Jump Higher

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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All hoopsters, from point guards and shooting guards to swing men and centers, crave the ability to jump higher, largely because a greater vertical leap benefits shooters and defenders in equal measure. On the offensive end of the floor, jumping higher means better visibility on jump shots and layups. Back on defense, a higher vertical lets you swat more shots and grab rebounds galore.

Leaping ability is so central to one's arsenal of weapons that many basketball players spend their entire lives developing their jumping skills. As with most abilities, jumping is partly "nature" and partly "nurture." Certain people are simply blessed with genetic gifts that allow them to soar above the rim, while others seem eternally grounded to the wood no matter how hard they try to defy gravity.

Exercises To Jump Higher

The good news for the lead-footed is that the "nurture" component to jumping is a strong one. Developing powerful fast-twitch muscles is feasible with the help of a few basic accessories such as bungee cords, mats, and jump ropes. Anything that increases the tension in your body's connection to the earth forces you to overcome that resistance with strength and power and hence helps you jump higher.

Those who lack cords, ropes, and other binding mechanisms can still train themselves to jump higher with nothing more than their own two feet. Deep knee bends and squats help develop powerful quads and calves, both of which are key to overcoming gravity. At the same time, improving one's "core" strength through abdominal and lower back exercises also helps lay the foundation for a killer set of hops.

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