By emphasizing certain muscles in your legs, you can train your body for the force needed to leap high. Increasing your vertical jump will improve your rebounding, blocking, dunking, and make you an all-around better basketball player. Here are a few of CoachUp’s favorite exercises for improving your leg strength and vertical jump. If you ever need extra motivation to get through these exercises on a daily basis, just re-watch these gifs and focus up!
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For taxonomic purposes it is an important distinction, but the modifiers discussed below are often considered dunk types in common parlance. This misconception is perhaps attributable to the modifier being the most salient component of the dunk from the perspective of the observer. However, each dunk modifier requires a dunk type to be a successful dunk—albeit the most-basic dunk type.

In the past, it has been possible for players to dunk a basketball and pull the rim down so hard that the glass backboard shatters, either around the rim itself or, at times, shattering the entire backboard, or the entire goal standard fails. Reinforced backboards and breakaway rims have minimized this at the college and professional levels, but it still happens at lower levels.
Exactly which muscles are most important for improving the vertical jump is still relatively unclear, and may differ between individuals. Clearly, the spinal erectors, hip extensors, quadriceps, and calf muscles are all involved in the jumping movement, and the hip extensors and quadriceps are likely the prime movers, but which of the hip extensors is the primary muscle is very unclear. Importantly, since force production is required right up until take-off, the lower body muscles must produce force from moderate through to short muscle lengths, which differs from the barbell back squat exercise.
For taxonomic purposes it is an important distinction, but the modifiers discussed below are often considered dunk types in common parlance. This misconception is perhaps attributable to the modifier being the most salient component of the dunk from the perspective of the observer. However, each dunk modifier requires a dunk type to be a successful dunk—albeit the most-basic dunk type.

In the past, it has been possible for players to dunk a basketball and pull the rim down so hard that the glass backboard shatters, either around the rim itself or, at times, shattering the entire backboard, or the entire goal standard fails. Reinforced backboards and breakaway rims have minimized this at the college and professional levels, but it still happens at lower levels.
Similar to building explosive power by jumping over a stationary object, hurdles allow you to practice your leap. Space eight flights of hurdles two feet from each other and aim to jump over each like a pogo stick—basically, as high as you can. Repeat this for 10 repetitions: one flight of eight hurdles equals one repetition. Do this twice per week.
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This is why using a slightly deeper countermovement often increases jump height, because the larger range of motion allows the muscles to exert force for a longer duration of time before take-off. Jump height *can* increase even though the force produced is almost always smaller. (Force is smaller when the countermovement is deeper partly because shortening through a longer range of motion leads to a faster contraction velocity, on account of the force-velocity relationship, and partly because the leverage of bodyweight on the lower body joints is larger with a deeper countermovement).
When I started to work on the video tool that measures vertical jump, I had to dust off my old textbooks to learn about the relationship between hang time and jump height. And to my surprise, it turned out that the vertical jump is a great (and interesting!) example of the laws of physics at work. You can really learn about the relationship between velocity, acceleration, forces and hang time. Definitely more interesting than the average example of your physics textbook!
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.
An important component of maximizing height in a vertical jump is attributed to the use of counter-movements of the legs and arm swings prior to take off, as both of these actions have been shown to significantly increase the body’s center of mass rise. The counter-movement of the legs, a quick bend of the knees which lowers the center of mass prior to springing upwards, has been shown to improve jump height by 12% compared to jumping without the counter-movement. This is attributed to the stretch shortening cycle of the leg muscles enabling the muscles to create more contractile energy. Furthermore, jump height can be increased another 10% by executing arm swings during the take off phase of the jump compared to if no arm swings are utilized. This involves lowering the arms distally and posteriorly during the leg counter-movements, and powerfully thrusting the arms up and over the head as the leg extension phase begins. As the arms complete the swinging movement they pull up on the lower body causing the lower musculature to contract more rapidly, hence aiding in greater jump height.[5] Despite these increases due to technical adjustments, it appears as if optimizing both the force producing and elastic properties of the musculotendinous system in the lower limbs is largely determined by genetics and partially mutable through resistance exercise training.[6][7]
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