Michael "Air" Jordan is considered one of the best basketball players ever. A six-time NBA champion and a five-time MVP, he is also known for achieving vertical greatness, inspiring his own logo and millions of fans worldwide. With the proper training and dedication, you too can achieve vertical greatness. It is important to remain patient during training since you will be able to gain only a few inches every couple of months. A key to increasing your vertical jump is learning the basics.
Tips on Perfecting your Squat
Keep your back flat. Since power travels in a straight line, you want to position your body in a straight line as well.
Move your hips backward, then down. A well-executed squat should look like you are trying to sit in an invisible chair.
Keep your heels on the ground. This is essential for producing power from the correct muscle group. If you lift your heels off the ground as you reach the bottom of the squat, this will cause you to use your quads rather than your glutes to produce power.
Plyometric Exercises: Jumps in Place
Perform a squat jump. Get into a squat position with your thighs slightly above parallel with the ground. With your feet shoulder-width apart, interlock your fingers and place them behind your head. Then, explosively jump up as high as you can. Immediately repeat the jump after landing in a squat position.
Execute a double-leg tuck jump. Get into a comfortable position, with your feet shoulder width-apart. Begin with a counter-movement, dipping your body down before explosively jumping up. Using both hands, quickly pull your knees toward the chest and release before landing in the starting position; then repeat the jump.
Perform a cycled split-squat jump. Get into a lunge position with your hip and knee joints flexing at about 90 degrees. Then use a counter-movement to help you achieve maximum height. While in the air, switch the position of the legs. When you land, try to maintain the proper lunge position and immediately repeat the jump.
Do a pike jump. Get into a comfortable upright stance with your feet shoulder-width apart. Begin with a counter-movement and explosively jump up. Lift your legs to the front and keep them together and straight. Try to touch your toes with your hands while you are in the air. Then, after landing in the original position, repeat the jump.
Plyometric Exercises: Box Training
Perform a single-leg push-off. Stand facing the plyometric box (6 to 18 inches), with one foot on the box and the other placed on the ground. Keep your heel close to the edge of the box. Jump up using the foot on the box to push yourself off. Keep the same foot positions as you land and repeat the motion. You can increase intensity by using a taller box or alternating legs.
Execute a jump to box. Start by facing the plyometric box (6 to 42 inches), and get into a comfortable upright position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Use a counter-movement to help you jump onto the top of the box with both legs. Step down carefully from the box and repeat the jump. You can swing both arms to help you complete the jump, or you can keep your hands clasped behind your head.
Perform a squat depth jump. Get into a comfortable upright position and stand at the edge of the box (12 to 42 inches). Step from the box. As you land on both feet, fall into a squat position. Upon landing, quickly jump up vertically as high as you can and then land in the same squat position. Try to minimize the time on the ground. With proper technique and experience, eventually try to advance using only a single leg.
Try a depth jump to a second box. Use two equal plyometric boxes (12 to 42 inches) spaced 2 feet apart. Begin by facing the second box as you stand on top of the first plyometric box. Step from the box and land on the floor using both feet. Upon landing, Immediately jump onto the second box. Again, try to minimize the time spent on the ground. The height of the boxes and the distance in between will determine the intensity.
Things You'll Need
2 plyometric boxes, 6 to 42 inches highTips
Plyometric sessions should range from one to three sessions per week. Plyometric training sessions should be followed by 48 to 72 hours of rest. With any training session, a general warm-up lasting 10 to 15 minutes is required.Warnings
To avoid injury, the boxes used for box jumps and depth jumps must be sturdy and have a nonslip top. The landing surface used for lower body plyometrics should absorb some impact, such as a grass field or a rubber mat. Concrete, tile or hardwood is not recommended.Reference
NBA: Michael Jordan Bio"Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning"; National Strength and Conditioning Association; 2008Resource