These three things, every basketball player needs to do, if he wants to increase his vertical jump:
1. To get his lower body muscles stronger
2. To make his muscles get familiar with the jump mechanics (to develop a muscle memory).
3. To make his upper body stronger (legs are the main motor of the whole thing but a big part of a jump includes almost every muscle group).
There is no magic pill, there is no alternative way. All those jump programs are not really going to help you reach your full potential, rather they are going to maximize your current muscle potential and in many cases, they are going to overload them so after a while your ligaments are going to feel sore.
If you go another way and hit the gym hard, your muscles are going to get stronger in time, you will expand their capacity, but if you do not jump, the muscles are not going to be familiar with the move and again so you will feel heavy and stiff.
Development of the upper body is needed in order to maximize your full body potential, to have good balance and, after all, we are talking about the development of the basketball players and they sure can use strong arms and shoulders.
Table of Content
Lower Body Exercises
Leg press is the safest way to start your mission of getting your vertical jump increased. Why? Because it is a safe exercise where the leg movement is highly controlled by the machine and there is almost no possibility of injury. As in every training process, we like to get an easy start just to warm our muscles up so we can proceed with more demanding exercises later on.
On the other hand, leg press is mostly abused exercise in the gym because after a while we can load our selves up with heavy weights and we can really feel the burn.
Muscles Targeted: Quadriceps (emphasized when the feet are lower on platform and closer together), gluts and hamstrings (emphasized when the feet are higher and wider on the platform)
Strengths: The leg press is a highly controlled exercise, which simply means your feet are planted rather than free. This way, the exercise provides a move that has a strong base of power without as much shearing force on the knee joint as can occur in an open-chain exercise like the knee extension. This exercise is perfect to warm up without the worry of getting hurt or injured.
How To do a Leg Press: Sit justly in the leg press machine and place your feet shoulder-width apart. It is important to put your chest up and lower back pressed into the sitting pad, and then really carefully unblock the machine. Bend your knees to lower the platform toward your chest, stopping just before your gluts lift off the pad. In this particlular moment, try and stiff all your lower muscles to feel the small amount of tension in the fibers. From there, with raw power, extend your knees to press the weight up but don’t lock them out at the top. Do 90% of the extension to prevent injury.
The leg press machine does offer the benefit of activating different muscles through foot placement and, most important, it eliminates the use of stabilizers. This exercise could be good for increasing volume in the workout as well as the warm-up drill because there is almost no chance of hurting yourself.
Ranking barbell squats No. 1 here is about as surprising as Golden State Warriors winning the championship. This exercise is the reigning “king of exercises”. There is no single exercise that is more effective, not only for the legs and lower-body target muscles only, but for all the muscles from your shoulders, chest and back down to your core, all of which participate in maintaining the posture of the body while doing a squat. Barbell squat is the exercise that is the main provider of the arms needed to upgrade your jumping ability.
MusclesTargeted: Quadriceps, gluts, hamstrings, calves, core
Strengths: What every basketball player need are strong legs from the ankles to the hips, and back squats work the lower-body prime movers, stabilizers, and synergists, making your whole body an effective weapon that they use to play a game that requires all kinds of jumps and sprints. If we know that the quadriceps and hamstrings are the major muscle groups that affect knee stability and motion, then we must be aware why the players need to work their ass off just to be able to move well on the court. Quads are working during the straightening of the knees, while hamstrings are directly related to the action of bending of the knees and the pushing action against the ground, such as in a short sprint or a jump shot.
How To do a Barbell Squat: Stand with your feet spread about shoulder-width apart and hold a bar across your upper back but without pushing up the neck. Your knees should be bent a little and your toes turned out a bit. Your head should be in a neutral position all the time, your abs must be tight and torso should be positioned upright. First, you have to bend at the knees and hips to slowly lower your body as if you were going to sit in a chair, and all this while filling your lungs with air. Go as deep as you can handle at first, but know that it is ideal for your thighs to come parallel to the floor or slightly below, while maintaining your natural lower-back arch, then forcefully drive through your heels and extend your hips and knees to return to a standing position. The benefit of free-weight exercises which are good for everybody to do first just to be able to get to know your own move. You can experiment with bar placement on your back, foot placement and even with a range of motion that suits you best. Ones you have mastered the move without the weights, it is time to load yourself and to start pumping those legs.
