Long before Zion Williamson was a freshman phenom at Duke University, he obtained the vaunted status of social media sensation and prep school celebrity thanks in large part to his cornucopia of breathtaking slam dunks.

And two decades before Zion Williamson became the most talked about dunker in the land, Vincent Lamar Carter, an alumnus of Duke archrival UNC, was the one who was rendering jaws agape with his preternatural high jumping ability.

The common thread between both Williamson and Carter, besides their Tobacco Row basketball ties, is the sheer power and athleticism of their vertical leaps. Both hardwood stars exhibit explosive elevation which they exercise to electrify the elated spectators.

So, do you want to know how to make your jumps higher?

An impressive high vertical jump is a sight to behold but is also not a feat beyond your reach.

You too can improve your vertical jumps and leaping ability. By incorporating the proper exercises and the proper techniques, you will be able to add 6 to 15 inches to your vertical jump.

While I cannot promise you that you will ever possess the same above-the-rim creativity and body control that have made Vince Carter and Zion Williamson slam dunk champions, I can help you put together a game plan that will give a considerable boost to your vertical jump like a pro basketball player.

You may not win any dunk contests, but if you follow my advice, you will improve your vertical jump over time.

And as Zion Williamson’s 2.2 million Instagram followers can testify: Verticality equals visibility.

One great vertical leap requires strength, flexibility, speed, and agility in many sports like basketball, for one. The following five exercises will help you to improve in all these areas of athleticism:

5 Exercises to Increase Vertical Jump

1. Stretching

In order for an athlete to reach peak performance, they need to prepare certain muscle groups to be pliable and primed to compete.

This requires having a regular routine of stretching that will keep your muscles loose, malleable, and less susceptible to injury.

Muscle knots or “trigger points” can appear in various parts of your body and they can restrict the length of your muscle tissue. Due to this obstruction, the muscle tissue is vulnerable to becoming weak and short.

A foam roller is one solution that can be used to provide relief to a cluster of knotty muscles as can be seen in the video above.

Apply the foam roller deliberately over the affected areas to alleviate spasms. Press the roller along your outer thigh to elongate the muscle fibers. Also, make sure to massage and stretch out calves, quads, IT band, and other lower extremities.

When using a foam roller, form is the key. You need to be in the correct starting position to get the best elongation possible. With better muscle elongation and strength, you'll be able to get high off the ground for your jumps.

Here are a few quick drills you can do with a foam roller:

  • Calves: Put the roller under your calf and rest your other foot on the floor (or cross it over the top of your shin for more pressure). Roll from your ankle to your knee.
  • IT Band: Lie on your side with the roller near your hip and rest your other foot on the floor. Move the roller along your outer thigh. Add more pressure pressure by stacking your legs on top of one another.
  • Quads: Lie on your stomach with the roller placed under the front of your thigh. Roll up and down from the bottom of your hip to the top of your knee.

If you’re like most people, you have tight hip flexors because of the way our hips naturally bend and due to all the stationary and sedentary activity we partake in majority of the time.

Because of this, you aren’t able to get the full hip extension that inhibits the prospects of your vertical jumping power.

The remedy is simple.

You need to strengthen your hip flexors by stretching them out for 30 seconds, 2 reps on each side, for a total of 60 seconds stretch. Afterward, attempt to jump as high as possible. For better results, try to jump higher each time.

If you compare your pre-stretch leap to your post-stretch vertical leap, you should notice a substantial improvement on your vertical jump. Stretching works to strengthening and improving your explosive power, too.

A flexible hip flexor allows for more power storage and explosiveness in your core areas, thus results to higher jumps.

2. Plyometrics

Plyometrics are exercises that emphasize explosiveness and are designed for speed, quickness, and power. When it comes to plyometrics, think of Olympic lifts or depth jumps that require fast and powerful movement.

Most exercises include various stages jumping and bounding in which the muscles exert maximal effort and force in short bursts or intervals of time, a depth jump being one common example. A depth jump requires a good amount of ground lift-off for a stable and powerful landing.

The goal is to move from the eccentric (vertical jump) to the concentric (land) phase of a movement rapidly while using proper biomechanics and technique, as can be seen in the video below. Plyometrics should be able to effectively improve the height of your jumps.

In a study published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, research scientist Goran Markovich states that, “The overall results of this study suggest that the [plyometric] significantly improves vertical jump height.” [1]

That improvement is measured while jumping with the arms overhead in a five percent to 10 percent increase (or 2-3 inches) depending on the vertical jump training made.

Plyometric training could well be recommended for healthy individuals aiming to improve not only their vertical jumping ability but also other athletic performance.

- Goran Markovich, Research Scientist

At the outset of plyometrics, your body has a tendency to create more slow-twitch muscle fibers in response to the new training stimulus. However, plyometrics gradually increase the number of fast-twitch muscle fibers in a certain muscle group.

Be patient because the effects might take time and the improvement on your vertical jumps won’t be instantaneous.

Once you decide to decrease the volume of your vertical leap practice to fewer reps or decelerate after a couple of weeks, your improved vertical jump results will be more noticeable as more and more fibers will have transformed into fast-twitch.

