How to Increase Your Vertical Jump: Proven Strategies for New Heights

By Aynur Nuriev, 11 May 2023

This is Conley warming up for the 40-yard dash. Photo source: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The Importance of Vertical Jump in Sports and Fitness

Vertical jump workout is a crucial factor in many sports, such as basketball, volleyball, and track and field. It measures an athlete's explosive power, which is essential for executing moves such as slam dunks or blocking shots.

Additionally, a high vertical jump can give athletes an edge over their opponents by allowing them to jump higher for rebounds or spikes. Outside of sports, having a high vertical jump has significant benefits for overall fitness.

It requires the use of multiple muscle groups, including calf muscles, quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and core muscles. By working these muscle groups through vertical jump exercises regularly, one can develop overall strength and endurance.

When one understands how to jump higher, he or she also gains numerous health benefits. For example:

Proven Strategies to Help You Increase Your Vertical Jump

In this article we will provide proven strategies that have been used by professional athletes for decades to help increase your vertical jump height. We will discuss the science behind this movement pattern so you understand how it works while also focusing on using specific exercises that target fast-twitch muscle fibers which are responsible for explosive power movements like jumps. Next we will talk about strength and conditioning training consisted of lower body exercises to jump higher such as squats, lunges and deadlifts.

We will explore plyometric exercises that can improve your explosive power. These exercises include box jumps, depth jumps, and hurdle hops.

Technique is vital to improving your jump height. In the next section, we will discuss proper form for jumping including arm swing, knee bend, and foot placement.

We will also provide drills to improve technique such as jumping rope or practicing on a trampoline. We will talk about the role of nutrition in improving your jump height.

Proper nutrition helps with muscle growth and recovery so you can achieve better performance in your workouts while also ensuring that your body is getting enough fuel to power through those intense exercise sessions. By following these proven , you will be well on your way to improve vertical jump and reaching new heights in sports and fitness overall.

But before we move forward, please, TEST YOUR VERTICAL JUMP first and record the result (see an image below):

Vertical jump workout and vertical training
Vertical jump training and testing at NFL Texas team.

Understanding the Science Behind Vertical Jump Workout

The Role of Muscles in Jumping

Vertical jumping requires a coordinated effort of several muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hips, and calves. The primary muscles responsible for vertical jump are the lower body muscles.

These muscles work together to generate force and lift your body off the ground. The key muscle involved in vertical jump is the quadriceps, which is made up of four muscles located in the front of your thigh.

These muscles are responsible for extending your knee joint and generating force to lift your body up during a jump. The hamstrings located at the back of your thighs play a crucial role in decelerating or slowing down your leg during the downward phase of a jump.

Discussion on How to Train Fast-Twitch Muscle Fibers for Explosive Jumps

Fast-twitch muscle fibers are responsible for generating explosive power and speed. They contract much faster than slow-twitch fibers but fatigue quicker as well. Training these fast-twitch fibers are crucial exercises to increase vertical jump.

One way to train fast-twitch muscle fibers is through plyometric exercises that involve quick explosive movements such as box jumps, depth jumps, or hurdle hops. This is fundamental agility training for athletes help improve motor unit recruitment and neuromuscular coordination leading to increased explosiveness.

Strength training also plays an important role in increasing explosive power by developing strength and power in specific muscle groups required for jumping. Exercises such as squats and deadlifts can help build overall strength while focusing on single-leg squats can help target key muscle groups required for jumping.

Importance of Flexibility and Mobility in Improving Vertical Jump

Flexibility and mobility play an important role in preventing injuries while improving range of motion required for jumping movements. Poor flexibility can lead to restricted movement patterns leading to decreased jumping height.

Incorporating dynamic stretching exercises before jumping can help improve flexibility and range of motion. Dynamic stretches such as leg swings or walking lunges help warm up the muscles and joints while improving mobility.

Foam rolling is another effective technique to improve flexibility by breaking up muscle knots and releasing tension in tight muscles. This can be done before or after training sessions to reduce muscle soreness and increase range of motion. Flexibility specifically matters to those athletes that play volleyball and seek to understand how to increase your vertical jump for volleyball.

