How to Increase Vertical Leap at Home
If you'd like to improve your jumping ability for basketball, volleyball, football, tennis or other activities, there is a variety of exercises and workouts you can perform in the privacy of your own home. While gyms and fitness centers offer machines and selections of weights that can help you build muscle and train it for jumping, you can perform the fundamental exercises you need to improve leg strength and leaping ability without them.
Measure your current vertical leap. Hold a piece of chalk in one hand, stand next to a wall, than jump as high as you can and make a mark on the wall at the peak of your jump. This will help you measure improvement as you work on your leap. Measure your jump from a standing position, as well after you take one or two steps, similar to the sport for which you're training.
Perform limit strength exercise to build muscles — squats, lunges, deadlifts and calf raises, using dumbbells, kettlebells, resistance bands, barbells or your body's weight. Lower yourself with your legs about shoulder width, keeping your torso straight, then straighten up to perform squats. Vary this exercise by taking a step forward or forward and to one side to perform lunges. If you don't have weights or resistance bands, you can hold home-made weights such as plastic milk cartons filled with water.
Perform explosive strength exercises, during which you move in one direction. Stand in front of a box or other stable object about knee height or lower. Jump from a standing position onto the box with both feet. Sit on a box or bench with weights on your shoulders and stand up to perform box squats. Experiment without weights to learn the correct seated position so you don't hurt your back. Stand behind a box or bench, knee height or lower, and put one foot on the bench. Use your raised leg to push you straight up into the air. Perform six to eight repetitions of these exercises.
Perform reactive strength exercises, which require down-and-up leg movements. Stand on a box or bench, jump off, and as soon as your feet touch the floor, jump straight up into the air. Run up and down your driveway using giant steps. Take two forward steps, then jump as high as you can on your third step. Repeat this down the length of your driveway, or across your basement or workout room. Change the drill to start on the opposite foot, jumping on the opposite leg. Perform high-knee skipping down the length of your driveway and back, bounding as high as you can each time.
Measure your vertical leap each week to see how you are improving.
Don't engage in static stretching — when you stretch and hold — less than 30 minutes before jumping. Researchers, including those at Wichita State University, have shown that this type of stretching temporarily decreases muscle power and vertical leap.
- Bodybuilding.com: The Best Exercises for Developing Speed & Vertical Jump
- Wichita State University: Static vs. Dynamic Stretching on Vertical Jump and Standing Long Jump
- Bodybuilding.com: Explosive Strength
- Vertical Jump Training: Understanding Plyometric Training Exercises To Improve Vertical Jump
Sam Ashe-Edmunds has been writing and lecturing for decades. He has worked in the corporate and nonprofit arenas as a C-Suite executive, serving on several nonprofit boards. He is an internationally traveled sport science writer and lecturer. He has been published in print publications such as Entrepreneur, Tennis, SI for Kids, Chicago Tribune, Sacramento Bee, and on websites such Smart-Healthy-Living.net, SmartyCents and Youthletic. Edmunds has a bachelor's degree in journalism.