A Few Exercises That Professional Basketball Players Do to Gain Height in Their Jumps
Perhaps the hottest form of training to help professional and other serious basketball players increase their vertical leap is the exercise science of pylometrics, which is sometimes described as bridging the gap between strength and speed. Pylometrics is a distinct method of training for powerful explosiveness, using rapid muscular contraction. Such training exercises can be found in a number of places, including "The Jump Manual," an e-book by Jacob Hiller, who has trained many professional and college basketball players to increase their vertical leaps to over 40 inches.
Holding two dumbbells at your sides, squat slowly until your knees are flexed but not quite to right angles. Jump explosively without locking your knees. Do two sets of eight repetitions and increase to four sets of eight repetitions over an eight-week period.
Stand with one foot slightly in front of the other. Take three strides in a quick-quicker-quickest rhythm. As your foot hits the ground on the third stride, explode vertically using your arms for extra leverage. Repeat starting with the other leg. This is one repetition. Do 10 repetitions.
This is an advanced exercise. It is not for beginners and should not be done by youngsters under 16. Stand on a sturdy box or bench about 12 inches high. Step off with your torso upright and land on both feet. As you land, jump up as quickly as you can, minimizing contact with the ground, and use your arms to mimic a jump shot. Repeat for 10 jumps. Gradually increase the box or bench to 20 inches high.
A combination of pylometrics and weight training seems to be the best combination for increasing your vertical leap. By using one muscle group to its full capacity for a short period of time, as pylometrics does, you should see gradual progress in your leaping ability. Because pylometrics is a sophisticated method of exercise, you might want to seek out a professional trainer who has worked with basketball players. A proper warm-up, such as jumping rope for a few minutes and stretching, is essential before starting pylometric exercises.
Jim Thomas has been a freelance writer since 1978. He wrote a book about professional golfers and has written magazine articles about sports, politics, legal issues, travel and business for national and Northwest publications. He received a Juris Doctor from Duke Law School and a Bachelor of Science in political science from Whitman College.