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Most basketball players will come to a point in their lives where they want to know how they can jump higher and how to dunk a basketball.

You too have probably entertained this thought on many occasions.

Think about how a higher vertical jump would level up your game...

A more explosive version of yourself would block more shots, grab more rebounds and electrify the crowds with spectacular dunks.

How To Jump For Basketball and Dunking

Source: Giphy

Getting a significantly higher vertical jump is much more achievable than you may think. Sure it will take some serious physical effort, but the process need not be complicated.

Jumping high is not reserved for "the genetic freaks".

With the correctly prescribed vertical jump training protocol and dedication to mastering the art and science of the jump you too can add many inches to your vertical jump, in a matter of weeks.


Why A High Vertical Jumping Ability Can Help You Succeed As A Basketball Player

Players with an impressive vertical jumping ability are always the first to get noticed on the court.

​It is the players who are able throw down dunks in warm-ups that often get the crowd talking.

Coaches and selectors also love athletes that possess above average jumping abilities. 

Players who can jump higher are often selected over more skilled, but less athletic players. 

This is because many coaches know that they can teach skills and inherently believe that jumpers are born and not created.

This is simply a false assumption. Take a look at these jump training testimonials to see a number of real life examples of "average" athletes that became high flyers after training for 8 weeks.

So what if you don’t have a great vertical jumping ability?

Source: Giphy

Don't worry if you are vertically challenged. We can help you fix that. That’s what we’re going to focus on in this jump guide.

You see every able bodied person of any gender, height and weight has the potential to develop an impressive vertical jump that can wow any crowd.

Unfortunately, the majority of athletes never learn how to unlock the stored jumping potential within their muscles and tendons.

You are very fortunate for taking the time to read this guide today as you are about to learn a little secret that most athletes will never know...

You see, within our Achillies tendons we have what are called Golgi Tendon Organs (GTO) which are protective mechanisms that prevent us from expressing our highest vertical jump potential.

The Secret To Jumping Higher

The GTO's role is to sense changes in muscle tension and force your muscles to relax when they feel too much tension is applied to the muscles.

This process is great for reducing the likely hood of muscle strains, however this inhibitory process also limits the potential for muscles and tendons to store and transfer force into vertical jump height.

Over the past decade exercise scientists have discovered the best way to not only down-regulate your GTO's, but also excite the muscle to an even greater extent.

The result is pure vertical explosion!

This is achieved by following a professionally prescribed periodized vertical jump specific plyometric and strength training protocol. 

In this guide we’re going to break down the exact jump training techniques that are used by the top NBA and College basketball trainers

After reading this guide you will understand exactly how to train your muscles to produce more force and power in your jumps.

We hope you find this guide helpful in allowing you to get one step closer to achieving your dreams of playing above the rim.

It's not going to be easy, but the payoff will be worth it.

If you really want to jump higher and are willing to put in the work required you will achieve a higher max vertical jump. 

But to achieve your goals you will have to TAKE ACTION! YOUR JOURNEY STARTS NOW...

Step By Step Vertical Jump Training Guide For Jumping Higher

With the correct hybrid jump protocol (jump technique optimization + strength training + plyometric training) most athletes can add at least 10+ inches to their vertical jump over a 3 month period. We have seen athletes improve their max vertical jump height by as much as 20 inches in only 12 weeks.

In fact, people following some of the best vertical jump programs on the market are getting massive vert gains in only 8 weeks. Pretty impressive stuff!

Let's take a look at how you can start adding inches to your jump today...

How To Train To Jump Higher Than You Ever Thought Possible

The Step By Step Guide To Vertical Jump Training 

1. How To Use Goal Setting To Achieve A Higher Vertical Jump


 "Kobe Bryant Dunk " by By Cpl. Megan Stiner [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

The first question you should ask yourself is "why do I want to jump higher?"

Once you answer this question – formulate 3-5 goals for yourself.

Be as specific as possible when it comes to these goals and write them down so you can see them every day.

Be very specific. Visualize yourself achieving these goals. 

How would the ability to jump 10+ inches higher change your life?

I’ve always believed that if you put in the work, the results will come.”

Michael Jordan

EXAMPLE GOAL SETTING - The Reasons Why I Want To Jump Higher Are:
  • To lead the team in rebounds this season
  • To get my first in game dunk
  • To impress the coach at next seasons tryouts

These goals will provide your motivation and keep you accountable as you train over the next few months. 

Now that you have your goals set the next step is to start your vertical jump training regime.

Vertical jump training is very different than any other basketball training you have done before.

Lets take a look at exactly how you need to train to get a higher vertical jump.

2. How To Build A Stable Foundation Prior To Starting Jump Training

Before embarking on your journey to a higher vertical jump and intense jump training you must build a solid foundation of strength and stability. There’s a delicate balance between the strength in the prime movers of a joint (eg. glutes, quads), and the strength of the underlying stabilising muscles.

