If you’re looking to massively increase your vertical jump, you’re in exactly the right place.

In this article, I’m going to take you through the exact strategies that I use to supercharge my athlete’s vertical jumps. We’re going to cover:

Let’s jump right into it… (Jump – get it? – I’ll see myself out)

how to increase your vertical jump

Strategy 1: Increase Your Vertical Jump by Improving Maximal Strength

If you want to increase your vertical jump, then the weight room is your best friend, and that’s because some simple science is at play.

Power = force x velocity.

So if you want a crazy powerful jump, then you need to improve your body’s ability to produce force. And what does strength training do?

It massively increases your ability to produce maximal forces.

Let me put it another way, I’ve been delivering strength and conditioning coaching for almost a decade, and If you give me two athletes, one of whom can squat 50% of their bodyweight whilst the other can squat 150%, and ask me who can jump higher…

“I’m betting everything I have on the athlete who squats 150%, and I’ll win that bet 99 times out of 100.”

If you’re serious about improving your vertical jump, then you need to be focusing some real time and energy on building your lower body strength.

Strength Exercises to Increase Your Vertical Jump

Squats

In a study by Wirth et al. (2016), they found that after 8-weeks of squatting participants performed 12.4% better in a jump squat test.

One of the simplest and easiest ways to build your leg strength is with squats. You can use goblet squats, front squats or back squats depending on your preferences. I recommend 2 sessions per week, with 3 sets of 4-6 reps per session. Here’s the first of a 3 part series all about front squat technique…

Deadlifts

Another classic strength exercise that you can use to increase your vertical jump is the deadlift, which targets your posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors) helping you create really aggressive hip extension. You can use classic deadlifts, or variations like Romanian deadlifts (RDL’s) or stiff leg deadlifts. Personally, I have my athletes perform 2 to 3 sets of 4 to 6 reps.

For more strength training information, you might also want to check out my articles on ‘A simple squat programme‘ and ‘The 7 Best Strength Exercises

Vertical Jump Workout: Strength Focused

This vertical jump workout is focused completely on strength exercises to build up your maximal force output.

  • Tempo Back Squats: 3 Sets of 5 reps @ 2RIR
  • Deadlifts: 2 sets of 4 reps @ 2 RIR

*This is a good workout for you if you’re naturally quick and springy, but just don’t seem to have the legs to big jumps. You’ll likely be on the leaner, perhaps even naturally skinner side.

Strategy 2: Improve Vertical Jumps with RFD Training

Vertical jump training isn’t just about strength (the ability to produce force). Whilst strength is a good base for building an impressive vertical jump, but it’s not very useful on its own.

To massively increase your vertical jump you also need to be able to express that force quickly.

That’s where RFD comes in. RFD stands for Rate of Force Development, i.e. how quickly you can produce a given amount of force.

Knowing how to train this is a little-known secret that helps you transfer all your hard-earned strength into major increases in your vertical jump.

RFD Exercises to Increase Vertical Jump

Weighted Jump Squats

Weighted squat jumps are one of the best ways to improve your vertical jump. You can use a couple of dumbbells, or a barbell as shown in the exercise video below. I recommend keeping the weights you use light, around 10-20% of your squat 1 rep max.

Hang Power Cleans

When you’re thinking about how to increase your vertical jump, I you can’t wrong by looking at exercises like hang power cleans. They can be performed with the bar starting from the upper thigh or knee, and allow you to practice maximally extending your hips and knees with resistance. I recommend using 50-65% of your best clean, and if you don’t know what that is, just pick a weight that moves quick and feels snappy.

Vertical Jump Workout: RFD Focused

This vertical jump workout is all about getting you to generate large forces as quickly as possible. Take decent rests and focus on aggressive, explosive repetitions.

Hang Power Cleans: 5 sets of 3 reps – Light to Moderate Weight (50-65% clean 1rm)

Squat Jumps: 3 sets of 4 reps – Light – (10-20% of squat 1rm)

*This is a good workout for you if you’re already pretty strong, but can’t seem to convert that strength into a better vertical jump.

Strategy 3: Develop Explosiveness to Increase Your Vertical Jump

To increase your vertical, it only makes sense that your vertical jump training should a wide variety of jumping type exercises, often referred to as plyometrics.
Where
most people go wrong is by only performing vertical jumps over and over again, which soon gets stale and stops you from improving your jump. Instead, you should aim to include a variety of plyometric exercises, giving yourself different challenges in each workout. I’ve listed some examples below:

Plyometric Exercises That Increase vertical Jump

Single Leg Bounds

If your goal is to increase your vertical jump by building insane lower body power then single leg bounds are definitely an exercise to consider. Start with smaller bounds then build up to maximum effort with:

Squat Jumps (full technique guide article)

Squat jumps are an easy way to increase your vertical jump. Instead of a small dip you’ll go all the way into a deep squat, forcing your body to produce loads of force on the way. Get good at these and vertical jumps will feel easy by comparison.

