How To Jump Higher in Basketball

Basketball players are gifted with physical attributes, and one of those gifts is their leaping ability. There are many ways to measure a player’s athleticism, including speed, power, agility, and vertical jump. If you’re playing basketball, it’s always an advantage if you have an excellent vertical leap ability.

Having said that, there are tons of jumping exercises that young athletes can do. These exercises could strengthen their lower body and hips, and give them the power they need starting from their feet to their knees and up to their hips.

If you want to engage in intensive jump training, take a look at these challenging exercises that will surely boost your vertical jump ability.

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Effective Vertical Jump Exercises

One thing you need to know first is that going through vertical jump training is not an easy task. It will take a toll on your legs, and also challenge your endurance.

But then again, improving your vertical jump is not an overnight sensation. There are many elements to this kind of basketball workout, including enhancing your jumping technique and putting more power on your legs and hips.

To put things into perspective, there are no shortcuts you could take if you want to jump higher. But knowing where to focus on and what exercises to do should be your starting point.

Repetition and commitment — these should be the main ingredients that could help you jump as high as you can. To help you develop your leaping ability, here are the types of exercises that you need to include in your daily workout.

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Squat Jack

The squat is one of the basic routines in any workout, as it can add more flexibility to your glutes, thighs, and quads. Squats serve as one type of warm-up drill so that you won’t feel any tightness on your glutes and quads while doing an exercise. It’s a routine where you bend your knees and keep your feet shoulder width apart from each other.

While it is true that doing squats is more of a starting routine for many, you could still modify it if you need to include it in strength training. Some basketball players would try squat jumps, a challenging exercise where you’ll leap directly upward after a squat.

However, squat jumps, also called jump squats, may be too rigorous if you’re still not used to them. One way to ease up on the workload — without staying away from the benefits of squat jumps — is to dive into squat jacks.

What is a squat jack?

You know jumping jacks, right? A squat jack is a combination of two fundamental exercises: the jumping jack and the squat.

How should you do a squat jack?

The important thing at first is to keep a straight posture in your standing position. Your feet should be close to each other to gather more momentum to the next point.

Just like what you do in jumping jacks, jump with your feet stretching out. You can also do an arm swing as you jump or just keep your hands clasped together as in an ordinary squat position.

As you jump with your feet stretched out, you should simultaneously bend your knees and get ready for the squat position. Upon landing from the jump action, squat with your hips pressed back. Your feet shouldn’t be too near or too far to each other — “shoulder width apart” is the perfect way to describe the required distance between your two feet when squatting.

Remember to always put your weight on your heels when doing a squat. When squatting, don’t do a “tip-toe” as this could put unnecessary stress on your feet. Always have your chest up too, so you’re sure that you still maintain a good body posture.

Squat jack is a great exercise to build lower body strength and improve your vertical jump. As for repetitions, you can start with the number of reps that you’re comfortable doing. But as you progress, you should also increase your reps and try to land softly when you practice jumping.

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One-Leg Lateral Hops

When you’re playing basketball, you can’t always jump off two feet. Jumping off the ground with two feet is usually applicable to taking long-range a two-foot jumper or going straight up when you’re very near the hoop.

But if you’re gaining momentum off a drive from the perimeter, you need to jump on a single leg to take a layup or a running shot. Whether it’s your left foot or right foot, you need a combination of strength and balance for a one-leg jump.

Having said that, an exercise called one-leg lateral hops could be a good drill to have strong legs. Continue reading below to know how more about this workout.

What is a one-leg lateral hop?

A one-leg lateral hop is a great way to work on your leg strength, including your calf, hamstring, and quads. This is not just a drill for jumping higher, as many athletes use this to improve their speed, acceleration, and reaction time.

From the name itself, a one-leg lateral hop, also known as single-leg lateral hop, requires you to hop side to side with one leg on the ground, while you lift or bend your other leg in front of you.

How should you do a one-leg lateral hop?

For your starting position, stand on one leg with your other leg either lifted behind you or bent in front of you.

To execute the lateral hop, you need to slightly and slowly lower your jumping leg, then jump side by side. Take note that you don’t need to jump very high on this drill. Just jump as high as you can while still balancing your body when you land.

Repeat the drill with your other leg. Repetition is key but remember to also work on your balance. You can also swing your arms slightly forward as an arm swing gives you more balance when you jump.

If you want to increase the impact level of this exercise, you can do it while lifting a dumbbell, med ball, or kettlebell. Just make sure that you’re not overdoing it, as this could put a lot of stress on your foot.

