vertical jump training

Vertical Jump Training FAQ

Written by Jack Woodrup for

I have put together this vertical jump training FAQ page in order to help you better understand what happens in your body when you perform a vertical jump. This information will guide you in your approach to training what needs to be done to maximize your vertical jumping ability.

how to jump higher and increase your vertical jump

What Do You Need To Train To Jump High?

Having a high vertical jump basically comes down to 4 qualities.
  • A high level of relative strength
  • The ability to apply that strength quickly
  • Sufficient efficiency of movement
  • Low levels of body fat and mass

Once you have those 4 things in place it is fairly safe to say you will jumping high.

The first piece of vertical jump training theory to understand is that your jumping ability is basically a product of your power to weight ratio. In other words you want to get as light and powerful as possible.

By getting light we mean reducing your body fat percentage and any excess muscle mass. Having a spare tyre of fat around your waist or huge slab of meat pectorals won't help you jump high. If you want more information about the best ways for an explosive athlete to reduce body fat you should check out our article on fat burning.

The other half of the power to weight ratio equation is power. Muscular power is how much force you can apply divided by the time it takes to apply it. The two main variables of muscular power we can improveare therefore speed and strength. Speed is developed by improving your co-ordination and also by training your central nervous system to react more quickly.

This is where the plyometrics side of vertical jump training comes into play. If your sport involves a lot of jumping type movements already, you may not actually need to do too much actual jump training to improve your vertical.

Strength on the other hand is improved primarily by resistance training, normally with heavy weights. Getting strong is extremely important for increasing your vertical jump. To find out more about how to get strong go to our Strength Training articles.

You Can't Fire Cannons From a Row Boat!

It is also important when it comes to vertical jump training to know what muscles you need to focus on. Most people think it is basically quadriceps, but in reality your prime moves are also your glutes, hamstrings, core, hips and the rest of the posterior chain. To a lessor extent your calves, shoulders and lats also play a role, but the majority of your jumping power comes from the bigger muscle groups located in and around the upper leg.

Accordingly, the bulk of your vertical jump training should focus on the development of those areas. In the gym by far the two best exercises for the development of these areas, particularly from a pure strength point of view, are the various forms of squat and deadlift. Getting stronger on these two exercises alone is one of the fastest ways for the average athlete to make improvements in their vertical jump.

What Are You Training For?

Another key concept of vertical jump training is specificity. From a pure point of view your vertical jump is how high you can jump from a stand still position. Whilst this in itself is a great indicator of muscular power, in reality very few athletes are training just for that. Most people are trying to improvetheir vertical to benefit a sports related activity such as basketball or volleyball.

As a result of the function of specificity, just doing standing vertical jumps will help your standing vertical test result, but it may not be the most appropriate exercise for your needs if you are trying to dunk a basketball.

As an example we know a sprinter who uses a style of specificity in his program of only performing single legged variations of all exercises. He does this as sprinting is a unilateral activity and he feels that unilateral training has a better carry over for him. I wouldn't recommend everybody follow his approach but his program is designed for his requirements and he has got great results in both his sprint times and vertical jump from following it.

The lesson from this is that before you start your jump training, ask yourself what your true desired outcomes are and tailor your program accordingly.


Now listen up, because this point can save you months of frustration. The quickest and most effective way to increase your vertical jump is by focusing on your weaknesses. If you are really strong but your jumps are slow then there is little need for you to do a lot more weight room work, you will be much better served by getting out and doing jumping and plyometrics.

how to jump higher and increase your vertical jump

Conversely, if you are weak but have can spring back off the ground quicker than a frightened cat then you will see gains much faster by hitting the weights and building up your ability to generate more force. The point is, everybody is different and if you are doing things you are already good at, your gains will be slower, if at all.

Recognizing that each person is different and has different training requirements we designed our Vertical Mastery software application.

The software creates customized training programs to help you increase your vertical jump whatever your needs are.

To find out more about the Vertical Mastery either click on the link above, or you can download our free 85+ page vertical jump training guide. Just fill in the form below. Seriously you won't regret it. The free guide is actually better than every program on the market today (even the ones you have to pay for).

how to jump higher and increase your vertical jump

Training is Only A Small Part of Your Success

It is also important to understand that doing a lot of vertical jump training is incredibly demanding on your body. It is very easy to over train and injure yourself due to the high impact nature and the CNS intensiveness of the activity.

What you do for the 23 hours a day you are not in the gym or on the court that can have a huge impact on how well you progress. Taking care of yourself away from the training track will result in faster and higher gains, as well as reduce the likelihood of injury.

For more information on Injury prevention, we have written an informative piece outlining some simple steps you can take to reduce your chances of hurting yourself.


So there you have basic vertical jump training theory. If you want to jump high you need to develop your muscular power. Particular attention should be paid to the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes and the rest of the posterior chain. The type of exercises and training you do will depend upon your individual strengths and weakness as well as the requirements of your chosen activity.

Vertical jump training isn't just about training though. You should also take extra effort to ensure you maximize your recovery as this will significantly help your vertical as well as reducing injuries. If you get those things right you will soon be featuring on YouTube with some of the other jumping phenomenon?s out there.

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