What Is The Best Vertical Jump Exercise?

Best Jump Exercise Ever? Practice Makes Perfect

By Jack Woodrup, Verticaljumping.com

Jump Exercise: Practice
Jump Exercise: Practice

Here at VerticalJumping.com we love squats, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, box jumps, power skipping, the 123 drill, and many more. But there is one exercise that rates above all else as the very best vertical jump exercise ever.

This particular exercise improves just about all the required athletic attributes for jumping high, and is head and shoulders above everything else at improving movement efficiency. Also if your sport requires you to do any jumping then this is the most sports specific exercise choice you can make.

Practice Makes Perfect

So what is this magnificent jumping exercise that trumps all others? The very best vertical jump exercise ever is, drum roll please, practicing jumping. Yep, it is that simple. As is the case with most things, the best way to improve at something is to actually go out and do it.

If you are training to jump for a particular sporting application then one of the best things you can do is to go and practice jumping as you would for that sport. For example to jump higher in order to slam dunk a basketball, go out, find yourself a basketball ring, and then spend time trying to jump up to it. At first you will work towards just touching it, then towards being able to grab it, and then, ultimately trying to get as much of your arm above the ring as possible. If you can get your wrist above the ring, then provided you can time it right, you should be able to dunk off a lob.

Practicing your actual jumping technique is one of the most commonly overlooked things you can do to improve your vertical jump. People often believe they need all sorts of fancy exercises, different sorts of weight training equipment, and cleverly designed programs, but it is amazing how often they overlook the basic act of going out and simply doing some jumping.

Spending time working on your jumping technique will help you jump higher in so many ways. First and foremost though it will improve your movement efficiency! This is a big one. If you have less than stellar co-ordination then you will be severely limiting your potential jump height. Poor efficiency means you cannot fire your muscles in the correct order to create a smooth and powerful jumping motion.

Practicing jumping also helps develop explosive strength and reactive strength in a manner specific to jumping. Box squats, power cleans etc also develop these strengths, but jumping itself is obviously going to help you improve these traits for jumping better than every other exercise you can do.

Basically all training you do is designed to force your body to adapt to its environment (also known as an adaptive response). Thus if you want to get stronger you must expose your body to continuously greater loads, usually by weight training. This sends the signals to your body that in order to survive it will need to develop greater strength. The same goes for jump training. If you want to jump higher you must go out and regularly try to jump continuously higher. The more you practice jumping high the greater reinforcement of the message to your body and the quicker it will adapt.

Just about the only thing jumping doesn’t do that well is to increase your maximal strength levels. This is better achieved using weights. At some point most athletes will need to spend some time getting stronger in the gym in order to fully maximize their vertical jump, but unless they have mastered the action of jumping in the first place, then really, they are just wasting their time.


If your training has stagnated and your vertical numbers are going nowhere maybe it is time you took a step back, removed all your other exercises from your program, and just went out and started jumping. You might be surprised how much you can gain simply by including a bit of sport specific jump work into your program.





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