Barbell squats is something that not just basketball players should consider as the main exercise to do, but every athlete in any sport has to build his sports foundations with the pair of really strong legs.
As you already said, the barbell back squat is No. 1 on our list. But, if we consider basketball training and the nature of the jump in the margins of this sport, we are going to notice that a whole thing about jumping in basketball is really a simple jump with the load in front of the body. The basketball stance requires that our hands are in front of us, with or without the ball, and every move basically is about jumping towards the rim. So, with knowing that, this exercise is going to do wonders for a basketball player. Overall, it is ranked second in the eyes of many other athletes, especially those who like the idea of big and strong quadriceps and the more direct line of resistance offered by moving the barbell to the front opposed to draping it across the upper back.
Muscles Targeted: Emphasis on quads, plus gluts, hamstrings, calves and core
Strengths: Both the barbell front and back squats are the best exercises for increasing leg, back, and core strength and for positively affecting anabolic metabolism that is going to help you get rid of that persistent body fat glued to your lower parts of the stomach and inner ties. As for which is better between these two drills, it depends on your body posture, workout technique, and previous injuries, and personal preference. I say do them both. If you lack good shoulder external-rotation capability, then back squats are not the best exercise for you. Due to your bad shoulder and thoracic spine mobility and strength, you may have issues getting the bar racked and properly positioned across your back, so in this case, front squats would quite possibly be a better choice.
How To do a Front Squat: You need to set the pegs in a power rack just at or below mid-chest area, and place the safety bars at a level that is between your hips and knees. Step up to the bar and then cross your arms to build a ledge to cradle it at your front delts and upper chest. You need to keep your chest up at all times, squeeze your lower back and keep your abs tight. Eyes should look forward as you step back into a shoulder-width stance. Bend your knees and hips as if you are going to sit in a chair until your thighs are at least parallel to the floor, then reverse direction by driving through your heels and pressing your hips forward to return to standing. You must keep your neck and back straight and elbows lifted high throughout the lift to prevent the injuries. As you go down you need to inhale to support the trunk and abdomen at the start of your descent, but keep your core and abdomen engaged to help minimize stress on your lower lumbar area by stabilizing the whole body. For all of the people that have problems holding the bar in the clean, steady position, try to wrap wrist wraps around the bar and hold onto them. This is going to help you maintain bar placement.
The front squats are maybe more important for the sake of building strong legs for a basketball player then the regular version of the drill just because of that sense that the move itself is more familiar with the sport. The center of load, if we are talking about basketball, is always up front then behind the player and this is the reason why front squats are important.
Walking lunges come in more varieties than Taylor Swift breakup songs. You can do stationary lunges in different directions — front, side, backward or any point in between — and have a really good exercise on your hands. Walking lunges ultimately made the list for two reasons:
a) they’re more functional since you continually move forward instead of standing still, so it is a good transitional drill from anaerobic to aerobic training
b) it provides an excellent load exercise to any leg workout
Targeted Muscles: Quads, hams, gluts
Strengths: The walking lunge is a dynamic drill that requires coordination and muscle recruitment to perform correctly. This exercise is a dominant unilateral activity no matter which way it’s performed, with emphasis on the front and a very small impact on the back leg. You’ll get a good amount of co-contractions from the fibers that surround the knee joint, from the hip and core to the ankle and foot.
How To do Walking Lunges: While holding dumbbells in each hand, go and step forward with one foot. Bend both knees to lower your torso toward the floor, making sure your front knee doesn’t pass your toes at the lowest position and end the move just short of your rear knee touching the floor, then drive through the heel of your front foot while bringing your rear leg forward until you return to a standing position. Then step with the other leg into a lunge, repeating the pattern just as you are walking.
