High Jump Technique

Strength training, plyometrics, good nutrition and perseverance are all very important things to consider when training to increase your vertical leap. There is another part of the equation equally as important to increasing your vertical jump. That is, vertical leap technique. I have seen athletes who have put more time into vertical jump programs and training that still can’t dunk! Years of hitting the gym cannot teach good form, but this post can. Improving vertical jump technique is one of the easiest ways to add inches to your vertical.

100%. It’s very simple. You need to be using 100% of your body’s potential if you want perfect jumping form. If you are very close to dunking but can’t, try spending less time working out and more time improving your jump technique. There are a couple of things that can be done right now to your technique to increase your vertical leap. Lets go over the technique for jumping off of both legs first.

While trying to dunk or jump as high as possible off of two legs, you need to run very fast and convert that horizontal momentum into some sweet vertical force. Lets break the two legged vertical jump into four phases:

  1. Your approach
  2. Gathering energy
  3. Rising up
  4. Take off

The approach: If you run at a high speed and jump off of both lets, you will perform a small “mini jump” before you actually jump. It is during that mini jump that you are converting your momentum into force. A mistake I see many people make is that their mini jump takes too long and uses too much of their horizontal energy. Another place where people mess up is right after their mini jump. You want to eliminate as much time as possible before your real vertical leap. When practicing your approach, try to run towards the hoop with as much speed as possible while keeping your mini jump low and short.

Gathering energy: The gathering energy phase is the point right after your mini jump where you squat down to stretch your muscles and gain energy. The faster you can squat down and come out of this phase, the less momentum you waste. With less horizontal momentum lost, you give yourself more potential for a bigger vertical leap. The biggest difference between a great jumper and an amateur is shown in the first two phases. It pays off to practice these first two phases often. The goal is to have a small mini jump and fast squat before you actually jump.

Rising up: This is fairly simple. You want to straighten each leg smoothly. Don’t try too hard in this step. Trying to straighten your legs too quickly will result in a loss of vertical power.

Take off: Just before leaving the ground you want to concentrate on driving up off of the balls of your feet with as much power as you can find in yourself. You should be attempting to create holes in the floor with the balls of your feet.

The first three phases I’ve listed here account for 50% of the possible vertical gains in your technique. The other 50% is in the fourth phase. Before practicing your take off, make sure you have great form through the first three phases.

The technique for jumping off of one leg will be coming soon, so check back. Until then, good luck increasing your vertical leap. If you have any specific questions feel free to leave a comment.