Basically, if your stabilizing muscles can’t stabilise the joint appropriately, it’s going to be near impossible to produce maximal strength, power and vertical propulsion.

Most quality vertical jump programs always build in an early stability phase.

Stability can be gained by training the muscles with low load and high instability exercises. Single leg lunges and other uni lateral exercises are excellent for this early phase of training.

3. How To Use Strength Training To Increase Motor Unit Recruitment

It is common knowledge that you’ll need stronger legs to jump higher – and the best way to get your legs stronger is by hitting the weight room. 

Some basketball players overlook the importance of lower body strength for basketball dominance – don’t let that be you. 

 "Derek Herridge " by Simon Fraser University is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The secret to jumping higher lies in the ability to recruit more motor units and fast twitch muscle fibers within the jumping muscles (calves, quads, hamstrings and glutes).

Strength training does not significantly improve the rate at which we can fire the muscles (rate coding), high velocity training is used for this. 

Vertical jump specific strength training essentially raises the threshold of the potential gains we can derive from high velocity training such as power lifting and plyometrics.

Basically, most quality jump programs will first build strength and then turn that strength into pure explosive power and bounce with high velocity training (we will discuss this in greater detail shortly).

Programs such as Vert Shock work by improving the rate coding aspect of vertical jump and don't require heavy lifting. Programs such as The Jump Manual focus more on developing both sides of the equation. Both have proven to get excellent results.

Heavy load strength training can increase tendon stiffness which can be a good and a bad thing. The tendons and muscles involved in jumping rely on compliance, so too much stiffness may be a hindrance.

Strength training can lead to muscle hypertrophy (muscle growth) which can help increase ability to produce more force. However too much muscle can decrease force velocity.

More muscle also adds more weight. Unless you are Zion Williamson excess muscle bulk will likely hinder your vertical jump gains.

Weight management comes down to nutrition more than the training protocol.

Beginner strength trainers often experience rapid gains in strength. However the rate of improvement will diminish over time. It takes years to build serious strength. 

But how strong is strong enough? There was a myth that you must be able to squat 2 x your body-weight before you should begin plyometric training. 

There is no evidence to support this claim.

Vertical jump training requires a multifaceted approach. At the end of the day relative strength and efficiency and velocity of movement is more important than absolute strength and how much you can squat.

Not sure what exercises to use to to build vertical jump specific strength?

The following exercises are a great way to get started:

Top 3 Strength Training Exercises Basketball Players Should Use For A Higher Vertical Jump


You can get instant access here.

1. Trap Bar Deadlift

The trap bar deadlift allows you to stay in a more upright position than a conventional deadlift. The trap bar deadlift is perfect for tall basketball players as the weight is more centered. This movement promotes leg drive and mimics the vertical jump better than any other strength training exercise. 

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2. Squats

Start with the bar behind your neck, resting on your shoulders and make sure you’re standing with your feet shoulder width apart. From this position, slowly lower your body by bending at your knees. You’ll go all the way down until you’re in a deep squat and holding that position for two seconds. Then you can slowly rise back up to your starting position. Make sure you keep your back straight and you’re bending at your knees. 

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3. Single Leg Squats

Take the form outlined for squats but instead of using both legs only use a single leg. You can use weight for this exercise or just use your body weight. 

It’s a great exercise either way!

4. How To Use Power Training To Increase Rate Of Force Development

Now that you’re working on your leg strength you also need to be working on your explosiveness as well. Here are some jumping drills to start doing . There are also some great weight training programs for basketball that can really help to enhance strength and explosion (plus give you that desirable lean athletic physique as a nice side effect!).

Jump Squats

Start with the bar behind your head resting on your neck or grab a couple of dumbbells and have at your sides. Start lowering your body to a squat, but when you rise up be sure to explode and jump up. On your landing, keep balance and make sure you’re landing on both feet.

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Tuck Jumps

With your feet shoulder width apart, bend down into a comfortable squat position and then jump up as high as you can and bring your knees to your chest.

High Reach Jumps

With your feet shoulder width apart, bend down into a comfortable squat position and then jump up as high as you can reaching for the sky! This drill is great to do under the basketball goal or near a wall so you can have a visual of how high you’re jumping – or how low you jump once you start getting tired. Try to reach the same height through all your reps.

5. How To Use Plyometric Training To Optimize The Stretch Reflex and Stretch Shortening Cycle

Plyometric training exercises reprogram the nueromuscular system for maximal explosion. There is quite an art and science to correct shock training prescription. 

Therefor it is always best to see a professional trainer or find a quality program to help you maximize your shock training results.

The results people get by using these "shock" methods are very impressive indeed. To learn more about shock training read our review of Vert Shock, the best selling plyo jump system.

