground, descend into a squatting position and push yourself to a maximum height off the ground. This motion demonstrates the lower body explosiveness crucial to any sports performance, gathering power from the ground, through the legs, and releasing it through the body. In order to improve your vertical jump, follow the four steps in this article and you’ll be reaching new heights in no time!

1. A Strong Foundation

You can’t build a house on an uneven foundation; the same rule applies to your body. You have to be strong and stable from your feet to your head. This starts from the center of all movement, your core. Develop a strong core that is capable of creating force and also resisting it.

2. Work on Force Absorption

The human body not only needs to generate force, but also absorb, or stop, the force it produces. This is the unsung hero of jumping, the lowering portion of the squat. We often focus so much on the upward portion of the movement that we forget to spend time developing our ability to load and prepare for an explosive activity. Force absorption can be trained through jumping and landing safely or correctly and then pausing to hold the position for a few seconds.

Steps to Increase Your Vertical Jump

3. Single Leg Strength and Squats

Studies have shown that increasing the amount of force one leg can produce on its own, can have an impact on the amount of force two legs are able to produce when working, leading to an improved vertical jump. Spend time training your squats, deadlifts, step-ups and lunges on one leg, focusing on the single leg doing the exercise and increasing the weight over time.

Steps to Increase Your Vertical Jump

One of the most fundamental exercises to sports performance, the “Barbell Squat,” has a direct correlation to increasing your vertical. The barbell squat looks just like the vertical jump, however, without the jumping portion or arm movement. Increasing your 1 repetition max on Barbell Squats has been shown to increase the height of your vertical jump.

Steps To Increase Your Vertical Jump

4. Bi-lateral Power

Bi-lateral power is the meat and potatoes of improving the vertical jump. We want to increase our ability to produce force and produce it quickly. At FAST, we implement counter-movement and non-counter movement based jumping. Counter movement is like stretching a rubber band and letting it go instantly. The vertical jump is a counter movement jump, so we want to improve those mechanisms by quickening the ability to fire our muscles. Whereas a non-counter movement would be more like stretching a rubber band and pausing before letting it go. This helps improve the force on the upward part of the jump, creating a higher power output. So, try squatting down and pausing a few seconds to let momentum stop – then explode upward.

Steps to Improve Your Vertical Jump

Carefully follow these four steps and you can significantly increase your vertical jump: Build a solid base through a strong core, train force absorption and landing mechanics, improve your single leg strength and 1 repetition max back squat, and increase bi-lateral power through counter movement and non-counter movement based jumps.

Contact one of your 10 local FAST locations if you’d like one of our Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists to program a specific vertical jump improving program for you!

Greg Stein

BS, CSCS, CPT, USAW, TRX | North Scottsdale

Foothills Acceleration and Sports Training (FAST) is empowered by Foothills Therapy Partners (FTP).