For building the foundation of your basketball dexterity, jumping is the base that you need to work on. From elevating over a defender, grabbing that required rebound, to dunking your shot- your jumps convey a sea of messages. Not confident about how high you can jump? We’ve got you covered- with this exclusive guide.
The science behind Jumping high
We are surrounded by unending examples of ethereal jumps- from NBA games to friendlies in the neighbourhood lanes. Looking at them, on may wonder “he/she has got wings” yet, in reality, the very person has aced the science of jumping.
This actually starts from basic lessons of physics, which states that apt power and velocity creates the perfect force that charges the jump. Notice your body when you take that leap- you bend your legs and gather all that power within your legs, you propel your body up, just like spring.
Yet have you noticed another phenomenon- of strength? A stronger metal increases the effectiveness of the spring to go higher. Similarly, stronger muscles are needed to jump higher. Now when it comes to velocity, understand this, horizontal velocity works especially well on vertical jumps. You take a sprint from one to another and take a leap- that creates the necessary force to propel your body and shot up.
Your weight also plays a defining factor, adding to your ability to spring yourself up. Basketball players pack a lean physique, with muscles primed to give you the apt propulsion. You need to keep your body in mint condition, with the focus on adding power to your muscles.
Exercises that increase your vertical jump
1. Back Squat
Let’s start with leg power- after all, it is the most defining aspects of your game. The stronger is your leg power, the better become your leaps, sprints and back squats are the best in that aspect.
- First, assume the proper stance of a squat- this is essential!
- Then, proceed to keep a barbell on your shoulders.
- Bending your knees, shift the power to your legs.
- Use that power to push you and the weight on your shoulders back up.
You can train yourself to move to heavier objects, with due time.
2. Leg Curls
Leg curls are perfect for training the hamstrings- the muscles utilized the most in leaps. Hamstrings provide the push to leap off the floor and depending upon the strength of your hamstring, your leap can either be phenomenal or disappointing.
- For this, you need to lie down on the floor, with an upright dumbbell between your feet.
- Grip the dumbbell with your feet, bending your knees to lift it off the floor. The top weight on the dumbbell needs to rest on the bottom of your feet.
- Then, bend your knees slowly up toward your butt.
- Maintain keeping the bottom of your feet facing the ceiling throughout the movement.
- In slow motion, lower the weight back down, stopping just before the dumbbell touches the floor. Repeat the set.
3. Romanian Deadlift
The third member of the power trio, the deadlift is a powerful exercise for anyone looking to increase their vertical. Romanian Deadlift works the core of the entire backside- from the lower back muscles, the glutes (butt), to hamstrings and calves. It also trains the hip extension, which plays a big part in the jumping motion. Yet, the essence is to learn the proper lifting technique, to not incur injuries.
- Take the lifting stance and hold a dumbbell at each side. The weight needs to be focused on the back half of your feet.
- Shift the hips back and lower the dumbbells as far as you can, keeping your back straight.
4. Barbell Lunges
Following the deadlift is a close sibling- the barbell lunges. While lunges are a one-legged version of the squat, the barbell lunge mimics that of the deadlift. This helps you focus your jumps of all nature- either feet or both together.
- Place the barbell on your back, in the stance of a back squat.
- Clench your core and take a step forward with one foot- a smaller step is advised. The back heel needs to be raised, with both the front and the back foot should be pointed forward.
- Hold the position and descend, bending both knees.
- Let the front knee flex forward, standing parallel to the toes.
- Flex the glutes while pushing the ground away with the front foot to return to the standing position.
5. Calf Raises
Calves are the unsung stars of your jump- contributing immesly to the upward motion of your leap, especially when you don’t have the time to bend your knees. Hence, calf raises help to strengthen the calves- as well as the ankles and toes. Having strong ankles prevent injuries while the toes allow for good take-off and push.
- For this, you need to stand with your feet at hip-width and arms by your sides.
- Now, contract your calf muscles, hamstrings, and glutes, lifting your heels as high as you can and rise up on to your toes.
- Hold the position briefly before lowering your heels down.
6. Split Squat
Now that you have tackled the lunge, it is time to advance ahead with the split squat. What makes it challenging is that this exercise requires one leg to be raised to the back. The front leg is forced to both pushes you and the weight back up as well as keep you balanced, working out your quads, the butt and even the hip flexors, along with hamstrings.
- For this too, you need to stand with your feet 3-5 feet apart at the split position.
- With your body upright, continue downwards, into a split squat.
- The back knee should be bent as it touches the floor and the back heel should lift, to allow for proper split squat movement.
- Keep the load on one leg and slowly rise up.
Pepper this with beginners’ drills- an indoor basketball hoop can help you in this. Choose from our variety of basketball hoops and maybe you can be the next Stephen Curry