Jumping higher is something every basketball player aims for during their amateur or professional careers. This newly acquired skill will allow you to dominate the zone and dunk and block opponents with ease but you need to properly time your movements as jumping higher does not necessarily mean playing better.
Many strength and conditioning coaches will recommend that subjects improve reactivity time and starting power which can be obtained by regularly practicing plyometrics. This form of training has long been used to increase your vertical jump. This will also help you to see marked improvements in other sports, such as high jump, volleyball, tennis, handball and squash, amongst many others.
Best Exercises for Lower Body Strength
There can be no disputing the fact that, in order to jump higher you will need to improve the strength and explosive power required in your lower body to propel you upwards. You cannot assume that building your quads alone will get the job done, although strengthening this muscle is an essential component to consider.
Let’s take closer look at some exercises you can try out at your local or home gym. All you require is a barbell and sufficient weights, some dumbbells and a short and high box but resistance training could also be useful.
This is a very popular and effective exercise for adding explosive power to your lower body as you will be working on your quads, hamstrings, glute and calves. All you need to do is grab a barbell with moderate to heavy weights, lower the bar to shin level and straighten your back. You may repeat this for 3 sets x 12 repetitions.
Single Leg Split Lunge
For this exercise you need dumbbells and a short box or bench. Place one foot on the box or bench and lower your body in a forward lunge so that your back leg is bent and your front leg leads with the knee. Again aim for 3 sets x 12 but you need to alternate between left and right leg so 1 set would mean 24 repetitions.
Grab the barbell and again use low or moderate weights. Lower the bar to knee level and immediately lift it upwards, changing the position of your hands whilst squatting and lifting to shoulder level once your legs are straight. Once again change your hand position to return to the starting position. 3 sets x 12 repetitions are required.
Single Arm Snatch
You may use one dumbbell with low weight or a kettlebell for this exercise. Grab the dumbbell with either hand and lower to knee level, making sure to bend the knees slightly. From this position swing the dumbbell straight overhead to the same side of the body you are holding the weights and lower immediately in one flowing motion. Left/right swings would equate to 24 repetitions in 3 sets.
Step Down Jump
Using a low box or bench place either of your back legs towards the edge of the platform and land with both feet on the floor in front of you. Squat and jump as high in the air with both feet and on the second jump place the same back foot on the bench or box. Repeat for 24 times on either foot for 3 sets.
Seated Box Jump
For this last exercise you will need a box placed at the same level as a normal chair and one or more boxes in front. Start by sitting on the box at the back and spring forward to land on the front box or boxes ensuring that both feet land squarely and you are in a squat position. Jump back down to a seated position and continue for 10 repetitions x 3 sets.