Jumping higher is a vital skill for many athletes in many sports but especially in basketball, volleyball and any jump based athletics. Exercises to increase vertical leap are a pivotal part of your training regime if you want to improve vertical distance when jumping because you need to recruit all the right muscles in your legs to maximize your potential.
Leaps are an explosive action that must lift your entire body weight off the ground and fling it up in the air against our foe ... gravity! So to train for this action you vertical pivot windowmust be training two things Strength and Power.
Strength is generally defined as how much you can lift or how much force you can apply at a maximum effort. Having good leg strength across all muscle groups is essential to increase vertical leaping. Some exercises to do this are as follows:
· Squats - These are a fantastic exercise only if you perform them correctly and do not cheat or all benefit is lost. The benefit to a whole range of muscle groups and the ability to load quite a bit of weight as you improve can really push your leg muscles to a better condition.
· Step Ups - A simple exercise you can do with any elevated piece of furniture, box or even a good sized rock. By stepping up onto this apparatus while keeping your back straight and staying upright you can increase the strength in your legs that will help in jumping higher.
Power is generally defined as how quickly you can apply your strength to a particular effort. This is of prime importance when jumping because you have to recruit all your strength into the one action all at the same time. Some very strong athletes do not have good explosive power and therefore fall short of their jumping potential. You must have the strength to apply your power however so both parts are important. Some power exercises to incorporate into your jumping proram are as follows.
· Plyometrics - This is a form of exercise where you practice drills of hopping, bounding and leaping at high speed and high intensity. Go at 100% at these for as long as you can for best results. You can design your own drills but the simplest method is to simply vertical jump as fast as you can as much as you can to train your explosive power.
· Weighted Jumps - By incorporating weights you can use a variation of plyometric exercises to increase vertical leap called box jumps. By holding some weights and repeatedly jumping from the ground onto a raised position you can add some extra difficulty while increasing your power. Again go with fast sets of these it is an explosive exercise not a slow one!