Basketball and volleyball players: are you springing to improve your vertical jump this off-season? Of course you are.
What if we told you there's an easy once-a-day activity that can boost your vert? There is—and we can't imagine a simpler way to achieve the complex objective of jumping higher.
Locate an object that's slightly out of your overhead reach—a basketball hoop, a street sign or a large door frame. Just make sure it is conveniently located so you can do this every day. Every time you walk by that object, jump and attempt to touch it with your hand. Do so each and every day until you make contact.
The simplicity of this exercise is what makes it so effective, says Jason Roberson, strength and conditioning coordinator at Ball State University. "It's an exact goal, an exact height, and you know exactly what you have to do to get there. You can do all the plyometrics in the world, but if you don't understand why you're doing the exercise, the chances of doing it wrong increases. If I say 'go touch the rim,' everybody understands that."
Not that you should avoid weight training exercises and plyometrics. Lifts such as Squats and Lunges will supply you with lower body strength, and plyometric exercises will enhance your explosive capabilities. These training methods will equip you with the power you need to fly higher.
The simple act of jumping to touch a backboard will allow you to put that power into practice.
Says Roberson, "It's the repetitive nature, not volume, but the repetitive nature of doing something once or twice every single day that builds a great vertical jump."
Once you elevate your vert, then what? "Find something higher and do the same thing," Roberson says. And if you run out of options? Roberson suggests keeping it sport-specific. For volleyball players, he says, "The first time you block with your wrists over the net, try and reach with mid forearm, then go for elbows to the net."
Basketball players: first go for the net, then the bottom of the backboard, and finally the rim. Be creative. The sky is the limit [not really, but you can keep getting closer].
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock