Maximizing your Vertical Jump

His Airness, Michael Jordan

The vertical jump consists of a common theme we teach here at Elite Sports Performance and that is the importance of the triple extension. Triple extension is the process of creating energy by extending your already contracted ankles, knees and hips into a vertical (extended) position in order to get your body off of the ground. In order to achieve the best performance of a vertical jump we must begin with our stance. Our feet should be shoulder width apart. We should be in a squat form with a bend in the knees and back straight. Our arms should be driven upwards in order to generate momentum. Finding a rhythm before you jump helps take your mind off the buildup of the jump and helps you focus on the mark you look to obtain. When jumping, reach with the arm that is closest to the pole of the Vertimax (tool that is commonly used for vertical jump testing). It is important not to swing at the markers as it can cause you to miss your peak mark. Instead flex the wrist at the top of your jump, it minimizes your movement in the air and makes for a more consistent jump. Lastly, make sure you try to land softly, on both feet, and in the same area from which you jumped from. If you follow these techniques you can look for a better result in your vertical jump.
There are many great explosion exercises we use at ESP to help improve our athletes vertical jump. The exercise we will highlight today to help improve that skill is the banded squat jump. In this exercise, athletes use resisted bands based on the intensity level set for them by our trainers. Once the station is set up, athletes perform this exercise for an established amount of sets and repetitions. It is important in this exercise that the athlete gets into an athletic stance. Feet shoulder width apart, slight bend in the knees, and back straight. This brings us back to the importance of triple extension. When performing this exercise the athlete is exploding vertically and reaching up as if they were attempting a vertical jump. It is important to make sure you land in the same position you began and with a soft landing. This exercise can certainly help you maximize your vertical jump.