Building a Strong Foundation

Make corrections to Your Jumping Mechanics for Immediate Improvement

Imagine adding several inches to your vertical leap instantly, and without performing a single exercise.
While many athletes first turn to plyometrics or strength training to enhance their power and explosiveness, there’s a quicker and simpler method to boost your vertical jump: refining your jumping mechanics.
You don’t have to be an awe-inspiring athlete to realize these benefits.
Immediately apply these 3 tactical adjustments to your form and implement into workouts to increase vertical jump. 

Tip #1: Maintain a Stable Hip Alignment
The influence of hip positioning on your vertical leap is commonly overlooked by athletes.
Harnessing the power of your hips with the correct technique can offer an immediate increase to your vertical.
It’s common to see players excessively bending at the waist when they prepare for a jump.
This inefficient movement pattern diverts energy that could propel them upwards, forcing it to move them forwards instead...
Consequently, this restricts their vertical potential.
Observing top slam-dunk moments will reveal that elite dunkers keep their hips and core engaged with minimal forward bending.
By maintaining strength in your hips and core, your energy translates more effectively.
This conversion means a greater portion of your lower body strength contributes to elevating your vertical leap.

Tip #2: Build Momentum into Your Leap
Many athletes inadvertently compromise their vertical by decelerating just before they jump, such as:
Slowing down to collect their energy
Hesitating with steps to secure their position
Approaching at an angle that necessitates a pivot prior to the jump
Any slowing of your movement before the jump dissipates your momentum, lessening the force you can produce.
Instead, strive to gain speed as you converge on your jumping spot.
The objective is to reach your "Maximum Controlled Velocity" right before the initiating step of your jump, which I’ll explain shortly.
(Your "Maximum Controlled Velocity" is the fastest speed at which you can run while maintaining full control of your body.)

Tip #3: Master the Penultimate Step before the Vertical Jump
The penultimate step is a critical focus in track and field but is an underutilized tactic by basketball players to amplify their vertical jump.
Every outstanding jumper incorporates a refined penultimate step in their jumping technique, and fine-tuning this element can notably enhance your ability to leap.
What exactly is the penultimate step?
It is the step taken immediately before the last one in your jump sequence.
As you near your jump point, elongate your stride for the penultimate step, then follow it with a shorter step before takeoff.
Your penultimate step brings down your center of gravity...
And the shorter final step propels you upwards.
Optimizing this sequence allows you to fully leverage your forward momentum to achieve maximal elevation.

Strengthening Lower Body Muscles

Workouts to increase vertical jump consist of, first of all, squats, lunges, and deadlifts that are essential for strengthening the glutes, hamstrings, and quads. Performing these exercises with weights will help increase muscle mass and explosive power.

It is important to start with lighter weights and gradually increase the weight over time to avoid injury. Squats are a great exercise for building overall leg strength.

They work all the major muscle groups in your legs including the quads, hamstrings, calves, and glutes. Proper form is crucial when performing squats to avoid injury.

Make sure your feet are shoulder-width apart, your back is straight, and your knees stay behind your toes. Lunges also work several muscle groups in the legs including the quads, hamstrings, and glutes.

This exercise can be performed with or without weights depending on your fitness level. To perform a lunge correctly step forward with one foot until both knees reach a 90-degree angle then push back up through your front heel.

Incorporating Plyometric Exercises to Increase Vertical Jump

Plyometric exercises refer to explosive movements that involve jumping or hopping. These exercises help to jump higher as they improve explosive power. Box jumps are one of the most effective plyometric exercises because they require you to explosively jump onto a box or platform.

Depth jumps are another plyometric exercise that involves jumping off of an elevated platform then immediately jumping up as high as possible after landing on the ground. This exercise helps improve explosive power by forcing you to use elastic energy stored in your muscles during landing for an explosive takeoff. Those are of particular importance to the athletes that wonder how to jump higher in volleyball.

Hurdle hops require you to hop over several hurdles placed at different heights. This exercise helps improve coordination, balance, and explosive power by forcing you to jump high while maintaining your speed and rhythm.

Importance of Core Strength for Vertical Jump Training

Having a strong core is essential for improving balance and stability during jumps. Exercises such as planks, crunches, and Russian twists are great for developing a strong core. Planks are one of the best exercises for developing core strength because they work all the major muscle groups in the abs, back, and hips.