Quick List of Plyometric Exercises to Increase Vertical Jump

  • Countermovement Jumps
  • Broad Jumps
  • Box Jumps
  • Tuck Jumps
  • Depth Jumps
  • Hurdle Jumps
  • Zig Zag Bounds
  • Lateral Bounds

Vertical Jump Workout: Plyometric Focused

This vertical jump workout is all about building explosive lower body power, stiff springy ankles and athleticism. Give it a try to increase your vertical jump.

  • Single Leg Bounds: 3 Sets of 8 reps each leg
  • Broad Jumps: 3 sets of 5 reps
  • Depth Jumps: 3 sets of 3 reps

*This is a good workout for you if you’ve built a decent strength base but need help converting that strength into a higher vertical jump. You might be someone that feels naturally strong, but you’ve never felt naturally quick. Let’s change that.

Quick tip on plyometrics for jump training:

A little word of caution. Plyometrics are a potent stimulus, overdo them and you’ll be sore for days. It’s best to start with easier, lower impact movements (like box jumps) and progress over time, keeping the sets and reps low. Typically I’ll have my athletes do two sessions per week, with 6-10 sets of 3 to 8 reps per session.

Bonus Strategy: Improve Your Coordination & Movement Efficiency to Jump Higher

It’s going to sound mean, but within strength and conditioning, coaches have a term for people with very little athleticism and body awareness…

‘motor morons’

You can be the strongest and most explosive athlete on the planet, but if you can’t coordinate your body and move efficiently, you’re never going to maximise your athletic potential, and you’re never going to jump as high as you’d like.

The good news is that this quality can be trained and improved.

As an athlete, you need to get used to taking your body through numerous different types of movement, each with different rhythm’s, tempos and challenges.

Ideally, this is accomplished throughout childhood through playing and engaging in a wide variety of activities, hobbies and sports, but it’s becoming increasingly common for youth athletes to specialise in one sport way too early, missing out on this wider development.

So, if you feel like you’re strong and explosive, but still not jumping very high, this might be the missing piece of your puzzle…

Here’s an example circuit of exercises

a) Dance to music (Yes, you read that right)

b) Hurdles over and under

c) Side Lunge

d) Throw a ball against a wall and catch it

d) Single-Leg RDL

The dancing will improve your rhythm and flow, the hurdles will improve your awareness of your body at various heights, the side lunge will improve your movement in an unfamiliar plane, the throws and catches will improve coordination and reaction time, and the single leg rdl will improve balance and proprioception.

Become a better all-round athlete, and you WILL jump higher.

8 Week Vertical Jump Programme

Most vertical jump programs only include one or two of the four strategies we’ve talked about. That’s okay, but it’s far from optimal. I want you to increase your vertical jump as fast, and as much, as possible. That’s exactly what this vertical jump protocol will do.

This is an 8 week programme and you’ll train twice per week, with as much time between those two days as possible. So you might train Monday and Thursday, or perhaps Tuesday and Saturday. You’ll perform the same workout twice each week, but you can use different weights based on how you feel each day.

Jump Higher Workout 1 (Weeks 1-2)

  • 5 exercise coordination and movement circuit
  • Box Jumps – 4 sets of 4 reps
  • Weighted Squat Jump – 3 sets of 4 @ 10% 1rm
  • Squat – 3 sets of 6 reps @ RIR 2
  • Deadlift – 2 sets of 6 reps @ RIR 2

Jump Higher Workout 2 (Weeks 3-4)

  • 5 exercise coordination and movement circuit (You can pick and mix different exercises if you want)
  • Broad Jumps – 4 sets of 4 reps
  • Weighted Squat Jump – 3 sets of 4 @ 10% 1rm
  • Squat – 3 sets of 5 reps @ RIR 2
  • Deadlift – 2 sets of 5 reps @ RIR 2

Jump Higher Workout 3 (Weeks 5-6)

  • 5 exercise coordination and movement circuit (You can pick and mix different exercises if you want)
  • Tuck Jumps – 3 sets of 4 reps
  • Hang Power Cleans – 50-65% clean 1rm (Or a weight that feels quick)
  • Squat – 3 sets of 4 reps @ RIR 2
  • Deadlift – 2 sets of 4 reps @ RIR 2

Jump Higher Workout 4 (Weeks 7-8)

  • 5 exercise coordination and movement circuit (You can pick and mix different exercises if you want)
  • Depth Jumps – 4 sets of 3 reps
  • Hang Power Cleans – 50-65% clean 1rm (Or a weight that feels quick)
  • Squat – 3 sets of 3 reps @ RIR 2
  • Deadlift – 2 sets of 3 reps @ RIR 2

And then after the 8 week vertical jump programme is complete, I recommend you take a ‘light’ or deload week. (A simple way is to halve the number of sets of all exercises) and test your vertical jump at the end of that week.

