Basketball is a competitive sport with a lot of momentum and speed. Having a powerful jump is an incredible offensive and defensive asset for any player on the court. As a result, many basketball coaches will place a high value on an player’s vertical jump performance, and professional basketball leagues including the NBA include the measurement on each individual’s record. If you are serious about a career in basketball, a vertical jump development training program can help your jump reach the place where you want it to be through rigorous training that is proven to be effective.
However, there are also a few vertical jump hacks that can instantly see gains to your maximum vertical. These will be especially effective for those who haven’t consciously worked on improving their vertical leap, as they are all about unlocking your full potential given the strength and power you already have.
Work on Technique
While strength and speed will stem from consistently hitting the squat rack and plyometric exercises, working on your jump technique can be a quick way to squeeze out an extra couple of inches to your jump.
At first, a good way to refine your jump technique is through repetition and making sure balance is maintained throughout the movement. Then, work on more advanced jump techniques, the most important of which is a rapid bend of the knees and focusing on the downward movement that precedes the actual jump. It is easy to neglect this aspect of the jump and instead focus on the upward movement, but a quicker descent means you carry more momentum going in, resulting in more elastic power and a bigger jump.
Improving your mobility
Muscle mobility plays a vital role in your leaping ability. Stretching is recommended before an intensive sport like basketball, but it is also known that over-stretching muscles can temporarily reduce your strength and even increase the chances of injury. However, static stretching of the hip flexors carries no such risk and will boost your vertical jump height by reducing the resistance and friction through your jump. As the muscle group is not a primary mover, the key is to minimize the interference caused by them, not to strengthen them.
The best way to approach your warm up stretching routine is therefore as follows:
- Dynamic stretching of major leg muscle groups
- Static stretching of the hip flexors
PAP or Post-Activation Potentiation
The premise behind PAP is simple. Your body will be below your 100% potential power output at the beginning of any training session or game. That’s because your muscles require some use before they are able to work at optimal levels. As a result, before you measure your maximum vertical leap or want to be an effective jumper on the court, switch on your muscles to make sure as many muscle fibers are fired off as possible. In order to prime your muscles for jumping, do the following:
- Perform 1-3 reps of either a Squat or Deadlift with approximately 85-95% of your 1RM. Rest 15 seconds
- 5 Jump Squats at maximum intensity
- 4-8 minutes rest
After PAP, your body is temporarily functioning at its peak. PAP is utilized by sports coaches across the world and is especially important in the 100m Olympic sprint or long jump, but it can also be effectively applied before a basketball session.
Choose the right shoes
While you might not have accounted for your shoes affecting your jump, chances are they are making a bigger difference than your were expecting. Since your shoes absorb shock, they are also absorbing a little bit of the amount of power you generate going into your jump. While most good basketball shoes will be created with this in mind, here’s what to keep in mind when choosing your shoes:
- A stiffer sole will reduce the amount of shock absorbed and boost your vertical (but be careful, some cushioning is needed for the sake of your joints)
- Make sure they fit perfectly in order to make sure your feet don’t slide inside the shoe and lose reduce your jumping efficiency
Now it’s time to put these tricks into practice. To keep things interesting, why not measure your maximum vertical jump before and after applying these tricks? The results might just surprise you.
If you are looking to take your vertical leap even further, why not check out the resources over at vertical jump development which have advanced training tips and techniques used by basketball players and other sports professionals that will see even bigger gains to your explosiveness.