5 Best Exercises to Increase Your Vertical Jump & Power

Schimri Yoyo
Published by Schimri Yoyo | Contributor
Last updated: November 24, 2023
Our content is meticulously researched and reviewed by an expert team of fact checkers and medical professionals. They ensure accuracy, relevance, and timeliness using the latest reputable sources, which are cited within the text and listed at the end of the article. Before publication and upon significant updates, we confirm factual accuracy, committed to providing readers with well-informed content. Learn more.

Impressive vertical jumps create high impacts on sports like basketball, and soccer, among others. The power of high jumps lies in the power of the lower body. Is your vertical jump quite low at the moment?

Worry not, we are going to discuss five exercises that will give you the desired vertical jump, making you able to dunk like an NBA superstar. Furthermore, these routines have been tried put different athletes. Apart from improved vertical jumps, you will enhance your fitness level, stability, and speed.

I also advise my clients to combine it with high-quality pre-workout supplements for maximum benefits.

Let us dive into it how to improve your jump heights within a reasonable time.

Quick Summary

  • To increase your vertical jump and power, consider stretching, plyometrics, squats, sprinting, and Bulgarian split squad exercise routines.
  • Stretching before vertical jump training keeps your muscles malleable, loose, and less susceptible to injury.
  • Plyometrics exercises emphasize Speed, power, and quickness, which are vital if you want to jump higher.
  • Squats work on the lower body, which generates the required power to increase your vertical jump.

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.

cIf you compare your pre-streth 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.

Also Read: Lying Hip Flexor Stretches


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 workout (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 bounds or 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

Also Read:

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.


  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/
Was this article helpful?

About The Author

You May Also Like

A person at the gym working out with box jumps
By Christiana Mikesch, CPT 9 days ago
4 Box Jump Benefits & Why They're Amazing
A person doing mobility exercises outside
By Christiana Mikesch, CPT 14 days ago
5 Best Mobility Exercises to Increase Your Range of Motion
Your guide to testosterone and eating garlic
By James Cunningham, BSc, CPT 2 days ago
Does Garlic Increase Testosterone Levels? (Science-Based) 

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *