5 Moves to Help You Jump Higher

man on outdoor basketball court jumps high to the hoop for a shot

Want to Jump Higher? Try These Exercises!

Jumping is a key part of many sports including basketball, skiing and snowboarding, tennis, and volleyball. It is not only fun, but also great exercise for developing strength and cardiovascular fitness. Jumping involves a type of fitness called “power” that combines strength and speed to produce explosive movements. That means to make the most of your jumps you will want to train the big muscles of your lower body to move quickly under a heavy load. For starters, the weight of your body will be enough. You can add more resistance by holding weights or elastic bands as you become more comfortable. 

Jump Squats

Raw power meets muscle control.  
Do 3 sets of 6 reps.

Stand with your feet a little wider than your shoulders and your feet turned out just slightly. Squat down by pushing your buttocks back and your arms forward. Prepare for the jump by cocking both arms back toward your buttocks. Swing the arms forward and upward as you push through the glutes, quads, and calves into a vertical jump. As you land, use these same muscles to soften your landing, moving quickly into the cocked position with your buttocks and arms back in a squat. Don’t pause, jump again immediately. 

Mountain Climbers

Build explosive speed without overloading your joints.
Do 2 sets of 20 reps.

 Start on your hands and knees. Keeping both hands on the floor, come up onto your toes and bring the right foot forward with the knee bent and the left foot back with the knee straight. You will look like a sprinter getting ready to begin a race. As quickly as you can, bring the left foot forward and the right foot back, then return the right foot forward and the left. This is one rep. 

Straight Leg Hops

The propulsive power of the calves is often under-trained.
Do 3 sets of 12 reps.

Begin standing with your knees slightly bent and your heels raised about a quarter of an inch. Using only your calves, hop as high as you can. Make sure you land on your toes and with your knees slightly bent. While you should be mindful of using your calf muscles to keep your heels from hitting the ground as you land, it is also important to let your knees bend slightly to avoid excessive strain through the knee joints. 

Plyometric Step-Ups

Combine explosive power with agility.
Do 2 sets of 25 reps.

Stand with the right foot on a step and the left foot on the ground. Pushing off through the elevated right foot, launch into a vertical jump, switching the position of your feet to land with the right foot on the ground and the left foot on the step. Repeat as soon as possible to return the right foot to the step and left to the ground. This is one rep. Begin with a low step and increase the height as your ability to perform this exercise quickly and safely increases.  

Single-Leg Deadlifts

Build explosive speed without overloading your joints.
Do 3 sets of 8 reps.

Every muscle from your trunk through your toes needs to work hard to perform this exercise. Strive for balance and control rather than depth. Begin standing with both feet forward at hip width. Tighten your abdominal muscles by drawing your navel toward the spine and up toward the ribs slightly. Keep your right foot firmly planted and your spine straight, hinge at hip the bring the left leg up behind you with a straight knee while your upper body reaches forward, and your left hand reaches to the floor. Return to the upright position with a powerful contraction of the glutes and hamstrings, but try not to set the left foot back to floor. Repeat for 8 reps standing on the right foot, then another 8 reps on the left foot for one set. 

These five exercises are a great foundation to better athletic performance as well as well-rounded fitness that should be challenging but never painful. If you experience joint pain, any sharp or shooting pain, or muscle pain different than a low and steadily building burning sensation, discontinue immediately. If you would like further guidance on increasing your power, find an expert at Therapeutic Associates using our clinic locator; we have locations throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho and California!

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Whether you are an elite athlete or weekend warrior, physical therapy can help you avoid injury, optimize your performance and recover from injury quickly and safely. We focus on the unique needs and goals of the individual and create customized care plans designed to keep every athlete active and engaged in the sports they love.

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