Do this exercise as a finisher. Be sure to keep your knees behind your toes all the time, and try to step evenly on both sides and keep your upper body tall. Even if we are hitting our muscles in anaerobic way for the growth sake, use this drill as a preparation for the plyometric part of the training.
Glut - Ham Raise
There is a really big chance that Louie Simmons’ Westside Series glut-ham developer is the machine that your gym is not going to have so this drill is not going to come into your mind easy. It’s rare unless the place where you train is filled with athletes and really big guys that are covered in chalk.
It is known that the 80% of the guys that come in the NBA have really weak lower back/upper leg muscle area, so the first two exercises that their trainers give to them are Glut-Ham raises and Dead Lifts.
Gluteus is the muscle that does not participate much in the jump, but it presents a foundation and support for the whole body in the way that he maximizes the power of the other leg muscles. The stronger your gluts are, the better your legs can produce.
The other part that is mostly neglected by the athletes are the Hamstrings. If these muscles are not strong enough then it is likely that they can be injured because they are responsible for the lateral movement of the legs and we all know that the basketball is more about going East-West then running in a straight line.
Targeted Muscles: Gluts, hamstrings
Strengths: From a muscle-stimulation standpoint, the glut-ham raise must be considered as a high priority drill just because the stronger your support muscles are, the bigger the load your legs can withstand.
How To do a Glut - Ham Raise: Get into position on the bench press, and then secure your ankles between the rollers, your knees positioned on the pads and your feet has to be on the platform. Start with your upper and lower body aligned with the walls. You need to cross your hands over your chest just to stabilize the body during the exercise. Now, start the drill by extending your knees by lowering your torso until it is parallel with the floor. Hold the position for a few seconds and then start flexing your hams in order to bring your body back to vertical.
The key point of the Glut Ham raise is the moment when the knees are the crowbar for the movement. Keeping your hips, back and shoulders in line, and pulling yourself up with your hamstrings and gluts without helping yourself with your arms and going deeper than parallel with the floor in order to activate the back muscles for the creation of a swing is crucial for the development of gluts and hamstrings.
Plyometric Jump Exercises
The first exercise that you need to do are the squat jumps. Once again we are doing some squats, but this time we have an upgrade to the move - a jump. As we have done the straightening of our muscles, it is time to teach them how to do some particular move. Muscle memory needs to be thought how to react to our will of wanting to leap into the air, and the more you do this exercise the familiar the thrust becomes.
How to do a Squat Jump: Position your feet in a way that they are shoulder-width apart. Start an exercise by doing a regular squat, then push yourself off of the ground and jump up explosively in the air. Make sure to swing your arms up as hard as you can to provide some extra burst. While landing, lower your body back into the squat position the same way you have started the move.
Squat jumps are beneficial in more than one way. While it is going to train your body to lunch itself into the air, still it is going to put some load onto your legs. It is such a good drill that it can be used to maintain your leg condition while doing the aerobic part of the conditioning. In time, body weight is going to be insufficient so the next step towards increasing your vertical component is by adding some weights and then doing the squat jumps.
Truck jumps, or knee to chest jumps, is an advanced plyometric exercise that is used by professional athletes who are in need of increasing their overall abilities. This exercise is used for the enhancement of the explosive power of the legs. The move itself is more demanding than the squat jump and it involves the bigger activation of more muscle groups then the regular jumps or squat jumps. The drill itself is going to push your maximum leap ability overboard and you are going to gain some extra inches on your reach.
How to do a Trunk Jump: This move is performed exactly the same as the squat jump, but in that moment that you feel that you are reaching your highest point, the athlete needs to explode with his knees and to push them towards the chest area. By activating the hands, players can add more velocity to a drill, and by doing this, the jumps are going to be more effective.
The other good thing about the Trunk Jumps is the fact that they are calorie killers and one of the best fat burners. Getting rid of some extra pounds is just going to help you fly higher because the body is lighter.
