Reach New Heights: 7 Ways to Increase Your Vertical Leap
There are many sports in which a better vertical leap would be a valuable asset. Being able to dunk a basketball or grab more rebounds, being able to spike the ball or block shots in volleyball, making the catch or getting the interception in football are just a few examples. I’m sure you realize that improving your vertical leap can be very beneficial, but how do you go about doing it? Keep reading for 7 ways to increase your vertical leap.
1. Assess Your Current Vertical Leap
Before you start working on improving your leaping ability, it is important to know what your current ability is. To see how high you can currently jump, you may need to ask a friend for help. Find a vertical surface, like a pole or a wall, where you will be able to leave a mark with a pen or a piece of tape. From a standing position, jump into the air as high as you can and reach out with your hands over your head. Have your friend mark the highest point that you were able to reach. Now that you have a starting point, you will be able to monitor your improvement.
If you don’t have anyone to workout with and you would like to find a workout partner, you might want to check out the FindaTeamMate website. You’ll be able to find people in your area with similar goals and it might be easier or more enjoyable to workout with a partner.
2. Strengthen Your Quads
Your quadriceps are the largest muscles in your body and strong quadriceps will allow you to jump higher. A great way to strengthen your quads is to do squats. From a standing position, bend at the knees and lower your body as much as possible, then raise yourself back up. You can also perform single leg squats for a more challenging workout.
3. Strengthen Your Calves
Your quadriceps are the muscles that generate much of the power involved in jumping but your calves are very important as well. Your quads get the jump started but your toes are the last thing to leave the ground and it is your calves that can help propel you a bit further. A great way to work your calves is to simply start in a standing position and then raise yourself up to your tip toes. Lower yourself back down and repeat.
4. Train for Flexibility
Becoming more flexible will also help improve your vertical leaping ability. If all of the tendons, ligaments, and muscles in your legs are tight, you will not have the leverage it takes to generate the maximum amount of force you are capable of. To stretch your quads, start from a standing position. Keep one leg straight and bend the other leg at the knee, raising your heel behind you. Grab your ankle and pull back gently to get a good stretch.
To stretch your hamstrings you can simply sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Bend at the waist and try to touch your toes. To stretch your calves, stand on a step or a curb with the balls of your feet resting on the curb and your heels hanging over. Lower yourself down a little bit past parallel with the curb. In addition to these exercises, there are many others that can be used for stretching your legs and increasing flexibility.
5. Add Weights to Your Training
As your muscles get stronger, you may want to consider adding weights to increase the intensity of the workout. The exercises described above can be performed in exactly the same way while you hold on to dumbbells to increase the weight.
6. Eat a Proper Diet
If you could stand to lose a few pounds, shedding the extra weight will certainly make it easier to get off the ground. It doesn’t matter how strong your legs are or how explosive your movement is, your vertical leap will improve if you don’t have to thrust as much weight into the air. A proper diet is also important to give your muscles the nutrients they need to build more muscle and recover from strenuous workouts.
7. Practice Jumping
This final tip may sound obvious, after all if you want to get better at something, it makes sense that practicing it will lead to improvement. To practice your jumping, you don’t have to just stand in one place and jump up-and-down, there are some specific exercises you can do.
Jumping rope is a great way to get warmed up and work your muscles. You can also practice no arm hops. This exercise is jumping without using your arms so that all of the force is being generated from your legs and you are not benefiting from momentum built up by swinging your arms. Box jumps are another great exercise to help increase vertical leap. Stand on a box that is a couple of feet off the ground and make sure your balance is good. Jump off the box and as soon as your feet hit the ground, jump back onto the box as quickly as you can.
Nobody said that improving your vertical leap would be easy but if you put these tips into practice, you will definitely see an improvement. With the proper training, you may be able to add several inches to your vertical leap.