Here is a great exercise to get you started.

Depth Jumps


You can get instant access here.

Vertical Jump Training F.A.Q

What Is The Best Way To Warm Up For Vertical Jump Training?

Before you start any jump training or basketball activity it is vital that you warm up and stretch the muscles correctly

A proper dynamic warm up will not only help reduce the chance of acquiring an injury but will also let you jump higher. 

Tight muscles such as the hip flexors can greatly limit hip extension range of motion which plays a major role in jumping.

Tight muscles are weak muscles and can't fully maximize muscle activation. 

Research has shown that the hip flexors play a major role in jumping.

It is very important to elongate and activate these muscles to ensure you optimize training capacity and long term results.

Loosening up your hip flexors prior to a jump session can give you an instant inch or two in vertical jump height.

Does Jumping Rope/Skipping Help You Jump Higher?

Jumping Rope is a great way to not only warm up but to also start working on your jumping. 

Jumping rope has you jumping quickly and focusing on getting up and down to make sure you’re over the rope.

Mix it up by adding a heavy jump rope – this will add to your ability to jump because the added weight makes you jump in a more explosive manner.

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However, be aware that vertical jump results derived from jumping rope are often short lived. 

By doing lots of small jumps, you will get good at doing lots of small jumps.

That's not what you want. 

You want maximum explosion!

Novice athletes will gain the most from jumping rope as this exercise will quickly strengthen the muscles, ligaments and tendons around the ankle and knee joint.

Jump rope is the perfect jump training warm up exercise as it primes the muscles and tendons for the demands of jump training.

Remember, for experienced basketball players who already do a lot of in game/training jumping, the results derived from jump rope will be minimal.

The true secret to an impressive vertical jump is understanding how to manipulate a variety of jump specific training variables correctly within your training program.  

However, as you are about to learn, creating your own periodized jump training program can be challenging, hence why so many athletes choose to purchase a "done for you" jump program.

All of the leading jump programs we have reviewed have a few things in common.

They all do a great job at developing absolute strength, power and reactive abilities. Emphasis should also be placed on optimizing vertical jump technique. 

Let's take a look at how you can develop all of these aspects of jump training.

TIP: If you are after a proven jump training program to follow definitely check out our Vert Shock Review and our review of The Jump ManualThese programs do a brilliant job of prescribing the correct load, volume and intensity of exercises in the correct order and amount to help you get fast improvements in your vertical jump.

How Can I Best Prepare My Mind For The Demands Of Jump Training?

If you really want to learn how to jump higher you must also learn how to prime your mind for vertical jump success. 

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Focus On Proper Mechanics and Form: For all the training you are doing, keep yourself accountable to using perfect form for every single rep. If you aren’t doing it the right way then you’re wasting your own time and energy. The only way to get better is by doing it the right way. The best ballers are obsessed with the details, the form, and the technique because they want perfection. That should be your goal too as you’re doing these different workouts and drills.
  • Use Visualization: The entire time you’re training to increase your vertical, start visualize how high you want to jump. Think about your steps, your form, your arms, and how high you’re going to be able to jump with all the hard work you’re doing. Being able to visualize yourself jumping higher is a great tool while you’re training.
  • Have Confidence In Yourself: Not only do you need to have confidence in yourself but also have confidence in the process. All of the time you’re putting into the physical and mental training will pay off – and you need to have confidence in that.
  • Perseverance is The Key To Success:  You won’t be able to jump out of the gym after one week of training – it will take time, effort, and endless repetitions. You have to be willing to put in the work – and some days that might not be easy. Your results may not show every day or every work out. You have to be able to look past that and keep on doing work.

Is jumping high genetic?

Your genetics do play a large role in your potential to jump high. Muscle fiber type and CNS efficiency are genetic traits that are often optimized in gifted athletes. Often these are athletes with a 40+ inch vertical. However a correctly prescribed vertical jump training plan can take a average joe and turn them into a high flyer. At the end of the day the biggest difference is an average joe will have to work for every inch of jump height. A genetic freak just had to choose the correct parents 😉

What muscles are used in a vertical jump?

The vertical jump uses the muscles in your lower body, including the quads, hamstrings, glutes and calves. It also recruits the muscles in your core and upper body for power and stabilization.

How can I jump higher in a week?

It is possible to jump higher instantly with the correct activation and mobilization exercises. You can learn about this in our free course

How can I jump higher without weights at home?

Yes you can jump higher without lifting weights. To jump higher without lifting weights you will have to focus on what is known as speed strength. You can do this by undertaking a well prescribed plyometric "shock" training protocol. Programs such as Vert Shock followed this exact principle and have helped thousands of people jump much higher fast without the need to lift weights.

What vertical do I need to dunk??

The average standing reach for a 6 ft male basketball player is 8 ft. Therefore this athlete would require a vertical leap of 24 inches to touch the rim.