The game of basketball requires a good lateral movement. It is not just about going up and down, but also going side to side. Lateral bounds are not going to help you much in a vertical sense, but for sure they are going to help you jump from side to side when it's needed - and it is needed very often.
How to do Lateral Bounding: Get your feet to be parallel and a bit wider than your shoulders. Push your self to the side and in the air, and land on your other feet and get to the half-squat position. Try to keep your balance all the times and do not go deeper at first. Then hop to the other side repeating the move. First, do not jump much nor go deeper than the half squat move (45 degrees). As you get familiar with the move, increase both the jump and the angle all the way to 90 degrees.
Do not get me wrong, the load that you are going to put on just one leg while doing lateral bounds is going to help you increase overall jump ability and it is going to hit your muscles in a different angle. This is a good drill to refresh your self from going just up and down.
Depth drop jumps
Depth drop jumps is an exercise that is going to build up your explosive power in times you are not fully ready for a jump. This drill is going to teach your muscles to be at 100% disposal in any given moment. It is important to jump high when we are talking about basketball but in many situations it more important to jump fast.
How to do Depth Drop Jumps: Stand up on a platform, not higher than 60 cm. Everything more is not realistic basketball vise. Easily let your self-free fall off of that platform and keep your legs slightly bent in your knees. At the moment you touch the ground, push as hard as you can with your legs and jump in the air. For basketball players, go and keep your hands high all the time.
Depth drop jumps are really going to boost your reaction time so you are going to feel ready to jump in any given moment. In time, set another platform a bit further from the one that you start this exercise, just to give your self another goal to reach. The most extream version of this drill is a Depth drop jump and reach the rim as it emphasizes the main goal of every basketball player.
Box jumps is the exercise used to overcome any mental barrier that you have in your mind and for the increase of your maximum capacity to jump. The reality is that people can do much more then they think. We all think that is impossible to jump 1 meter in the air, and sure, you cant immediately. But, in time it is possible. Start by jumping on the box that is 50 cm in height, and raise the mark once a month by 5-7 cm. You are going to notice the change.
How to do Box Jumps: Place a box in front of your self, get into the squat as we described in previous exercises, and simply jump on the box. The technique of landing here is not important, the goal is to just get up there.
Box jumps should be done last and should provide a sense of competition. By raising the hight of the box, you are overcoming the limits that ones ruled your head. Anything is possible, it is just a matter of how hard and how long are you prepared to fight. As the height of the box goes up, the maximal strength of your jump is going to increase and you will know what arsenal you have on your disposal.
Full Body Workout
Dead Lift is the exercise that many of the fitness trainers and experts consider the best in the world. This drill, if done properly, is going to activate all the muscle groups in your body, and thus to this effect, it is used for gaining overall strength. Almost every study done on the topic how this druid impacts the overall condition of the body, the common conclusion is that the athletes that were doing this drill had better results considering their possibility of doing other exercises with a bigger load. And, because, it engages all the muscle groups, in the measurements of BMI, athletes seem to have lost fat in a bigger percentage than the group that didn't do this exercise.
How to do the Dead Lift: Place your feet in front of the bar and align your feet to be slightly wider than the shoulders. Same goes for the grip with your arms. Bend your knees until they touch the bar. In the same moment, the chest needs to be lifted and the back needs to be straight and tight. Shoulders need to be positioned directly over the bar. The move starts by you pushing the floor with your legs and tightening your gluts while lifting the weights up with arms being straight. The back is straight all the time. In the moment the bar is going up, in the moment it is going by the knees, the legs need to be straight.
Another study indicates that the group that was doing Dead Lifts as a main exercise, had a better results in jumping. If you take a look at the mechanics of the dead lift, you are going to see that the move itself is basically the part of the jump, the part between going down in a crunch and the part where the players are leaping off the ground.
Push-ups are one of the best upper body exercises that any basketball player can and must do. Push-ups are going to activate your chest and your triceps heavily, and the secondary group affected are the shoulders and the core. The best thing about this exercise is the thing that you can do it anywhere anytime.
