A good Vertical Jump starts with learning how to land properly. But to actually increase your jump performance, you need to teach your hips, knees and ankles to work together.
During a jump, your hips, knees and ankles simultaneously extend while your arms swing up through shoulder flexion. This is called triple extension. Individually, these actions are simple to perform, but they can be difficult to coordinate.
Problem is your glutes and calf muscles are used primarily to propel you forward when walking and running. Also, most exercises train the glutes with the feet flat on the floor and no arm movement, so the calves never learn to forcefully contract to provide an extra push into the air from ankle extension.
A simple solution to this problem is the Triple Extension Isometric Hold. You simply stand tall with your arms overhead and hold the position. The ability to fire and hold the contraction of the glutes in this position helps to rewire your nervous system so that when you perform Jumps, your calves and glutes are sure to engage to propel you higher and protect your back.
This small exercise often proves to be the missing link for improving performance with the least amount of added effort. In other words, it can be an extremely efficient solution for improving the Vertical Jump.
To do this, perform a hinge (as when lowering into an RDL), then drive the balls of your feet into the floor to push yourself into a tip-toe stance with your arms overhead and your hips fully extended (hard glute contraction). Hold this hard isometric contraction for about five seconds, before sinking back into a hinge and repeating.
Watch the video above to see it in action. As you advance, you can also try the single-leg version below.
Master these drills and watch your Vertical Jump skyrocket!