It doesn’t matter if you want to learn how to jump higher in order to powerfully spike a volleyball, slam dunk, or beat the defensive backs in the air to catch a pass, the things you need to know are still the same.
First, you must be flexible. If you are not flexible you will be unable to increase your vertical jump. However, you need more than just flexibility in your legs when it comes to jumping as high as you possibly can. Flexibility in your back and hips is also key to enable you to reach your goal without injuring yourself.
Secondly, you need explosiveness. The best way to acquire explosiveness is by practicing jumping. I’m not just talking about jumping up and down on the spot, but rather engaging in specific jumping exercises like plyometrics.
Thirdly, you need strength. Your muscles need to be powerful and strong to deliver the force and energy needed to jump high.
Finally, you will need the desire. Many people give up because they think that improving their vertical jump is too difficult to achieve. Therefore, they never reach their full potential. Don’t let this person be you.
How to Improve Flexibility & Explosiveness
As already mentioned, flexibility is one of the most important aspects of learning how to jump higher. Flexibility is able to increase both your quickness and strength and will thus increase your vertical jump. This is because it enables your muscles to fully contract providing you with more explosiveness.
There are a couple of ways to improve your flexibility, achieved through the use of dynamic and static stretching exercises.
Static stretching exercises consist of holding a specific position for approximately 10 seconds. An example might be a hang stretch where you bend over as much as you can, cross your feet and then hang like a rag doll.
Dynamic stretching exercises would mean performing a slow fluid movement as you stretch. Unlike static stretching, the end position is not held. An example might be climbing steep steps at a slow pace, arm circles, or exaggerating a kicking action.
For best results it is recommended to combine both dynamic and static stretching. It is also important to stretch before exercise to minimize the chances of injury, as well as after exercise as this is the time when your muscles are loose and warm – the perfect time to improve flexibility.
How to Perform Plyometrics
Plyometrics is a form of power training that results in a more forceful, explosive movement. The mechanics of plyometrics are simple. Quick, powerful, repetitive, and precise movements are needed to both lengthen and shorten the muscles used. An example would be to first get into the squatting position, and then with your arms raised, you would jump as high as you could. You would then return back to the squatting position and repeat the exercise.
Strength training is another important aspect of learning how to jump higher – your muscles need to be both strong and be able to contract quickly to achieve a high vertical jump.
The recommended weight to use should be enough to load down your muscles as this is what enables your muscles to become stronger. If you are only able to do about 8-10 reps, then you are probably using the correct weight. Between sets, you should allow 2-3 minutes rest to recover.
Make sure you don’t push yourself too hard and leave plenty of time for recovery between sessions. This is because recovery allows your muscles to heal and grow. The recommended amount of time for recovery is one day. However, if you are still sore, do not exercise the area until it has fully recovered. Work on another part of your body instead.
Diet also plays an important role when it comes to learning how to jump higher. Good carbohydrates and protein are a must to give your muscles the fuel to grow and your body the energy to perform.