How to do a push-up: Get to the ground in a way that your body is parallel with it, and the only things touching the floor are your hands and the toes of your feet. The back needs to be straight all the time and aligned with your legs and your head. Core muscles need to be tight and hips must not move. Arms need to be on a 45 degrees away from the body. Drop your body until you are very close to the ground and push yourself up into the start position.
The pushups can be modified by simply positioning the hands in a different way. The closer they are to the body, the more your triceps is loaded, and the wider they are positioned, the chest is more engaged. And if you lift one leg in the air, the core is getting more workout then in the normal circumstances.
The first thing that any basketball player needs know is that the more his Lats are wider, the more restricted movement of his arms are. The bigger the Lats are, the more your elbow will tend to go outside. Pull-ups with shoulder wide grip are perfect for the development of the strong back but without widening the Lats too much. The wider you hold the bar while doing pull ups the more Lats tend to grow.
How to do a Pull Up: Grab a bar with your palms looking toward your face, and do not go wider then the shoulders. Push your chest up and cross your feet in order to prevent the swinging of the legs. Pull yourself towards the bar. At first, you can help your self by bending your knees really fast in the same moment as you are pulling yourself, just to give yourself an extra boost of inertia.
This exercise is going to activate your whole upper body even though the main motors are the Lats and the Biceps muscles. Pull-ups are a grate way to get your upper body strong, but functional at the same time. This exercise too does not demand the gym because it can be done almost anywhere.
Dumbbell snatch is an exercise that is used to strengthen the shoulder but to keep its functionality as much as possible. Basketball players do need strong shoulders but they do need something that they cant use. While you are doing dumbbell snatch, your arm is actually pulling the weight vertically, from your toes toward your head and straight up, the similar move that basketball players use in majority times while jumping in the air.
How to do a Dumbbell Snatch: Get in a stance and hold the dumbbell in front of yourself and imagine the vertical line that is in front of your shoulder. That is the line that the Dumbbell needs to move on without changing the direction. Your back needs to be straight all the time and bending down and pulling the weights up needs to be done from the hips.
This drill imitates the arms movement while the player is jumping. In time, as the shoulder get stronger, players will notice a slight change in the momentum that they are getting from their hands and all because the dumbbell snatch made their shoulder stronger but functional at the same time.
Every athlete is in need of a strong core and the best way to build it is by doing Plank. And not just the core muscles, Plank is going to activate almost every muscle in your body while you are doing, well, practically nothing.
How to do Plank: Plant the hands directly under your shoulders, maybe a bit wider than shoulder-width apart. Pretty much the same as you’re about to do a push-up. Anchor the toes into the floor and stiff your gluts in order to stabilize the body. Squeeze the leg muscles too. Position the neck and spine in a way that they are looking directly in front of you. The head should be in line with the back.
The more you Plank the better you are going to Dunk. Plank became one of the most used exercises used in a pro sport industry and it is hard to imagine a training without doing it.
As we like to share our knowledge on social media platforms, we can see that young boys and girls from all over the world are asking about the drills, exercises, tactics, thoughts, and experience just about anything. One particular thing is making me feel sad and sorry at the same time and that thing is when a young man is asking for some alternative way to do something because he/she does not have money to pay for a gym or equipment that can be expensive.
If you take a look at the program that we at Hoopsking carefully developed, you are going to notice that all of the exercises can be done outside of the gym.
We at Hoopsking can offer you Vertical Jump Resistance Bands for a fair price. Not only that you can increase your jumping ability, but, by using the same bands you can train your lateral movement, do a variety of exercises for your upper and lower body.
And, even if you are not able to buy these, you can always find some empty plastic 5-liter gallons and fill them with sand and do all the exercises that you have seen in this article.
Whatever you chose to do you need to be aware that your vertical reach can be increased by doing these exercises, but at the moment you stop training it is going to go down. Jump needs to be trained all the times just to keep it at the desired level.
If you want to upgrade your basketball knowledge in a more physical, player body development way, you can click on the link below and purchase MVP Elite Vertical Training system, that is going to take your players condition on another level: