How to Increase Flexibility for a Vertical Jump
Whether you want to increase your vertical jump in order to dunk a basketball or simply as a personal mission, flexibility is a key component. According to trainer Alan Stein in an interview with ESPN Rise, you need to increase the flexibility of your Achilles tendon, calves, hamstrings and hip flexors to help increase your potential to produce power. The greater your power output, the greater your ability to jump. Incorporating stretching exercises into your workout routine will increase your flexibility and, in turn, your vertical jump.
Perform a hamstring stretch. Stand with your legs slightly apart with the heel of your right foot 2 to 3 inches ahead of your left foot. Take a deep breath. As you exhale, bend at the waist and push your nose toward your right shin without rounding your back. Continue down until you feel a stretch in the back of your right thigh. Hold for at least 30 seconds and repeat the movement with your left leg.
Perform a calf stretch, which will also stretch your Achilles tendon. Begin face-down on the floor supporting your weight on your hands and the balls of your feet, with your butt pushed up in the air. Take a deep breath. As you exhale, transfer your weight onto your right foot and gently press your right heel into the floor until you feel a stretch in your calf and tendon. Hold for at least 30 seconds before relaxing. Repeat the movement with your left leg.
Perform a hip flexor stretch. Place a folded towel on the floor. Get into a lunging position with your left leg forward and your right leg back. Lower your right knee all the way to the ground, resting it on the folded towel for cushioning. Keeping your torso erect at the waist, gently transfer more weight onto your left leg. Push into your left leg until you feel a stretch in the front of your right hip and thigh. Hold the stretch for at least 30 seconds and repeat with your left leg.
Complete two to three sets of each exercise. Perform the flexibility exercises at least three times a week.
To avoid muscle soreness and injury, never bounce or force a stretch.
Jen Weir writes for several websites, specializing in the health and fitness field. She holds a Bachelor of Science in exercise science from Montana State University, is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist and maintains a personal trainer certification from the American College of Sports Medicine.