In concert with this scientific support, these explosive exercises are often used to train an athlete or highly fit individuals in jumping and other power performances.

Because the sheer force required is high and the intense pressure they can exert on the lower-extremity joints (especially the knees), plyometrics are not recommended for novice exercisers without proper supervision or coaching.

All plyometric exercises require strong ligaments and tendons and therefore should be accompanied by a proven strength routine.

Athletes of all levels of workout experience can work their way up through a progression of plyometric exercises.

Here is a list of various drills you can try relative to your experience:

  • Beginner: Lateral hops, bunny hops (with or without a kettlebell), power skips, jump roping, jumping jacks
  • Intermediate: Standing broad jumps, squat jacks and jumps, low on-box jump, speed ladder (lateral and linear)
  • Advanced: Prone to box jump, knee tuck jump, depth drop, box drop crossover step, plyometric push-ups, plank walkouts, power cleans

3. Squats

Squats are crucial lower body exercises that forms the foundation and power of explosive jumping. Different variations of squats can either focus on building the quads or hamstrings. When executed properly, squats are effective to improve mobility and balance while also burning fat and calories.

However, if the proper form and techniques are not implemented, squats can become a major hazard to your back and to your knees. Make sure to keep your feet planted on the ground to keep the proper form while performing your squats.

Too many sports injuries are the results of weak stabilizer muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues, which squats help to strengthen. [2] They help prevent injury by increasing your flexibility (for one, squats improve the range of motion in your ankles and hips) and balance.[3]

Even if you're not an athlete, you'll be surprised how much you can achieve from a few reps of squatting in proper form.

The three squat variations that help the jumping athletes — think basketball players, volleyball players, and track and field stars — most are the back squats, box squats, and front squats.

A) Back Squats

B) Box Squats

C) Front Squats

Box squats are a great exercise that teaches athletes to explode upwards once they reach the box. This gives them the power they need when preparing to launch themselves when jumping.

4. Bulgarian Split Squat

Due to the high potential for injury by novice and experienced weight trainers alike when performing traditional back squat exercises with a dumbbell, many exercise professionals have begun to espouse the Bulgarian split squat, or known as a Rear foot elevated split squat, as an alternative strength-building workout to improve jumping power.

Mike Boyle, a strength and conditioning expert, says, “The back gets injured the most when squatting, so we train our legs for size and strength by bypassing the back.”

The Bulgarian split as can be seen in the video above is a subclass squatting exercise that incorporates more challenging joint movement.[4]

The body position during the Bulgarian version shifts your weight forward, increasing the range of motion and the degree of difficulty for balancing.

During this exercise, you will naturally shift more of your weight forward to the front leg. The quadriceps in your front leg serve as the primary movers, while your glutes and inner thigh muscles provide an assist.

The hamstrings and calf muscles act as stabilizers. These groups of muscles are the same ones that work during explosive jumps.

A 2014 article in the International Journal of Exercise Science concluded that the Bulgarian split squat produced similar activity and production as the back squat while putting the participants at far less risk of injury.

The bottom line is if you’re looking to increase your lower body strength as a means to improving your vertical jumping but aims to limit your risk of injury, the rear foot elevated split squat, aka the Bulgarian squat, is a worthy addition to your workout routine.

5. Sprinting

The same muscles that are sculpted and defined when molding a great leaper are the same ones developed by an elite sprinter.

Utilized properly, the short bursts of fierce sprints build strength and performance, springing into action multiple muscle groups simultaneously.[5]

A well-developed sprinting routine has the dual benefit of building cardiovascular endurance while refining your fast-twitch fibers at the same time, optimizing your explosiveness during jumps.

This routine should include ladder sprinting, which is running intervals of increasing distance (between 50 to 100 yards) and then retracing your steps and working your way back down.

Incorporating hill sprints is another thing to consider. The change in terrain and the increased inclines will provide a welcomed shock and stimuli to your lower body to help ward off any signs of muscle building plateau.

Finally, inject some form of downhill sprint exercises like in the video above into your program.

On the surface, downhill running may seem pretty simplistic. However, proper mechanics are crucial to downhill running so that you can avoid the common mistakes of braking on your heels and overstriding.

Downhill running includes eccentric muscle contractions, during which muscle fibers lengthen under tension, which can help increase muscle power and make you faster since eccentric contractions are our strongest type of contraction.

- Jason Karp, Physiologist

The increased power, speed, and agility gained from these sprinting exercises over time will also be instrumental in your journey to maximize your vertical jump.

Want To Jump Higher Like an NBA Superstar?

When it comes to great leapers, a select few like Zion Williamson and Vince Carter, are born with God-given ability to soar above the masses.

But the vast majority of great jumpers weren’t designated so at birth; rather, they honed their craft through hard work, proper jumping technique, and lots of repetition.

Just as a great writer or an elite actor must work continuously to perfect the art and science of their respective disciplines, ever aspiring to refine their abilities, those who would aspire to jump high, obtain elite verticality, and touch the rim of that hoop must consistently practice exercises designed to sharpen their athleticism.

