Learning to fly: How to increase your vertical

by Aaron Sidenberg | January 6, 2015

As a kid, I can always remember having two Christmases. One fell on Dec. 25, the other was the day that the new Air Jordans were released. I couldn’t wait to get to the store with the money I had saved from doing odd jobs for family and friends just so I could lace up a brand new pair of kicks. I remember getting to the store and trying them on, walking around to make sure they were just the right fit and then taking a few practice jumps to make sure they were lighter and more aerodynamic than last year’s model. You see, these shoes were going to do more than just help me play basketball better; these shoes were going to make me fly.

My excitement for the latest release never really went away, but as time went on I realized to reach my goal of dunking it was going to take a little bit more than a pair of sneakers to defy gravity. That’s when I started searching for ways to improve my vertical.

The truth of the matter is if you haven’t started hitting the weight room yet, simply adding some overall strength training will reap benefits almost immediately. If you are a little more familiar with the iron, than a selection of exercises that are more specific will be the key to adding inches to your vert. Regardless of your starting point, the following exercises will help in your quest to defy gravity and reach new heights:

Depth Jumps

Depth Jumps

 

Depth Jumps

The depth jump is achieved when you jump off a box, land momentarily absorbing the shock, and then immediately jump straight back up while stretching your arms as high as possible to achieve maximum height. Adding a depth jump to your routine will do more than a static box jump as it teaches the body to use the absorbed kinetic energy from the landing and transfers that energy into the subsequent jump.

Resisted Sprinting

Resisted Sprinting

 

Resisted Sprinting

Add acceleration training to your routine in order to help build the spring in your step. Partner sprints using resistance bands are a great way to challenge your fast twitch muscles and it will also send your anaerobic training into overdrive.

 

 

Bench Vaults

Bench Vaults

 

Bench Vaults

Similar to resisted sprints, the bench vault will help make you quick on your feet, while also building a strong core and developing your shoulders. To perform a bench vault, place both hands on the sides of a bench, and in one fluid motion, jump over it, driving your arms down and pulling your legs, knees, and butt toward the ceiling. For added difficulty, try to remain suspended at the peak of the jump for as long as you can. Once your feet hit the ground, repeat in the opposite
direction.

Heavy Squats

Heavy Squats

 

Heavy Squats

Explosive power requires strength. Because you need powerful hamstrings to propel you into zero gravity, it only makes sense to use the best exercise out there. To really drive home the emphasis on this movement and its effectiveness, look to explode on the upward portion of this lift. Mimicking an actual jump by exploding through your squat will prime your muscles for the court. As with any movement, be sure to build up the weights slowly with proper technique in order to avoid injury.

Enjoy the flight!

Aaron Sidenberg is the co-owner of the Basement Fitness at 1212 Lasalle Blvd.

 

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