When it comes to sports, there are several universal skills that pretty much stand out. Some of these include speed, agility, quickness and good hand-eye coordination. But there is another ability that is equally important, especially in sports like basketball, football and volleyball, and that is vertical leap. Increasing your vertical leaping ability can escalate you from a decent player to an exceptional player. The fastest way to do this is by following some key steps that involve a few tools and some hard work.
Wear extra weight. Add weight to your body and wear it all day long. This will fool your body into thinking that you are heavier than you, and when you take it off, you will be able to leap higher. Some examples of added resistance include weighted vests, hyper gravity weight belts and ankle weights.
Work your calf muscles. The calf muscles are sometimes overlooked when it comes to vertical leap, yet they are of utmost importance. They are responsible for the final drive force when you are leaping. To strengthen them, get a pair of jumpsoles (shoes elevated at the toes) and wear them while you are training or just walking around during the day.
Do some resisted plyometrics. Plyometrics are exercises that involve short, fast muscle contractions followed by explosive movements. Perform these exercises while wearing your added resistance to increase the effect. Some examples of exercises are jump squats, box jumps, butt kicks, leaping lunges, stair hops, bounding and power skips.
Strengthen the core. When it comes to jumping, a lot of the power needed is generated from the core. This includes the upper and lower abs, the obliques which are on the sides of the ribcage, and the lower back muscles. To strengthen these areas, perform jackknifes, leg lifts, side crunches, medicine ball throws and back extensions.
Stretch it out. If your muscles are tight, then you are not going to be able to extend completely, which will impact your leaping ability. To create more flexibility, stretch all the muscles of the body with a specific focus on the quads, glutes, hamstrings and calves. To get a full-body stretch workout, attend yoga classes.
Do not wear your jumpsoles when you are doing plyometric training that involves jumping and landing on objects such as stairs, boxes and benches. But you can use them if you are running for cardiovascular training.
If you experience any pain in your knees while wearing the ankle weights, take them off and just use the upper-body resistance.