If your aim is to improve vertical jump, take advantage of the five above exercises above and over time, you’ll surely rise to the occasion.

But if you’re looking for an expert program, we recommend Vert Shock's 3-step jump program. It features the same techniques that made basketball player Justin "Jus Fly" Darlington the world's best dunker. Darlington is able to touch the rim effortlessly in every dunk he makes.

For those who are serious in improving those vertical jumps and possibly making a good basketball dunking career out of them, then you should consider checking the program out.

You might not be able to jump as high as Darlington, but it may improve your vertical leap significantly as most of their students have achieved.

vert shock cta banner

References:

  1. Goran Markovic, Does plyometric training improve vertical jump height? A meta-analytical review, retrieved from https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/41/6/349 
  2.  U. Wisloff, C. Castagna, J. Helgerud, R. Jones, J. Hoff, Strong correlation of maximal squat strength with sprint performance and vertical jump height in elite soccer players, retrieved from https://bjsm.bmj.com/content/38/3/285.abstract
  3. 7 Benefits of Doing Squats and Variations to Try,  https://www.healthline.com/health/exercise-fitness/squats-benefits
  4. Bradley Deforest, Gregory Cantrell, Brian Schillng, Muscle Activity in Single vs. Double-Leg Squats, retrieved from https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1607&context=ijes
  5. Mackenzie Lobby, 5 Sprint Workouts that Burn Fat and Make You Faster, retrieved from https://www.menshealth.com/fitness/a19515870/quick-sprint-workouts/

About the author

  • Thanks Tracy for this timely content! It’s just that I noticed my girlfriend complaining a lot about the products she’d been using and so I recommended this product to her. Amazingly, weeks into using it, she’s happy and content with the results! Honestly, she’s making it sound like she’s sticking to this product now and this particular blog post has really helped me decide to take this home for her. She can’t wait to read your blog posts soon as I also told her to check out your page. Keep posting! More powers to your team!

  • As someone who’s just begun on her journey, I really find this article helpful as it has enlightened me so much about what this product is all about. This has been, by far, the most informative article about this product that I’ve come across the web. All my questions have been thoroughly answered in the FAQ section, so I am now confident with my decision to try this product. I’m excited and I can’t wait to show you all my progress. So wish me luck!

  • Hi! My name’s Breana and I’ve already spent hours looking up and learning about this product. I must say that all the information I need, it’s all in this article and I could only be thankful to you, Tracy, for sharing this to the world. Keep up the good work!

  • That’s another great article you got there, Tracy! Your blog posts have been helping me throughout my decisions. I have one question though. What can you suggest about taking this product while I have an ongoing medication? I’m looking forward to your response. Have a great day!

  • Hi, I just want to vent out a little bit. All my life I have been obese. There’s nowhere that I wouldn’t get bullied like somehow, I’ve come to that point in life where I’m used to dealing with such situations. That’s why I’m determined to lose some of my weight now. Don’t get me wrong but living like this has taken its toll on me physically, emotionally, and mentally. And I want to unburden myself. So, recently, I’ve been joining communities for people like me through social media. I’ve met a lot of people who share the same struggles as mine. We encourage one another to better ourselves. To tell you honestly, that has greatly improved my welfare. What inspires me more is that they ‘ve been pushing themselves to keep a healthy weight in a healthy way so seeing these ladies featured in your article reminds me of my friends. They motivate me to become better than who I was yesterday. I may sound desperate but I couldn’t wait anymore to see this product at my doorstep. For now, while waiting for the package, let me do some exercise. I’ll keep you posted guys. Thanks for listening!

  • I’m happy that I discovered this page! This article has uplifted my spirit today. No kidding! It’s just that some of the articles I saw were all ridiculous. Running over your blog, I have taken down most of your points so thank you, Tracy, for breaking down all my needed information in one article. This is such a great help! Love love love it

  • Hello everyone, I’m Sarah. Just so you know, my husband is not the talkative nor the expressive type. That’s why it came to me by surprise when he bought me this product! Ha ha I have never ever told him about my struggles with my weight. I don’t know how he had sensed it. It’s just funny and sweet at the same time. By the way, I’ve landed on your page because I want to learn more about this product before using it. I have just realized how my husband has put more time into researching this product well. Thanks for creating this content!

  • Glad I have found this page! I almost lost hope after scrolling through nonsense articles but this article is good news I’ve seen today. I am new to this journey like most of you here so I’m thankful that I came across this blog post. Everything is on point and I couldn’t wait to be featured also in one of your blogs soon! Fingers crossed on this one! He he

  • Hi ladies, I just want to ask. If you were in my girlfriend’s shoes, how would you feel if I buy you this product? Lately, she would jokingly tell me to buy her this product. It means she’s into it, right? Would she be happy if I buy her this? Wouldn’t she get offended? What do you think? I don’t want to ask her myself because I think it would be better if I surprise her. Thanks for your response!

  • With regards to my wellness and diet, I normally look up your blog posts in the web as reference. And oh my, my fingers couldn’t hold back to tap that “Click for Best Price”. It’s becoming more tempting every time I visit this particular link.