What are The Best Exercises To Increase a Vertical Jump?


question-icon-newI have a 12-year-old son, he is 5’10” and weighs 170 pounds. He made the 7th grade varsity basketball team, but I need ideas on how to help him jump higher and increase his agility and endurance. I have a gym here at my home that has cable and free weights. He is a big kid but not really fat, just big! It would be great to know which exercises will help him get quicker and be more explosive so he can increase his vertical leap and jump higher.

answer-icon-newWhether you’re playing football, basketball, soccer, or any sport that involves explosive, powerful movements, you have to train for it. The old adage is, “practice makes perfect.” In order to have better response times and stronger reflexes, or if you’re just looking for exercises to increase your son’s vertical jump, you’ll have to train specifically for it. Here are the different training styles you’ll need to focus on.

Compound Movements
This is the foundation of all of your exercises. It’s imperative to start with exercises that will prepare your body for power training. Compound movements involve primary and secondary muscle groups to work synergistically in order to complete the movement. By involving different muscles groups to work together, the muscles learn how to contract in unison. Compound exercises are the best to perform, with proper technique, in order to get the maximum benefits and lay the foundation for plyometrics. These exercises include squatsdeadliftslungesbench presses, standing military presses, lat pull downs, and bent over rows.

plyometrics-box-jumpsOnce you have laid the foundation with compound movements, you can begin working on plyometrics. Plyometrics are exercises that involve tremendous coordination and muscle contraction. Here, it is important to take as much care as possible because injuries are more common. If the muscles are not prepared to handle this type of training style, one false step and it can land you in the hospital. If you have followed a routine of doing compound movements, then everything should be fine. The plyometric exercises to focus on include squat jumpsside box jumps, split squat jumps, knee tuck jumps, jumping on boxes at different levels, and explosive push-ups. Plyometrics increase muscle contraction rates and once included into your workout rotation, you’ll be able to tackle the next phase of training.

Agility Training
By performing plyometric exercises, your body is primed for agility training. This type of training increases hand-eye coordination, as well as coordination of muscle contractions. The faster your muscles contract, the higher your vertical jump will be. Agility training also better prepares you for real world scenarios since the exercises are bases on how fast you can move and how well you can coordinate your responses. These exercises can be done with an agility ladder, cones, poles, a resistance chute, harnesses, and sleds. Try these exercises with a stopwatch. Time yourself, and see how much more agile you become as you continue to practice. Always strive to beat your previous time. Once completed, your muscles will be ready to tackle power exercises.

Power Training
These exercises are designed for athletes who want to gain explosive strength and power. They involve Olympic movements like power cleans, clean and jerks, kettle bell swings, snatch pulls, snatches, hand power cleans, and hang power snatches. Each of these exercises will help to increase jumping power. Power is the amount of time it takes to move an object a certain distance. The less time it takes to move an object, the more power you have. The more power you have, the more coordinated your muscles will be. This type of coordination is the key to being an explosive athlete. Adding in power training is an effective way to include additional exercises into an overall regimen that will help increase a person’s vertical jump.

It’s important to note that power training is sport specific and its a great way to get your body to be faster, more powerful, and stronger. However, you cannot start out with power exercises unless you have laid the foundation with the three other styles of training we have covered above. Always use caution when exercising and be prudent about your actions to avoid injuries. If you perform these movements with proper technique and correct form, you will quickly be able to help increase your son’s vertical jump and boost his overall explosive power to become a better athlete!

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