If you want to learn how to improve your jumping ability, it’s helpful to understand what gives you the ability to lift off in the first place. Needless to say, it’s all in the legs. Your primary leg muscles are your quadriceps which are the front part of your thighs, your hamstrings, which are the muscles in the back part of your thighs, and your calf muscles. Weight training and proper stretching are key components to strengthening those muscles to provide the spring that you need to get your vertical higher.
There are several machines available at most local gyms that will assist you in your goal to improve your jumping ability. Leg press machines provide an excellent way to firm and strengthen your quadriceps and hamstrings. The leg curl machine works the hamstrings. In addition, performing squats while using free weights or barbells is another great way to work your leg muscles. Before you begin your regimen, however, there are a few things to be aware of.
When starting a vertical increase program, you’ll need to make a plan, stick to it, and don’t rush it. Overtraining can cause injuries that will prevent you from working out at all. Start with a weight that you can handle and work your way up incrementally. Avoid training the same muscles every day; alternate on a daily basis between training the quadriceps and the hamstrings. Consistency is key. Safety first: if you feel pain, particularly in your knees, STOP. Use lighter weights and consult your trainer or doctor.
Warming up before exercise and stretching afterwards are paramount. If the muscles are not sufficiently warmed up by walking or running prior to weight training, they are more prone to injury. Intensive workouts cause the muscles to contract, and stretching helps to ease and lengthen your leg muscles.
A proper diet is also key to reaching your goal of making higher jumps. Simply put, carrying less weight increases your ability to leave the ground. You already know the drill: more protein and vegetables, less sugar and carbohydrates in the form of white bread, potatoes and pasta.
Lastly, practice, practice, practice. Raise your hands above your head and jump as high as you can. Have someone measure the distance. Practice jumping repeatedly ten or twelve times in a row. Choose or build a stationary object that is slightly taller than your last jump and as you get stronger and gain more stamina, increase the height of the object and practice jumping over it until you can clear it easily. Despite claims made by shoe manufacturers, increasing your physical fitness to the best of your ability is the only tried and true method of increasing the height of your vertical jumps.