Jumping is a skill, just like shooting, dribbling, passing, or any other basketball skill. You don’t get out there and start making more shots or more layups. You focus on the mechanics with proper training to make the shot look effortless and natural. The same goes for how to increase your vertical jump.
If you’re looking for that killer jump shot, you may be able to make it yourself in a few weeks, but if you’re looking to improve your vertical leap, then it’s going to take longer. It would help if you worked on jumping mechanics first. Then unleash the now plural athletic performance of Zion Williamson dunking!
The group of muscles that control the lower back to the front of the pelvis are your hip flexors. These muscles help extend the hip joint and bend the knee joint.
The hip flexors are important for sprinting, jumping, and other explosive strength. Many athletes tend to have tight hip flexors from sitting for long periods. Poor core strength and range of motion here limit the ability to meet triple extension.
The hip flexors also become weak and inhibited as people age or avoid exercise. If your hips are tight, the hip flexors will pull on the lower back and can lead to lower back pain and injury.
Strengthening the hip flexors can help improve your vertical jump. A healthy hip flexor will help you to get up higher while moving faster.
Do the following exercises to strengthen your hip flexors:
Squat: Squats are an excellent exercise for the hip flexors. It will strengthen the hips and lower back, as well as the legs.
Quadruped Leg Raises: Quadruped leg raises are a great way to strengthen the hip flexors and abs while working on your balance. To do these, lay on your stomach with your arms extended above your head. Lift one leg in the air and raise your upper torso off the ground.
Hip Flexor Stretch: This stretch is excellent for range of motion through the hip flexors.
- Lie on your back. Legs fully extended.
- Slowly bend one knee and bring it toward your chest.
- Grab your leg and pull it towards you to stretch the hip flexors. You should feel this in your hip.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds. Then repeat with the other leg.
The adductor muscles run along the inner thigh. These muscles help adduct the hips. Adduction is the motion of bringing a limb inward towards the midline of the body.
The adductors play an essential role in sprinting, jumping, and other explosive movements. They also help stabilize the hip joint while running and jumping. When a person has weak adductors, they will have a hard time jumping high or sprinting fast. They will also be more likely to get injured.
Strengthening the adductors will help you jump higher and increase your overall agility.
Do the following exercises to strengthen your adductors:
Lunges: Lunges are one of the best exercises for increasing your vertical jump.
- Stand with your legs spread about shoulder-width apart.
- Step forward with one leg and lower your body down until your knee nearly touches the ground.
- Drive off the front foot and bring your back leg across your body.
- Repeat this sequence for ten reps on each leg.
Hip Adductor Stretch: This stretch is excellent for the hip adductors.
- Lay on your side with your bottom leg bent and top leg straight out.
- Pull your top knee towards your chest to stretch the hip adductors.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds. Then repeat with the other leg.
The gluteus maximus is a large, powerful muscle group that runs from the lower back to the hip joint. It’s one of the body’s strongest muscles and is vital for running, jumping, and other explosive movements.
If your glutes are weak, you will have a hard time jumping high or sprinting fast. You will also be more likely to get injured.
Strengthening the glutes will help you jump higher and increase your speed. Dynamic stretching helps with timing.
Do the following exercises to strengthen your glutes:
Glute Bridge: This exercise is excellent for strengthening the glutes and lower back. Lie flat on your back with knees bent at 90 degrees. Place your feet flat on the ground. Contract the glutes to lift your hips off the ground. You should feel this in your glute muscles. Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat.
Lying Glute Stretch: Static stretching is great for stabilizing the glutes.
- Lay on your back with one leg bent and one leg straight out.
- Cross the bent knee over the other leg and grab the straight leg’s foot with both hands.
- Pull the straight leg towards you to stretch the glute muscles. You should feel this in your buttock.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat with the other leg.
The calf muscles are a group of muscles that run down the back of each lower leg. The calf muscles play an essential role in sprinting, jumping, and other explosive movements. They also help you stabilize during running and jumping movements.
Weak lower leg strength leads to slower sprint times, poor jumping ability, and unstable ankles during explosive movements like sprinting or jumping. It will also lead to an increased risk of an Achilles tendon injury because of weak ankles and calf muscles while sprinting or jumping.
Doing exercises to strengthen your calves can help you jump higher, increase your speed, stabilize yourself while running, and reduce injury risk during explosive movements like split steps or jumping.
Try the following exercises to strengthen your calves:
Calf Raises: This exercise is great for strengthening your calves and increasing ankle flexibility slightly more than usual calf raises. To do it, stand on a block or step that is about 6 inches high with both feet pointing straight ahead (or slightly turned out). Put both heels on top of it and lean forward slightly so that only about half of each foot makes contact with it (you should not be able to put all of each foot on it).
Raise onto the balls of both feet as high as you can go while keeping both heels on top of the block or step at all times (just your toes should support your weight).
Then lower back down slowly until both heels are nearly touching the floor again (you may have to bend at the knee if you have trouble reaching this point).
Repeat 10-15 times with good form if you are beginning to develop calf strength or up to 50 times if you are more advanced with calf strength training already (50 repetitions is tough!).
The hamstrings are a group of muscles that run along the back of the thigh. These muscles help extend the hip joint and flex the knee joint. They also help to stabilize the hip and knee joints while running, jumping, and cutting.
If your hamstrings are weak, they can cause your hips to rotate too much during sprinting and jumping. The deficit will lead to slower sprint times, low jump height, and an increased risk of injury during these movements.
Doing exercises that strengthen your hamstrings can also help increase your vertical leap and decrease injury risk.
Do the following exercises to strengthen your hamstrings, but make sure to do a dynamic warm up and maintain proper technique from the standing position on through the last repetition.
Squat Jumps: This jump is the first in a cluster of plyometrics for vertical jumping.