There are several variations of crunches that can target different areas of the abdominal muscles.Russian twists involve rotating your torso while holding a weight or medicine ball. This exercise helps improve rotational power which is important for maintaining balance and stability during jumps. Building a strong foundation through a popper workout plan is critical if you want to increase your vertical jump height. 

how to jump higher
Improve your vertical jump by adding relevant exercises to the training routine. Image source: Strength System.

Improving Technique

Proper technique is crucial when it comes to increasing your vertical jump. Correct form will help you generate maximum power and height, while incorrect form can lead to wasted energy and even injury. When it comes to jumping technique, there are three key elements that you need to focus on: arm swing, knee bend, and foot placement.

The Importance of Arm Swing

Your arm swing is an important aspect of your jumping technique because it helps you generate upward momentum. As you prepare to jump, swing your arms behind you for momentum and then forcefully bring them up and forward as you jump. This will help you generate more power and height.

The Role of Knee Bend

Your knees also play a crucial role in jumping technique. As you prepare to jump, slightly bend your knees and then forcefully extend them as you jump upward. Your knees act like springs – the more force they can generate, the higher you'll be able to jump.

Proper Foot Placement

Your foot placement is also important for maximizing your jumping potential. Make sure that your feet are shoulder-width apart with toes pointed straight ahead. As you prepare to jump, make sure that both feet leave the ground at the same time for maximum power.

Drills for Improving Technique

Want to know how to improve vertical jump? The answer is -  incorporating drills into your training routine can be incredibly helpful. Here are a few drills that can help:

Jumping Rope

Jumping rope may seem like a basic exercise, but it's actually a great way to improve jumping form by teaching proper arm swing timing and coordination with lower body movements.

Practice on a Trampoline

Practicing on a trampoline is another effective way to improve your jumping technique. The trampoline helps you get a feel for the proper arm swing and knee bend, while also allowing you to focus on generating maximum height and power. Thus, do not hesitate to add it to your vertical jump training.

The Power of Visualization

Visualization is a powerful tool that can help you increase your vertical jump technique without even lifting a weight. If you think this is a joke, go read an interview of Michael Phelps, and you will shut your gob up for good, I promise. The idea behind visualization is to create detailed mental images of yourself executing perfect jumps with optimal form.

By regularly practicing visualization, you'll be able to ingrain correct jumping form into your muscle memory, making it easier to execute when it comes time to perform in real life. To use visualization effectively, set aside some quiet time each day where you can clear your mind and imagine yourself executing perfect jumps with proper form.

Focus on every detail – from the arm swing and knee bend to the takeoff and landing. As you practice, try to incorporate all of your senses into your visualizations – imagine how it feels, sounds, smells, and looks when executing perfect jumps.

It is not only about “how to improve vertical jump” but as much as what it takes? And usually, proper training requires more than just raw strength – it needs sound technique as well. By focusing on improving arm swing, knee bend, foot placement as well as incorporating drills like jumping rope or practicing on a trampoline along with regular visualization exercises into your training routine will help you become an adept jumper in no time!

Name Description / Video

Squats work the muscles in your legs, including your quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes. Not only do squats help you build raw leg strength, but they also improve your overall explosive power.

Squat Jumps

Start in a squat position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Explosively jump up, extending your legs fully, and land softly back in a squat position.

Box Jumps

Stand facing a sturdy volleyball jump box or bench. Jump onto the box, landing softly, then jump back down and repeat.

Depth Jumps

To perform depth jumps properly: 1) Start by standing on top of a sturdy platform or bench

2) Quickly step off the platform and drop into a quarter squat position as soon as your feet hit the ground 3) Immediately jump upward with maximum effort, aiming to jump as high as possible

Single-Leg Bounds

Standing on one foot, jump as far forward as you can, landing on the opposite foot. Repeat on the other side.

Calf Raises: Increase Ankle Flexibility for Better Jumping Mechanics

The calf muscles play a key role in jumping, providing the initial push off the ground.

 By performing this exercise regularly, you can increase ankle flexibility and range of motion. This allows for better control during takeoff and landing phases of a jump.

Bulgarian Split Squats

Stand with one foot on a bench or elevated surface behind you, and the other foot in front of you. Lower your back knee down towards the ground, then push up through your front foot to stand.

Jump Rope

To perform jump rope exercises, start by purchasing a quality jump rope that fits your height appropriately.

