Workout Tips

The Lift Doctor: Jump Higher and Maximize Your Gym Time

Our Lift Doctor answers your questions about elevating your lift-off and maximizing your limited gym time.

The Lift Doctor: Jump Higher and Maximize Your Gym Time

Question 1: “How do you increase your vertical for basketball?” –Benji Crutchfield

Benji, it really depends. Each athlete has different weak points. Let’s look at some of the main contributing factors for building up your jumping power. 

First thing you need to look at is your technique. Do you know how to jump?  Do you know how to sit back and load the hips, instead of just loading your quads? Are you using your arm swing to your advantage? You need to dial in your technique with your coach. Simply bracing or tightening your torso, while you load your hips back (hip hinge) during your landing AND take off, is the key to fully utilizing your larger lower body muscles and performing the jump correctly.

Reactive Strength:
How about power? Are you powerful? Do you have the reactive strength to make the movement explosive? Can you load into the jump and come back up fast? Your ability to jump fast and be reactive is an expression of the stretch shortening cycle. Can you efficiently load the soft-tissues of your body, accumulate elastic energy and express it powerfully? To become more reactive, jump training (hops, bounds, jumping rope), plyometrics (depth jumps, alternating split jumps), dynamic hip hinge movements (kettlebell swings, power cleans) can be incorporated into your program. 

Unrestricted Movement:
If you’re spending a ton of time each week practicing in high top basketball sneakers and spending your free time on the Xbox blasting campers in COD, then you’re probably locked up in your ankles, hips and upper back. This means you would be able to get into better positions to jump, land and approach the next jump if you focus on your mobility across these problem areas. Exercises like squat to stand and striders with rotation will help your hips, while foam rolling the upper back and various shoulder stretches will open up your back. 

NEXT: Essential Exercises to Maximize Your Gym Time >>