Given that the average vertical jump for a male athlete is between 16-20 inches in this example this player would need to add an extra 4 inches to get a rim touch.

To dunk a basketball the player would need a vertical jump height enough to get him a rim clearance of 4 inches. Therefor a 28 inch vertical would be required. This is the average vertical jump height of an NBA player.

If this player wanted to throw down a spectacular windmill or 360 degree dunk a 30+ inch vertical would be required.

Will 1000 calf raises increase vertical?

Doing 1000 calf raises a day will help add a few inches of jump height in absolute beginner athletes. However it is important to remember that the calves only play a relatively small role in vertical jumping. Try jumping without bending your knees, use your calves muscles only and see how high can you jump. Not very high right? Don't get me wrong, calf training is very important. However, the calves should be trained using proven jump training principles and not low load high repetition training. To get better at jumping higher you want to train with explosive max effort exercises and strength exercises that develop rate of force production.

What helps you jump higher more than any other thing?

If you could do only one thing to improve your vertical jump you would want to choose to simply jump more often. High repetition jumps improve jump technique. The more you jump the more efficient you become at that particular movement pattern. Of course you will get much more significant jump gains from correctly prescribed jump training which incorporates strength training and plyometrics.

What is a good vertical jump height for an athlete?

The table below highlights the standing vertical jump height scale for males and females. The average vertical jump height for an NBA player is 28 inches. Any vertical jump height above 28 inches is considered excellent. Of course there are some athlete that break the "elite" 40 inch vertical jump barrier.

Table 1: Vertical Jump Height Rating Scale For Male & Female Athletes


Male (inches)

Male (cm)

Female (Inches)

Female (cm)


 > 40

> 40

> 24

> 60

Very Good



> 24

> 60

Above Average










Below Average






< 12

< 30

< 8

< 20

Can you train yourself to jump higher?

Any able bodied person can train themselves to jump higher. If you want to train yourself first thing you need to do is understand the principles of vertical jump training. This includes things such as optimizing the stretch shortening cycle, building strength and improving the rate of force development. Our jump guide covers these topics in great detail. Once you learn these principles you can design your own jump training regime. If you want to save time and start jumping higher today you can choose to follow one of the best vertical jump programs on the market. They all incorporate proven science based jump principles.

Do abs help you jump higher?

Everyone has abs. You can see some peoples abdominal muscles yet other peoples abs are covered by a layer of fat. When it comes to jumping higher it doesn't really matter if you can see your abs or not. Obviously a lower body fat level will reduce your power to weight ratio which can help you jump higher. The most important thing is that your abdominal and other core muscles are strong and provide stability. The core muscles are your link between the upper and lower body. Any weaknesses in the core will leak the power transferred from the upper to the lower body and back during the jump movement.

How Jumping Higher Can Make You A Better Basketball Player

Now that you know how to physically and mentally train yourself to work on your vertical it’s time to talk about what your increased vertical can do for your game – and for your team. 

The benefits of jumping higher will touch every part of your game – offensively and defensively. The benefits of jumping higher means you can…

  • Get more rebounds! By jumping higher, you’ll be closer to the rim and ready to rebound those missed shots. It also means you’ll be able to get those rebounds that use to be just out of your reach. Remember when you’d lose a rebound because someone could jump higher than you?
  • Block more shots! Now that you’ve got those extra inches in your vertical you’ll be able to get your hand on more shots. This will do wonders on the defensive end because even if you can’t get a hand on every shot – the other team will have to work around your shot blocking ability allowing you to shut down your opponent.
  • Create more turnovers! Or in other words steal the ball more. You’ll be able to jump up and steal those passes that teams try to make over you. This will allow your team to create more turnovers which means more offensive possessions for your team that can lead to more points.
  • Better scoring percentage! Like I said all these things you’re able to increase on the defensive end (rebounding, blocking, stealing) leads to more opportunities on the other end of the court. Not only that, but now you’re able to play around the rim which should increase your ability to score and make you a scoring threat at all times.
  • Increase your confidence! There’s something to be said about being able to have a solid vertical – it gives you a confidence that comes through in all aspects of your game. It makes you stand out on the court and be able to do more for your team.

>> See All Posts In Basketball TRAINING :

  • J.B Racolis says:

    This is by far the best guide on how to jump higher for basketball online. I look forward to giving these methods a try. My goal is to dunk by next season. I have 6 months and need to gain around 6 inches on my jump height to be able to get a 2 hand 2 foot dunk. Do you think this is achievable?

    • Ball Till We Fall says:

      Hi J.B, yes your goals of jumping 6 inches higher in 6 months is very achievable. With hard work and consistent effort you will likely gain more than 6 inches over a 6 month period. Good luck with your journey. Let us know how you go!

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