How to Increase Your Vertical & Horizontal Jumping
Plyometrics is a type of athletic training that is known to increase the explosive power needed to jump vertically and horizontally. During a plyometrics exercise, the muscle is contracted eccentrically -- that is, stretched before it is contracted. This trains the major muscle groups to react powerfully and explosively, whether it's jumping vertically to make a slam dunk or jumping horizontally over hurdles at a track meet. Practice plyometrics that improve both vertical and horizontal jumping technique two to three times per week. Leave a day in between each training session for rest and recuperation.
Vertical Jump Plyometric
Stand up tall with a straight spine and core muscles engaged. Position your feet hip-width apart.
Bend your knees and sit back deeply until your thighs are parallel to the ground. Do not let your knees slide beyond your toes.
Jump up into the air explosively as soon as you hit the lowest point of your squat. As you jump, sweep your arms up above your head and straighten your legs. For an extra challenge, draw your knees into your chest.
Bend your knees and land lightly in a squatting position, driving your arms behind you. As soon as you reach the lowest point of your squat, explosively jump back up. Continue squatting and jumping for 12 to 15 repetitions, working your way up to three sets.
Horizontal Jump Plyometric
Stand up tall with a straight spine and engage your core muscles. Position your feet hip-width apart.
Bend your knees and sit back as if you were about to sit on a chair. Do not let your knees slide beyond your toes.
Jump forward explosively, as far as you can. Aim to maximize your height and distance as you jump forward. To assist your jump, swing both of your arms forward and above your head. As soon as you land, immediately jump forward again.
Perform 12 to 15 jumping repetitions, working your way up to three sets.
Always warm up your body for five to 10 minutes by walking or lightly jogging in place.
Plyometric training exercises are high impact and there is a risk of injury associated with this type of exercise. Always wear protective, supportive shoes to cushion the impact on your joints. If you are new to exercise or have an existing medical condition, speak to your doctor before performing plyometric exercises.
Nicole Carlin is a registered yoga teacher. Her writing has been published in yoga and dance teacher training manuals for POP Fizz Academy. Carlin received a Masters of Arts in gender studies from Birkbeck University in London and a Bachelors of Arts in psychology from Temple University, Philadelphia.