How to Increase a Vertical Jump With Exercises Without Weights

Man playing basketball

Both men and women can significantly increase their vertical leap by participating in plyometric training. Jumping higher is particularly of interest to athletes, who will see performance improvements on the basketball court or in volleyball matches. Plyometrics are exercises that involve a short moment of muscle lengthening, followed by an immediate explosive concentric contraction. No weighted implements are required; the exercises use your own body weight as resistance.

Training Frequency, Intensity and Volume

Plyometric exercises are meant to be performed as explosively as possible. Because of their high intensity, it’s important that you allow your muscles enough rest between workouts and that you begin with low-volume workouts and progressively increase the number of repetitions in each session as you develop. Do plyometric workouts twice weekly with two days of rest between. As you start out, do one set of 10 to 12 repetitions of each exercise for the first few weeks. At the third or fourth week, incorporate a second set of each exercise. Warm up with five to 10 minutes of jump rope before beginning plyometric training.

Jump Squats

Set your feet so they’re slightly wider than hip-width apart with toes pointed straight ahead. Place your hands on the back of your head with your elbows flared out. Lower into a full squat by pushing your hips back and bending your knees. Once your thighs become parallel with the floor, explode up into a jump. Get as high as you can. Land softly, and immediately lower back into a squat to perform the next repetition.

Rim Jumps

Stand underneath a basketball rim with your feet set to hip-width apart. Bend your knees slightly, then explode up into a jump, reaching up toward the rim with your hands. It’s OK if you’re unable to reach the rim. Focus on jumping as high as you can. Land on the balls of your feet and immediately take off again.

Depth Jumps

You will need a box, bench or step to perform depth jumps. Depth jumps are extremely intense, so start out using a small step, then build up to a higher surface. Begin on top of the step, facing the edge. Step off the edge with one foot. Land on the ground with both feet and immediately explode up into a vertical jump. Step back up onto the step or box and set yourself before performing the next repetition.