“Put in the work. It’s muscle memory, first and foremost. Trainingwise, people say, ‘You gotta do this, you gotta do that.’ I didn’t believe in that. I never worked on my legs in high school or middle school. I would just go through this routine over and over and over, visualizing that day when you dunk on the court. And then you live in that moment.”
Learn about plyometrics. Plyometrics are exercises that use the resistance of your own body to build strength and are essential for building the kind of strength necessary to build your jump. It takes time to train your body to jump higher, but working the right muscle groups can improve your explosiveness and height without maxing out regularly in the weight room.
Another high pull option is to shorten the range of motion to make it a hang high pull instead of a power high pull (“power” implying that the load starts on the floor). In this case, the start position is from standing, with the bar hanging in front of your thighs at arms’ length. The movement is initiated with a dip in the hips and knees, so that the bar lowers to just above knee level, followed immediately by an explosive pull.
Sets/Reps: For general strength and lower-body development, Benguche recommends 3–6 sets of 3–8 reps with moderate loading—70%–85% of your one-rep max (1RM). For developing more speed and power, he recommends lighter loads (55%–70% of 1RM) for 3–6 sets of 2–5 reps. Squats performed with light weights but done so explosively that your feet leave the floor when you come up are called jump squats (see “Progressions” below).
Vertical jumps are used to both train and test for power output in athletes. Plyometrics are particularly effective in training for power output, and include vertical jumps of different types in their protocol. In one recent study, training with plyometrics (which included continuous vertical jumps) was shown to improve jump height and boost vertical jump performance to similar degrees in combination with very different resistance training protocols, indicating that the plyometric jumping contributed to the increased jump height more than resistance training. Research into plyometric jumps found vertical jumps to be among the highest in terms of muscle recruitment (as measured by electromyography), power output, and ground reaction force produced. Fatigue has been researched in athletes for its effect on vertical jump performance, and found to decrease it in basketball players, tennis players, cyclists, rugby players, and healthy adults of both genders.