How to Jump Higher for Basketball

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Increasing your vertical reach on a basketball court can help you become a better ballplayer. If you're able to jump higher than other players, you have a better chance of grabbing rebounds, elevating higher toward the hoop or blocking your opponents' shots. Since the vertical leap stems mainly from your calf muscles, strengthening these muscles can give you the extra lift you need.

  • Add strength training to your exercise regimen. Grab a set of dumbbells, one in each hand, and lunge. Stride far enough so when you bend your knee, your legs form a 90-degree angle with the floor. Pause briefly, and then lunge with the other leg. Do six repetitions each for this exercise.

  • Work on plyometric exercises. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, and bend your knees. Flex your arms at a 90-degree angle. Explode toward the sky, extending your legs and shooting your arms above your head. Land in your original position, and repeat after a few seconds. Complete 10 repetitions per set.

  • Use the tips of your toes and stand on the edge of a step. Slowly push up and push down on your feet. Repeat this motion 30 to 50 times. This should help build up your calf muscles.

  • Jump rope. Make sure to jump on your toes, as this is the best way to strengthen your calf muscles.

  • Walk on your tiptoes for at least 15 to 30 minutes daily. After completing this, walk backward on your tiptoes for another 5 minutes. Make sure you know where you're going.

  • Complete sets of jumps. If you want to jump higher, it makes sense to work on your jumps. For explosive jumps, place your right foot on a bench. Jump as high as you can, scissor your legs in the air, and land with your left foot on the bench and right foot on the floor. Repeat with left foot. Complete three sets of 10 repetitions. For elevated jumps, stand on a bench and jump backward onto the ground, landing softly. Immediately jump back onto the bench with a bouncing motion. Complete three sets of 10 repetitions.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make sure you stretch thoroughly before attempting any of these exercises.
  • Keep repetitions low when doing strength training. It's not about how many you can do--it's more about building up the muscles.
  • Don't focus too much on only plyometric or strength training exercises. Make sure you work on both equally, as your body type should be the best indicator as to which type of exercise should work best for you.

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