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Many elite jumpers didn't use fancy exercise equipment.
Contrary to popular belief, attaining a higher vertical jump isn't a result of wearing fancy jump shoes or using expensive gym equipment. In fact, many people have attained impressive jumping ability by doing body-weight workouts at home. If you want to jump higher but don't have access to gym equipment, body-weight vertical jump exercises are your ticket to success.
Bulgarian Split Squats
The vertical jump requires lower-body strength, particularly in the gluteals, quadriceps and hamstrings. One of the best exercises for developing strength in your jumping muscles is the Bulgarian split squat. Stand in front of a stable chair that is no higher than knee height. Take a large step forward, balance on one leg and place your other foot on the chair behind you. With the top of your foot maintaining contact with the chair, gather your balance and brace your core. Lower toward the floor by bending your hip and knee and keeping your torso upright. Lower until your front thigh is parallel to the floor. Extend your knee and hip to return to the standing position. Repeat for six to 12 repetitions on both legs for two to four sets per workout. Aim to perform the Bulgarian split squat two to three times per week on nonconsecutive days.
Leg strength is key for the vertical jump, but lower-body explosiveness is absolutely crucial. An effective exercise for building explosive legs is the step-up jump. Stand facing a stable chair that is no higher than knee height. Place one foot on the chair. Explosively push off the chair as you jump into the air. Switch legs in the air, land softly, and repeat the explosive jump with the other leg. For example, jump off the chair with your right leg and land with your left leg on the chair, then jump off the chair with your left leg and land with your right leg on the chair. Perform four to eight repetitions on each leg. Complete two to four sets per workout. Aim for two to three workouts per week on nonconsecutive days. Consider that the step-up jump is an advanced exercise and should only be performed if you have adequate leg strength and no lower-body injuries.
Plyometric exercises are great for improving your vertical jump. Plyometrics, also known as jump training, works through the stretch reflex mechanism -- when a muscle perceives stretch it responds with a forceful contraction. One of the classic plyometric exercises is the depth jump. Stand on a chair no higher than knee height. Step off the chair and allow yourself to fall toward the floor while preparing your body for a safe landing. As soon as your feet make contact with the floor, explode into the air with a maximal jump. The key to the depth jump is exploding off the floor as fast as possible. You should not be on the floor longer than 15 seconds, notes certified strength and conditioning specialist Joe DeFranco. Because of this exercise's high intensity, perform only three to six repetitions for two to four sets. Complete no more than two workouts per week with at least 72 hours of rest in between workouts. The depth jump is an advanced exercise and should only be performed if leg strength is adequate and you have no lower-body injuries.
The core is essential to transfer force throughout the body. To allow your lower body power and your arm swing to work in synergy, you must develop a strong core. A simple, yet effective core exercise for improving your vertical jump is the plank. Place your elbows and forearms on the floor and come onto your toes. Keep your hips and torso suspended in the air and completely flat. Brace your core by squeezing your gluteals, abdominals, obliques and lower back. Hold the plank position for 15 to 40 seconds, depending on your current fitness level. Do two to four sets per workout. Aim to complete two to four workouts per week on nonconsecutive days.