Every basketball player who has ever stepped foot on the blacktop has dreamed of jumping higher. The 10-foot-tall rusty rim calls out to basketball players, begging for them to grab it, hang on it, and never let go. Every basketball player has the desire to jump higher so they can dunk on and jump over their opponents at will. Imagine, going up for shot and the defender begins falling back down to the floor while you are releasing at the peak of your jump. Imagine, a guard streaking down the court for a layup and you swat their shot without them even knowing what happened. Imagine, cutting through the lane and being able to thrust and throw down a powerful jam. Having supreme jumping ability is not a necessary skill in the game of basketball, but if it is something you can add to your game, it will greatly increase your effectiveness of things you will be able to do on the court.
A new pair of sneakers are not going to make you jump higher, and not every basketball player is fortunate enough to have won the genetic lottery and been born with outstanding athletic ability. However, there are many things which you can do which will help increase your vertical leap and hang-time.
Having a proper diet is crucial to being able to jump higher. It is important to keep your body as lean and aerodynamic as possible and not have any extra fat weighing you down.
Foods which increase vertical:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Cottage Cheese
- Whole Grain Rice and Bread
- Low Fat Meats
- Fruit and Vegetables
Foods which decrease vertical:
- Fried Foods
Try to avoid processed foods which are full of sugar and sodium and focus on eating meals and snacks which will not weigh you down.
There are countless exercises out there which will help to increase your vertical. I am going to cover some basic ones. The amount of sets and how frequent you perform them each week varies depending on your workout schedule.
- Box Squats
- Static Hip Flexor Stretch
- Depth Jumps
- Reverse Hyperextensions
- Dumbbell Swings
- Bulgarian Split Squats
- “Pogo Jump” Warm-up
- Standing Backward Medicine Ball Throw
- Weighted Ab Work
- Vertical Jumps
- Jump roping
If you are unfamiliar with any of these exercises please ask your coaches or give a quick search on YouTube to help get a visual of how they are performed.
Make Jumping a Part of Your Everyday Life
Being athletic and being able to jump high is an ability, but it also a lifestyle. Find ways in your everyday life to help increase your vertical. Take the stairs up to your apartment or classroom instead of using the elevator. Is there a hanging branch calling out your name that you can challenge yourself to touch? How about doing some calf raises on a sidewalk while waiting for the bus? Having explosiveness is something your have to train your body to do, and it is also something which you can easily lose if you do not maintain it. Train your body and your mind to be explosive in all areas of your life, and see the results once you step on the basketball court.
Contributing writer Jasen Sousa for Premier Hoops is the author of a number of poetry and fiction books for young people. Jasen has an M.F.A. in Creative Writing and is a life-long participant and fan of the game of basketball.