From there, begin by practicing basic single jumps before moving on to more advanced techniques like double-unders or crossovers.



Lunges are another great exercise for building leg strength and improving overall balance and stability. Lunges work a variety of muscle groups in the legs, including the hamstrings, glutes, and calves.

One of the great things about lunges is that there are a variety of different variations that you can try out depending on what areas of your legs you want to focus on. 


Once again form is incredibly important when doing deadlifts as doing them wrong can lead to serious back injury. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, grip the bar with an overhand grip, keep your back straight and lift using your legs.

Hip Flexor Stretches

Hip flexors are often forgotten when it comes to how to improve vertical jump but they are just as important as other muscles in the legs. Tight hip flexors can negatively impact overall range of motion leading to reduced power output during jumps. So it is essential to stretch them regularly to avoid any limitations when it comes time to perform.

Remember to warm up properly before attempting any of these exercises, and start with lower intensity versions before gradually increasing the difficulty. Additionally, consult with a qualified trainer or coach to ensure proper form and technique.

How to increase vertical jump with nutrition

While it's essential to work hard in the gym if you want to improve your vertical jump be it during the basketball or volleyball jump training, the athlete diet plan is equally important . Adequate protein is essential for building and repairing muscle tissue, while carbohydrates provide energy for workouts and help replenish glycogen stores post-workout.

Fats are also crucial, as they aid in hormone production and regulate inflammation levels in the body. In addition to macronutrients, there are certain micronutrients that play a vital role in muscle growth and recovery.

For example, magnesium is critical for muscle function and can help reduce soreness after exercise. Vitamin D is also important, as it aids in calcium absorption and helps maintain bone health.

Focus on consuming whole foods that are rich in nutrients rather than processed or junk foods. Lean protein sources such as chicken breast, turkey breast, fish like salmon or tuna contain amino acids that support muscle growth and recovery. Complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes, brown rice or quinoa provide longer lasting energy which will help you train harder.

Dark green vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that assist with overall health but also have anti-inflammatory properties to reduce soreness. In addition to these staple food choices be sure not forget about micronutrients rich foods such as leafy greens like spinach which provides iron for blood oxygenation but also calcium needed along with vitamin D to build strong bones.


Improving your vertical jump takes time, effort, dedication – but good nutrition can make all the difference. By focusing on consuming nutrient-dense whole foods such as lean protein sources , complex carbs & dark green vegetables you will have optimized energy intake & maximize the impact of your workouts.

Additionally, staying hydrated throughout your day is important, particularly during exercise which helps maintain healthy muscle function. With the right nutrition plan and consistent effort in training, you can increase your vertical jump and take your athletic performance to new heights.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: How often should I train to increase my vertical jump?

A: The frequency of your training will depend on your current fitness level and training goals. However, most experts recommend training at least two to three times per week for optimal results.

Q: How long does it take to increase vertical jump?

A: The amount of time it takes to increase your vertical jump will depend on a variety of factors, including your starting fitness level, the intensity of your training, and your genetics. However, most people can expect to see significant improvements within a few months of consistent training.

Q: Are there any risks associated with training to increase vertical jump?

A: Like any form of exercise, there are risks associated with training to increase vertical jump, including the risk of injury. It is important to start with a proper warm-up and to use proper form during exercises to reduce the risk of injury. It is also important to listen to your body and rest when necessary.

Q: Are there any supplements that can help increase vertical jump?

A: While some supplements may claim to improve vertical jump, there is limited scientific evidence to support their use. Some supplements that may be beneficial for improving athletic performance include creatine, caffeine, and beta-alanine. However, it is important to consult with a healthcare professional before taking any supplements.

Q: How to increase vertical jump at home?

A: You can practice the above-mentioned exercises to increase vertical jump at home. You usually do not need additional equipment. 

Bibliography (for further reading and research):

  1. McGuigan, M. R., Wilson, B. D., & Wilson, J. M. (2012). Physiological and performance responses to a basketball game simulation protocol in male collegiate athletes. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 26(2), 471-477.
  2. Saez de Villarreal, E., Requena, B., & Newton, R. U. (2010). Does plyometric training improve vertical jump height? A meta-analytical review. British journal of sports medicine, 44(5), 341-345.