3 Ways To Improve Your Vertical Jump And Some STACK Media Love

The game of basketball has evolved much from its humble beginnings. Long gone from the days of using peach baskets for hoops, the sport is now dominated by strong and explosive athletes who play above the rim. If you don’t believe me then check out this compilation of dunks from the month of November during the current NBA season.


Impressive, I know.

One of the questions I constantly get asked working with athletes is on how to improve vertical jump. I’m not going to go and guarantee an increase of a certain amount of inches, but if you combine effort with the following three principles then you should definitely get closer to your goal of hearing someone in the crowd shout “Throw it down big man! Throw it down!”

1. Improve Force Production Capability

With each jump you are literally applying force to the ground in order to catapult your body into the air. By strengthening the muscles in your legs, hips, and core, you will be able to apply more momentum to each jump. There are several factors that influence force production potential in muscle tissue. Two of these include the size of the muscle fibers in a motor unit (the neuron and the muscle fibers it activates) and the number of motor units activated. Through purposeful, explosive resistance training, you can increase both the size of your muscle fibers and the amount of motor units that you activate in a movement. What does this all mean? Strengthen the muscles of your lower body and core structure for more hops.

2. Improve Mobility In Your Ankles and Hips

Many athletes lack adequate mobility at their ankles and hips. Ever try squatting and have your heels raise off the ground? This is just one possible indication of a mobility issue. If unattended, these problems can develop improper movement patterns that decrease the amount of force that your muscles are able to produce. In a worst case scenario they could even get you injured. The use of mobility drills in your warm up such as the inchworm, squat/lunge variations, and x-band walks can help you to improve in this area.

3. Plyometrics

You hit the gym and now your muscles are stronger. Great job. Now you need to focus on exerting maximal force in a minimal amount of time. In sports speed is king (or queen). The speed of muscular exertion is limited by the efficiency in the coordination between your neurons (signal sender, “hey you, jump!”) and your muscles (signal receiver “hey, maybe I should jump now since my good friend neuron said to”). This is where Plyometric training comes in. Plyometric’s are quick, powerful movements that stimulate the bodies elastic properties to get your muscles firing faster. This type of training works to improve neuromuscular competency and increase the range of speeds that can be worked at by your nervous system.

Check out some of my articles for STACK media for some additional ways to take your game to the next level!

Ditch The Agility Ladder: Drills To Develop Basketball Speed And Explosiveness. http://www.stack.com/2012/10/01/basketball-speed-exercises/ 

3 Perimeter Basketball Drills For Guards: http://www.stack.com/2012/09/24/basketball-guard-perimeter-drills/

Elevate Your Game With Four Basketball Conditioning Drills: http://www.stack.com/2012/08/24/basketball-conditioning-drills/


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