The higher you can jump in sports such as basketball, volleyball, soccer and track and field, the greater advantage you will have over your competitors. Having strength helps, but jumping high also requires power, force and explosiveness. Developing and increasing your vertical takes time. Still, you can maximize your efforts with a training program that includes lower body and core strengthening exercises combined with plyometrics.
Warm up with cardiovascular exercise that activates your leg muscles for approximately 10 minutes. Include activities such as jogging, jumping rope, single-leg hops or skipping.
Strengthen your jumping muscles, which are the glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves, with complex lower body exercises. Examples are barbell squats, barbell lunges, barbell deadlifts and dumbbell step-ups. Choose resistance levels that allow you to complete at least eight but not more than 12 repetitions with proper form.
Incorporate a variety of planks into your training sessions; planks help to improve your core strength and enhance power and stability when jumping. Place your body in a plank position, which is the same as top of a pushup, and lift your right leg above the floor to hip height; hold for 30 seconds. Advance to a more difficult version by lifting an alternate arm and leg off of the floor at the same time, such as the right leg and left arm. Alternatively, increase the challenge by resting your shins on a stability ball.
Perform squat jumps to increase your vertical leap. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Engage your abdominal muscles, elongate your back and lean your torso slightly forward. Bend your elbows to 90 degrees and tuck them in close to your torso. Bend your knees and hinge your hips back to lower into a squat position; explode upwards as soon as your thighs are parallel to the ground. Swing your arms up toward the ceiling as your body explodes out of the squat. Land on both feet with bent knees; progress to the next squat jump immediately. Aim for five to 10 jumps.
Advance to box jumps once you are able to perform three 10-repetition sets of jump squats. Stand facing a workout step, box or bench. Start with a bench that is 12 to 24 inches tall; progress to higher surfaces as you become stronger. Position your feet to be shoulder-width apart. Engage your core, lean slightly forward with your torso and maintain a straight back. Lower into a squat and explode upward, jumping onto the step, box or bench. Step back down onto the floor and repeat; aim for five to 10 repetitions.
Perform lower body and core exercises two to three days per week. Aim for two to three exercises per muscle group and three sets per exercise.
Consult with a physician before starting a new fitness program. Inform your doctor if you have any injuries in your lower back, legs or glutes.