A solid vertical leap is a powerful tool regardless of your sport. Of course, if you’re competing in a high jump event, this is obvious. But, your leap can come into play during a number of other activities as well. An impressive vertical jump will give you a huge advantage in sports like basketball and volleyball, but the explosive power needed for the jump can translate to other less obvious sports like football and sprinting.
The good news is that a powerful leap can be built with just your body weight and no other specialized equipment or weights. Just add these exercises to your routine and watch your vertical leap rapidly improve.
The first thing you’re likely to notice about these exercises is that they’re all some variation on a jump. Each one targets a specific muscle group needed for a strong vertical leap, while building the movement as a whole.
- Split Squat – Stand with your hands on your hips and lunge your left leg forward. Slowly lower your body towards the floor, placing yourself into a lunge position. Quickly jump up and switch the placement of your legs. Your right leg should now be in front and left behind. That counts as one rep. Do a total of six reps, switching your leg position with each jump.
- Box Jump – You’ll need a sturdy bench or box that comes to about your knees. Stand in front of it with your arms raised in front of you. Bend your knees, pull your arms back and jump up onto the box. Step down to your starting position and repeat for four reps.
- Vault – Stand with your hands placed on either side of the same bench or box you used for the jumps. In one motion, push your arms down and toss your legs and torso over the bench to the opposite side. Immediately repeat and return to the starting position. Keep this up for 30 seconds, rest for a minute and do 3 more sets.
4. Jump Rope – This one is fairly self-explanatory. It may take some time to get comfortable doing this for extended periods of time, but try to gradually work your way up to committing a full 20-minute workout to the simple act of jumping rope.
5. Calf Raises – Strong calves are key to a powerful jump but are often neglected in body weight workouts. Generally people feel that, unless you have added weight, you aren’t going to get an effective workout on your calved. The solution is simple, though: Add more reps. Fitness expert Obi Obadike, recommends doing 10 sets of 100 reps spread throughout the day, based on a technique used by Shaquille O’Neal during his college days.
Perform these exercises in succession for a vertical leap specific workout, or add them to your other workouts throughout the week. By targeting these motions, and their associated muscle groups, you’ll notice fast improvements in your vertical leap.