Your vertical isn’t just going to magically improve by sitting around all day or doing random exercises. The best exercises to jump higher are effective and targeted.
1. Jump Squat
If you are looking for the absolute best exercise to jump higher I would recommend this one. It combines the actual action of jumping with weighted resistance. If life has taught me anything it is that the best way to improve at something is by doing that thing. You can use dumbbells or a bar for this exercise. Make sure you are careful about how much weight you use. This exercise can put you at risk of injury if not done carefully and intelligently.
When people think about jumping they tend to focus mainly on the legs. And for good reason, they are without a doubt the most important part. However, the back, especially the lower back plays an extremely important role as well. A deadlift done with proper form helps develop both of these muscle groups with an emphasis on the lower back. This is definitely an exercise you will want to do if you are serious about jumping higher.
3. Box Jump
This one is about as straight forward as it gets. Box jumps can be a good way to consistently make sure you are getting to at least a certain height on each of your leaps. I would recommend not pushing the envelope too much on this one though. Don’t get yourself in a situation where there is doubt whether or not you have it in you to jump that high again (or for the first time). All it takes is one missed jump to seriously hurt yourself.
4. Calf Raises
Calves are a muscle within the leg that is very helpful toward jumping higher and giving you a little extra advantage from pushing your toes down. Having them be the last part of the foot touching the ground. Calf raises somewhat mimic this motion and result in stronger calves overall. I recommend you do these with additional weight.
Lunges are another great leg exercise to improve your jumping ability. Again weighted is recommended as long as you can do them safely. You can do normal lunges or the version where you jump and switch legs. For that version you probably don’t need to be using weights.
6. Depth Jumps
To do these you start on top of a box. Then you step off and do your best to absorb the contact with the ground. You follow this by exploding up as fast as you can. I like this one because it helps to improve the reaction/twitch speed and power of your muscles. Which is extremely important for jumping higher. Something that VertShock focuses on and one of the main reasons I recommend it. I go farther into this in my review of the VertShock System.
7. Good Mournings
The logic behind this being one of the best exercises to jump higher is similar to that of a deadlift. It strengthens the lower back as a whole and somewhat simulates the motion the back goes through when jumping. However, it does not overall mimic the form of jumping to the same extent of a deadlift. So if you are only going to choose one say good night to good mournings (World Class Comedy).
8. Single Leg Step Up Jump
To do this exercise you start with one foot on a box and one foot off. You should be facing the box. Then explode up and land with both feet on the box (There is a different version of this where there lower foot goes back down to its starting point that is also very effective). This is a very unique exercise that can be very useful towards jumping higher. Be careful and make sure you safely land on the box with both feet touching at the same time.
9. Single Leg Hop
For this exercise you just jump up off of one leg. This is a great way to isolate each leg and see which one you can jump higher off of. Which can inform you if there is a large discrepancy between one leg and another. So you can spend time trying to even them out.
10. Vertical Jumps
I really hope you understand why this one would help. The fact is if you want to jump higher you should spend some of your time jumping as high as you can. This will allow you to measure your progress while building upon it.
So what is the absolute best of the best exercises to jump higher?
I would say the jump squat. Hard to imagine something being more effective than weighted jumping. To see a squat jump tutorial click here.
Should I do all of these “Best Exercises To Jump Higher”?
Not necessarily. A few overlap in the muscles they work on and the purposes they serve. I recommend giving all of them a try at some point to see how much you like them and whether or not you want to add them to your workout program. The best workouts are the ones you want to do because you actually end up doing them.