Your vertical jump will have improved, I guarantee it.

Bonus: How to Test Your Vertical Jump

If you want to increase your vertical jump then you’ve got to start by knowing what your current vertical jump actually is.

There are a few ways you can do this depending on the kit you have available.

a) You can use a vertec set up. (If you don’t have one you can also make a vertec for about £25)

b) You can use force plates

These are expensive pieces of kit, but lots of universities and larger sports teams have them, and you’d be surprised how many S&C coaches are willing to let you come in and take a few measurements if you ask them nicely.

c) Use an App like MyJump

Apps like MyJump are a super cheap way to measure your own vertical jump heights on your phone. They take a little time to set up to your height and stats, so they’re not ideal for full teams, but for measuring your own vertical jumps the app is surprisingly accurate.

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Some simple standing vertical jumps should do the trick, but if you’re trying to increase your vertical jump for dunking, you might also want to try a running single leg jump to replicate the movement you would use in a game.

Frequently Asked Questions About Increasing Vertical Jump Height

Do “Jump” Programs Really Work?

Yes, jump programs work. There’s this weird idea going around that jump height is purely genetic and can’t be changed that much by training. That is just plain wrong. If you get stronger, more explosive and better coordinated, you WILL increase your vertical jump.

You might not add 20″ in a few weeks, like some BS marketers seem to claim, but you will absolutely improve.

Will Jumping Every Day Increase Your Vertical Jump?

Technically yes, jumping every day might improve your vertical jump, but I really wouldn’t advise it. To jump higher your body needs recovery time in between training sessions. Putting loads of stress on your knees, hips and ankles every single day is a significant injury risk. Stick to 2-3 sessions per week and you’ll increase your vertical jump in a much safer manner.

How to increase vertical jump for dunking?

To increase your vertical jump for dunking follow the plan above, combining strenth, RFD, plyometric and coordination exercises. The only thing you might want to do differently is get plenty of technical practice in for the dunk itself. Make sure you’re running up, approaching and jumping correctly.

Do squats make you jump higher?

Yes, squats build leg strength and leg strength helps you jump higher. Just make sure that you also do your plyometric exercises and coordination drills to maximise the transfer of strength to jump height.

Are there shoes that make you jump higher?

No, there are not any shoes that will make you jump higher, at least not by any significant amount. You can put the best jumpers in the worst shoes and they’re still going to be amazing at jumping. On the other hand if you suck at jumps, there’s no pair of shoes that’s magically going to make you jump loads higher.

If you really want to have a look, the hoops geek did an awesome breakdown of different shoes that make you jump higher, and found that even the best pairs only made a tiny, tiny difference. (But cost $400+) For that money, you could literally hire someone like me as your personal coach for two months and make 10 times more improvements.

Stretches to increase vertical jump?

All things considered, stretches are unlikely to increase your vertical jump. With that said, if you’re someone who tends to be quite stiff, especially around the hips, then some basic hip flexibility work might be useful. Personally I recommend going through a range of dynamic flexibility exercises before every workout as part of your warm-up.

How to increase your vertical jump at home?

To increase your vertical jump at home follow the same plan we discussed above, strength, RFD, plyometric and coordination exercises. The only difference is that you might not have access to heavier weights for your squat and deadlift. To get around this you can try out exercises such as single leg squats and single leg feet elevated hamstring bridges. I recommend adding a few reps though. So instead of 3 sets of 5 you might do 3 sets of 10.

How can I increase my vertical jump fast?

If you want to increase your vertical jump fast, you need to use a combination of strength, RFD, plyometric and coordination exercises at least twice per week. The 8 week vertical jump protocol up above is perfect for this.

Next Steps

Alright, that’s enough reading for today, time for action…

1) Get in the gym and start working through the 8 week programme. Get stronger, more explosiveness, and jump higher.

2) If you want more training tips, workouts and programmes, feel free to join my mailing list.

3) And if you’re looking for 1:1 strength and conditioning coaching to improve your sports performance and get you jumping insanely high, you can find more information about my services here.

‘Til Next Time

Alex

Strength coach

Alex Parry, MSc, BA

Alex’s experience includes 7+ years within strength & conditioning, including supporting 2 major universities, 2 national talent pathways and a selection of international level athletes.

He is also a tutor and educator for British Weightlifting

References

Wirth, K., Hartmann, H., Sander, A., Mickel, C., Szilvas, E., & Keiner, M. (2016). The Impact of Back Squat and Leg-Press Exercises on Maximal Strength and Speed-Strength Parameters. Journal of strength and conditioning research, 30(5), 1205–1212. https://doi.org/10.1519/JSC.0000000000001228