How to Improve Your Vertical Leap

In addition to the "Core 4", there are two other aspects to consider when trying to increase your vertical jump:

  • Keep your body fat percentage low. Excess body fat is simply dead weight. Too much dead weight will inhibit your explosiveness and vertical jump. In order to maintain an appropriate body fat level, you should eat a nutritious, calorically appropriate diet and adhere to a year-round conditioning program. Please note this is referring to body fat, not necessarily body weight. Additional muscle mass is not a hindrance to jumping higher, but rather an asset. Putting on five pounds of muscle through proper strength training will help you jump higher. Putting on five pounds of fat will weigh you down like an anchor.
  • Practice the vertical jump test exactly as it will be tested. There is a slight difference between being explosive on the field and testing well on a vertical jump test. If your focus is aimed primarily on a vertical jump test, you must follow the exact guidelines and specifications as the combine test protocol and you must to perform countless hours of task-specific repetitions. No sense in practicing your vertical jump with a running start if you can't do that when you are tested at the combine.

Here is a great drill to improve your explosiveness and vertical jump:

Highest Point

  • Reps: 1 jump
  • Sets: 10
  • Rest: 30 seconds in between jumps

Instructions:

  • Player stands in an athletic position (chest over knees over feet, slight bend in the knees, most of their weight on the power pads of their feet) facing a wall with a tennis ball in their dominant hand.
  • They throw the tennis ball underhand in an upward motion against the wall.
  • Without taking a step, they vertically jump to catch the tennis ball at its highest point.
  • The key is really challenging them by throwing the ball in a manner that requires them to jump as high as possible.

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Alan Stein is the owner of Stronger Team and the head strength and conditioning coach for the Montrose Christian boys basketball program. Stein has trained NBA stars like Kevin Durant and Michael Beasley and is the head conditioning coach for the McDonald's All-America Game, the Jordan All-American Classic and the Nike Summer Skills Academies. He has a vertical jump training program which helps athletes in a number of sports. Visit his website at StrongerTeam.com for more information.

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