Every guy who’s ever had hoop dreams would be lying if they said they didn’t want to have a high vertical leap. Who doesn’t want the power to slam the ball like Zach Lavine or the hang time for a bali-katawan layup a la James Yap, right?
The good news: it’s an attribute of athleticism that can be improved. Fitness experts have different tests for athletes in order to find out how they can improve the way they move.
At 360 Fitness Pro in Mandaluyong City, they have what’s called the Pro Score, a measuring system to give them the fitness baselines of an athlete specific to his sport. One of the things they test basketball and volleyball players on is the vertical leap, and it’s more than just to find out if an athlete has the ability to dunk or spike.
“There’s a relationship between vertical leap and how quick you are overall. The higher it is, the faster you can get to the rim and more powerful you can be off the dribble, too,” says Chappy Callanta, CSCS, program director for the 360 Fitness Club Chain.
Whether you’re a high-level baller or baranggay liga aspirant, you’re bound to benefit from improving your hops and it helps explosiveness of your game, too. As with anything fitness, going about it the right way is the first step and that doesn’t mean doing plenty of jumping exercises, either.
“Some people are obsessed with increasing the vertical leap right away but don’t know the right ingredients to do so,” says Mark Vincent Dubouzet, X.P.S., C.S.A.C., a strength and conditioning coach at 360 Pro. “They start doing high reps of plyometric exercises without the proper strength base and mechanics and it only leads to overuse injuries.”
Before you can achieve dunk worthy hops, you must first learn how to land. It entails being able to control the impact. “Basically, you land with your knees slightly bent, on the balls of your feet with a slight clearance in your heels where you can swipe a credit card. You also absorb the landing with your hips,” advises Dubouzet.
Next you need to build strength in your legs and also work on jumping mechanics. You can achieve that through contrast workouts where you alternate a strength move with a jumping exercise. Dobouzet plots this routine you can do. If you notice, the volume of jumping isn’t that much, and that’s with good reason.
When you play a sport like basketball, you already jump a lot, and according to Dobouzet, you don’t want to add to the stress. “The force on our joints is more than twice our bodyweight and when you do jumping drills for 50 reps, that’s just too much.”
The Jump Higher Workout:
Directions: Do each exercise one after the other in each cluster for the number of reps given. Rest a minute and go again. Do 3 sets then, go and do the next cluster.
Trap Bar Deadlift 4 to 5 reps at 80% of 1 rep maxmimum
Counter Movement Jump - 6 reps
Split Squat 4 to 5 reps at 80% of 1 rep maximum
Depth Jump -6 reps.
Trap Bar Deadlift
Stand in the middle of a trap bar. Slightly bend your knees, bend at the hips and hold the handles of the trap bar with your back straight and your chest out. Engage your core and lift the trap bar and stand up. Keep your back straight, your chest out, and your core engaged at all times.
Stand up straight with your arms straight above your head. In one motion: bend your knees, swing your arms behind you, jump up as high as you can, and land softly on the balls of your feet—your knees bent, and your arms straight behind you. Then, go back to the standing position and go again.
Stand with your right leg behind you while holding a dumbbell in each hand. While keeping your back straight and your core engaged, lower your body by bending both knees until your right knee is close to the floor. Pause, then stand back up. Do 5 reps then switch sides, this time with your left leg behind you.
This exercise works on both landing and jumping mechanics. Stand on top of a box or bench. Step off the box and land on the balls of your feet, with your knees bent, your back straight and your arms behind you. In one swift motion, swing your arms up while simultaneously jumping up as a high as you can. Land softly on the balls of your feet with your knees slightly bent and your arms straight behind you. Step back up on the box and go again.