Increase Your Vertical

One of the questions most often asked by younger, growing players is, “How can I increase my vertical?” I’ll be honest, the only people who increase their verticals are the ones who spend time jumping and training to strengthen the muscles in their legs.

Jumping straight up requires explosion in your hips, quads, hamstrings and calves. And surprisingly, studies suggest that 10 per cent of your overall vertical is in your arm swing.

What you need to do to increase your vertical is not only strengthen the muscles that help you jump, you need to train them to explode when you want. This will catapult you to greater heights and get you closer to the rim.

There are several different ways you can improve your vertical, but none of them have to do with special shoes, overnight programs or springs. All of it has to do with training your body to jump higher. There is no substitute for working and training to get your body to do what you want it to do – and that is jump higher.

You can increase your vertical by giving your muscles the capacity to deliver more explosion, and therefore more height. You need to train your muscles to deliver that explosion by doing low impact, but quick strength exercises.

  • Here are some exercises you can do to help you increase your vertical:

    One exercise you can do is the toe lift. Stand on stair with just the balls of your feet, near your toes. This exercise will work on the calves and the hamstrings, but it will provide the explosive power to your calves. When standing on the stair lift your body in short bursts, like mini-explosions. Do this 10 times and then rest. Do it 10 times again. You should only do this twice or three times a week. You don’t want to over do it, or you will make your muscles tired and they could get injured.
  • Another you can do is to simply stand and jump. This one might show you the best overall results with the other exercise you are doing to show you how far you have come in increasing your vertical. Just stand in one spot – don’t take any steps – just stand and jump as high as you can. Once you reach the ground again jump immediately. Again try to get as high as you can. Do this 10 to 15 times, rest for a couple of minutes and do it again.
  • One exercise that will not only help your vertical, but your hand-eye coordination as well. Just stand below the backboard of the hoop and do small jumps up and push the basketball against the backboard. Each time you push the ball, you jump up and grab it in the air. This would also be a great cardio exercise for conditioning.
  • Bounding is something many athletes do in order to condition their muscles to explode when they are called upon. Each time you take a stride, bound, or explode with each stride. This will build the explosion you need for a higher vertical.

Reaching greater heights with your vertical is an elusive goal that will come in time with a commitment to training and strengthening the muscles in your legs. Just like all of the other aspects of basketball, whether it is dribbling, shooting or passing, you need to practice jumping as well if you want to become better.

You can find all sorts of training programs specific to increasing your vertical either on the Internet or in the library. Try asking your physical education teacher or your coach. They may have a few tips for you as well.

Happy jumping!