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How to Jump Higher in Basketball

In basketball, the ability to jump high can be pretty important, especially for layups and dunks. Thus, it’s no surprise that many people who play basketball, either professionally or just for fun, want to be able to jump higher to improve their game. Luckily, by performing certain exercises, losing weight, and perfecting your technique, you can significantly improve your vertical leap and jump higher in basketball.

EditSteps

EditStrengthening Your Leg Muscles

  1. Jump rope to work your calves. Standing upright, hold the handles of a jump rope in each hand with the rope positioned behind your back. Turn the rope over your head and forward, jumping with both of your feet as the rope passes underneath you. Repeat this motion for 10 minutes or to exhaustion to also improve your endurance.[1]
    Jump Higher in Basketball Step 1.jpg
    • Make sure to keep your shoulders lowered and your core engaged as you complete your jumps.
    • Aim to complete 2 turns of the rope every second, or 120 turns every minute.
  2. Perform barbell deadlifts to strengthen your quads. Keeping your back straight, bend at your hips and knees to grab the barbell from the ground. Then, push up with your legs to stand up straight, thrusting your hips forward.[2]
    Jump Higher in Basketball Step 2.jpg
    • Perform 6-8 reps of this exercise in a set and give yourself 30 seconds of rest in between sets.
    • Use an overhand grip to grab the barbell as you bend down; using an underhand grip will cause you to put more work on your forearms.
  3. Try Bulgarian Split Squats for a more efficient squat workout. Stand in front of a workout bench and place 1 foot on it. Then, perform a squat on your other leg, descending to the floor until your bent knee nearly touches it. Finally, push yourself back up to your starting position.[3]
    Jump Higher in Basketball Step 3.jpg
    • Your body weight will most likely be a sufficient amount of resistance for this exercise. However, for added intensity, hold dumbbells in each hand as you perform the squat.
    • Perform 6-8 reps for each leg and aim to do 2-3 sets in total.
  4. Try calf raises for an easy way to exercise your calves. In a standing position, push on the balls of your feet while raising your heels so that you’re standing on your toes. Hold this position for 1-3 seconds, then slowly lower yourself back down to starting position. Do 10 reps, or as many as you can, and do as many sets as needed to complete 30 reps overall.[4]
    Jump Higher in Basketball Step 4.jpg
    • Calf raises are an exercise that can be done almost anywhere. Try performing then as you’re brushing your teeth in the morning or washing dishes.

EditExercising to Improve Your Vertical Jump

  1. Perform jump and reach exercises for a simple vertical jump workout. Start in a standing position with your arms above your head, your feet shoulder-width apart, and your knees and hips forward. Bring your arms down and back, while simultaneously lowering your hips and bending your knees. Then, swing your arms forward and jump as high as you can.[5]
    Jump Higher in Basketball Step 5.jpg
    • Make sure you only jump vertically and not forward when performing the jump and reach.
    • Repeat this exercise at least 10 times in a given set.
  2. Improve your jump height and your leg strength with power skips. Starting from a standing position, skip forward by pushing your right foot into the ground and lifting your left knee to your waist. Jump as high as possible as you skip forward, moving your arms and legs in opposite fashion.[6]
    Jump Higher in Basketball Step 6.jpg
    • Try to do this exercise on a smooth, flat surface (e.g., concrete) to minimize the risk of injury.
  3. Do jump squats to work those leg muscles used in jumping. Although stronger legs overall tend to improve your jumps, strengthening those muscles that are directly used in jumping is a very efficient way to increase your jump height. Perform an ordinary squat, then once you’re low to the ground, jump as high as you can.[7]
    Jump Higher in Basketball Step 7.jpg
    • Perform 5-6 reps of this exercise in a set and perform 1-2 sets.
    • After you’ve gotten used to this exercise, you can make it more difficult by holding dumbbells in your hands as you jump.
  4. Jump onto a box to perform box jumps. Box jumps are a great exercise for strengthening the muscles used in launching yourself off the ground. Stand in front of a knee-high bench or box with your arms raised. Then, lower your body as you drive your arms down and hips back, and raise your arms up as you jump onto the box.[8]
    Jump Higher in Basketball Step 8.jpg
    • Do 5-8 jumps in a set and perform 1-2 sets, depending on your strength and experience.
    • An alternative form of this exercise is called the Depth Jump, in which you begin on top of the bench or box and jump downward. Then, jump back onto the box immediately after you land. This trains your body to better use elastic energy for propelling yourself off the ground.

EditImproving Your Technique

  1. Get a running start before jumping. Increasing your horizontal speed in the time before jumping is a good way to increase the height of your jumps while playing basketball. If you’re going in for a layup or a dunk, run for 2 or 3 steps first to build your momentum.[9]
    Jump Higher in Basketball Step 9.jpg
    • The running start is slightly less important for taking jump shots at a distance, although it is still marginally helpful in this circumstance.
    • Be sure you don’t run too fast; you want to maintain control over your body before you transition from running to jumping.
  2. Lower your center of gravity on the penultimate step. On the second to last step before you take off, slightly lower your body as you’re moving forward. This will make it easier for you to transform your forward momentum and velocity into greater vertical jump height.[10]
    Jump Higher in Basketball Step 10.jpg
    • Keep your body in an upright position during this lowering and don’t lean too far forward or back.
    • Avoid putting your front foot too far in front of your body, as this will cause you to lose speed and thus lose vertical jump.
  3. Swing your arms before and as you jump. As you’re taking your penultimate step, swing your arms back and behind you. Then, as you plant your feet to takeoff, swing your arms forward. This will help you to generate more upward momentum as you jump.[11]
    Jump Higher in Basketball Step 11.jpg
    • Swinging your arms behind you also has the added benefit of lowering your center of gravity still further.
  4. Raise your center of mass as fast as possible on the takeoff. You can do this by completely extending the 3 joints that are primarily responsible for your vertical jump: the ankles, knees, and hips. Make sure you completely extend these joints before your feet come off the ground.[12]
    Jump Higher in Basketball Step 12.jpg
    • Once your feet have left the ground, you’re no longer vertically accelerating and your jump height has been predetermined.

EditSources and Citations


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