A Workout to Increase Your Vertical Jump

A Workout to Increase Your Vertical Jump

Get flying off the ground in no time with this vertical jump training plan.

Last year, I experimented with a few different training programs with the goal being to increase my vertical jump, one of which is detailed in my previous post, here. I mean, who wouldn’t want to be able to slam dunk, right? Whatever your motivation is for wanting to jump higher, I have put together a training program to incorporate power, strength, speed and mobility to help launch you in the right direction. Not only will you be able to jump higher, but you will also be a much stronger and explosive athlete in general. I explain the rationale behind the programming below, but if you want to simply skip to the workout, scroll down to the bottom of the post. 

The first part of any good jump program is plyometrics. It is going to be pretty hard to increase your vertical without actually jumping. You will be incorporating plyometric work into each workout, so be prepared for more jumping than you are likely used to. Plyometrics are essential for increasing your vertical jump for many reasons. For starters, you need to train your fast-twitch muscle fibres, those muscle fibres that are responsible for converting your strength into speed. You can get as strong as you want on the squat rack, slowly lowering and raising yourself with as much weight as you want, but if you can’t turn that strength into power, you won’t be getting too far off of the ground. We could dive deeper into the physics of the vertical jump, but that is beyond the main scope of this article.

Plyometrics are best done with a fresh set of legs and lots of energy in order to be most effective. For that reason, they are programmed in at the beginning of the workouts, prior to the big lifts. However, they will also be used as a tool to keep up your explosive power between squat/deadlift sets, as described below.

The second thing you will need to reach your peak vertical jump will be strength. Plyometrics will only take you so far, so you need to give yourself a little more strength so you can translate that into a lot more power. 

The strength training I have incorporated into this program is based on Alexander Faleev, a Russian powerlifter who has gained a lot of recognition for his simple yet brutally effective approach to strength training. If you want to read more on his approach, check out this Tim Ferriss article with Pavel Tsatsouline here

The basis of Faleev’s strength system relies on a simple 80/20 principle. If your big movements like the squat and deadlift will provide 80% of the benefits, then cut out the accessory work and focus all of your energy on only those two movements for building lower body strength. You will be doing 2 squat sessions and 1 deadlift session each week, and that is it. You will follow a 5×5 rep progression and once you are able to complete all 5 sets of 5 reps at a given weight, add 10 pounds to the bar. You may not be able to complete all 5 reps the next session (you may only squeeze out 3 or 4 on your last sets), but keep at that weight until you hit the 5×5, then repeat. 

For those of you who have focused most of your attention and learning on hypertrophy training, you may think this is crazy. However, for the purpose of pure strength, this should be the approach, especially given the fact that you will need to conserve some energy for the other aspects of this program. 

The third aspect of this training program is all about power development. You will be incorporating two different Olympic lifts into the program, the hang clean and power snatch. In the name of not over doing it (especially if you are not someone who typically focuses on Olympic lifts), you will only be doing a few sets of each on two different workout days, both at the beginning of the workout when you are most fresh. 

I suggest you do your research and learn the proper technique before diving into Olympic lifts, and perhaps even enlist the help of a trainer or a friend who is proficient with these lifts. The last thing you need is bad form when lifting, and it is especially true for these lifts. If you aren’t yet comfortable with Olympic lifts, I would substitute them for dumbbell hang clean and press, a safer alternative for beginners. 

Mobility is the next key to success in your vertical jump journey. You will be putting in a lot of work if you are truly serious about increasing your vertical, and mobility helps prepare you for the work you are about to do and keeps you healthy in between workouts so you are 100% prepared for the next session. If you lack mobility in some of the key joints responsible for your jump, like your ankles or knees, then you are losing inches on each jump. Additionally, poor ankle stability may actually lead to lower glute activation, and the glutes are a primary mover in the vertical jump. It’s not the sexiest part of the program, but don’t neglect it. PS For great resources on mobility, check out Kelly Starrett – mobility coach and author of The Supple Leopard.  

In the program below, you won’t see mobility specifically programmed. That is because you should be incorporating mobility work prior to every workout, as well as static stretching afterwards. Take a look at the YouTube videos posted by Kelly Starrett for all of your mobility needs, and take a look at Pavel Tsatsouline’s Relax Into Stretch program on YouTube for a solid full body stretching routine.

The next part of the program is core strength, and I would consider this optional as many people would argue you get enough core work from your big lifts (deadlift and squat) and direct core training may not even be necessary. However, I am a fan of adding in at least a few basic core exercises a few times per week, as it certainly can’t hurt.

Last but certainly not least, technique needs to be worked on. You can add inches to your jump in 10 minutes of practice outside, right now, without an ounce of strength or plyometric training. There are several different resources available out there to help practice your jump form, and it will depend also on whether or not you choose to practice jumping off one foot or two. One of the best in the game when it comes to the vertical jump is Paul Fabritz, who actually trains NBA superstar James Harden. Take a look at some of his videos and I would strongly suggest listening to his podcast appearance on Mind Pump Media here. Adam Folker of Vert Shock also has some good resources available, so pull up YouTube and get working on your technique and timing. 

Stick to the program below and you will be sure to see drastic improvements to your vertical jump in no time. If this seems like too much to you, and don’t have access to the equipment necessary, sub out the big lifts for bodyweight alternatives or check out my previous post on Vert Shock, a plyometric-based program I completed that can add as much as 8 inches to your vertical in 8 weeks. 

The Workout

Monday

Box Jumps 3 sets of 6

1 minute rest

Heavy Squat 5 sets of 5

Superset with 5 tuck jumps (30 seconds after squats)

3-4 minutes rest

Tuesday

Rest/Mobility

Wednesday

Depth Jump 3 sets of 6

1 minute rest

Hang Cleans 3 sets of 6

1 minute rest

Heavy deadlift 5 sets of 5

Superset with 5 squat jumps (30 seconds after deadlifts)

3-4 minute rest

Thursday

Single leg box jumps 3 sets of 6

1 minute rest

80% of heavy squats 5 sets of 4 reps

Superset with 5 Squat Jumps (30 seconds after squats)

3-4 minutes rest

Tuck Jumps 3 sets of 6

1 minute rest

Friday

Power Snatch 3 sets of 6

1 minute rest

25m Sprints (5 sets)

1 minute rest

Jumping lunges 3 sets of 6

1 minute rest

Box jumps 3 sets of 6

1 minute rest

Core circuit: Myotatic crunch, Deadbug, Russian twist

1 minute rest, 2 sets. 10 reps each. 

As always, let me know your thoughts. Any tips for training your vertical jump? Share below.



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