Same as with the squat jacks, start with the number of reps that you’re comfortable with, then increase your sets as you get used to the drill.

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Box Jumps

Now we’re getting to a more challenging type of vertical jump drill. Box jumps is an exercise that is very popular in plyometrics.

Moreover, this is one of the jumping exercises that offers more avenues for modifications. You can do the box depth jump, or even do step-ups instead.

There’s a big difference in doing squats and box jumps so make sure that you’re ready for this type of high-impact workout.

What is a box jump?

A box jump is a workout that could help you jump higher. You make use of a plyometric box and jump on top of it.

Depending on your body weight and preparedness, you can do a box jump with one foot or two feet. Others also do the step-ups training, which is a good way to also build your cardio and endurance.

If you feel that your body is ready for this kind of challenging basketball training, then continue reading below for instructions on properly doing box jumpsPut.

How should you do a box jump?

For your starting position, make sure that you’re not too near or too far from the plyometric box. You could stand about five to seven inches from the box.

Bend your knees slightly as you ready for your next jump. You should also swing your arms behind to gather momentum and balance.

Get your strength from your knees and hips as you jump up and towards the box. As you land, bend your knees again as this can support you and give you more balance.

Most importantly, don’t jump from the box back to the ground. Just step off the box as you get ready for your next jump.

Remember to take a rest in between sets. This can help you breathe in more air and help you avoid from quickly getting burned out.

If you want to make this more challenging, you can always use a medicine ball or a gym plate. We recommend that you consult your trainer or coach before doing box jumps, especially if you’re going to use weights.

Effective Vertical Jump Programs For You

The exercises we listed for you above are just separate routines that you can do everyday. If you want a more comprehensive, and frankly more challenging, routine to follow, then we suggest that you try a vertical jump training program.

Of course, you don’t have to do this program each day of the week. You can’t focus on solely on your legs, as you also need to work on the other parts of your body. And as a basketball player, you also need to play on the court and improve your skills too.

Having said that, here’s a couple of programs that could improve your jumping ability.

Beginner Vertical Jump Program

If you’re still getting your feet wet in jumping but you’re really serious about this physical attribute, try this routine that could help you jump higher.

Consistency is key but make sure that you’re also getting enough rest. You can incorporate this program two or three times in your weekly schedule.

Types of exercises

For the beginner program, you can work on the exercises listed below. You can follow the corresponding repetitions and sets, or you could increase them if you want to add more impact to your workout.

  • Squats – 8 to 10 repetitions (3 sets)
  • Jumping Jacks – 20 to 25 repetitions (3 sets)
  • Squat Jacks – 15 to 20 repetitions (3 sets)
  • Single-Leg Lateral Hops: 12 to 15 repetitions each leg (3 sets)
  • Hip Thrusts – 10 to 15 repetitions (3 sets)
  • Planks – 30 to 40 seconds (3 sets)


You can do this program for about four weeks, and at least two times each week. When you get past the fourth week, we recommend that you consider shifting into a higher-impact routine. This way, your force development won’t stay as it is, and you’ll be able to progress in your goal to jump higher.

Advanced Vertical Jump Program

Your body should not stay stagnant in its development. It’s a continuous process of pushing yourself, especially if you really want to jump higher as a basketball player.

You can choose to skip the beginner program and proceed to the advanced one if you’re already used to physical training. However, we still recommend that you go through the beginner program as a sort of warm-up period.

As is the case in all the exercises we mentioned, rest is an important part of this program. Your muscles get sore and your legs might get burned out easily if you don’t do a proper recovery.

Types of exercises

  • Jumping Rope – 3 minutes with one-minute rest interval (3 sets)
  • Tuck Jumps – 12 to 15 repetitions (3 sets)
  • Lunges – 12 to 15 repetitions each leg (3 sets)
  • Box Jumps – 10 to 12 repetitions (3 sets)
  • Medicine Ball Twists – 35 seconds with one-minute rest interval (3 sets)
  • Medicine Ball Throws – 12 repetitions (3 sets)
  • Power Skips – 20 repetitions (3 sets)
  • Planks – 1 minute (3 sets)


You could do this advanced jumping program for four to six weeks. Don’t forget to do a warm-up routine before diving into the different jumping drills. You can do the different stretching routines you usually do as a basketball player, including the side standing reach, arm rotations, heel digs, and shoulder rolls.

Become a More Athletic Basketball Player

If you’re playing ball, athleticism involves a lot of areas. Jumping is just a part of the bigger picture, as you also need to work on your speed, power, agility, and stamina. There are no shortcuts though, as you need to build up your muscles and let them get used to the grind.

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