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I have been playing basketball a lot lately and I'd like to improve my vertical. Currently it's not terribly bad, but I'm guessing below the average competitive basketball player (somewhere around 30-32").

So, what are the best things I can do to increase my vertical?

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2 Answers 2

up vote 3 down vote accepted

You might be interested in a chapter of The Four Hour Body "Hacking The NFL Combine." It covers a training session with Joe DeFranco in which the author improves his vertical jump by 3 inches with some technique improvements. The focus is on an isolated jump, per the combine, but perhaps with some practice to drive these techniques into muscle memory you could work them into real-world usage i.e. basketball.

  • Shoulder Drive - The speed of your vertical descent into a half-squat will correlate into the maximum height. Start a jump with arms overhead like a diver and throw them down as fast as you can, recoiling with the same speed.
  • The Extended Arm - Don't pull the extended arm at the apex of the jump.
  • Squat Stance - Keep the initial stance narrow, with feet just inside the hips, back flat, and eyes on the target.
  • Hip Flexor Tightness - Static stretching of the hip flexors can tire them so they don't inhibit maximal leg extension. For best effect, do them right before the jump; of course this isn't possible during a basketball game, but perhaps this sort of stretching before the game will still be beneficial.
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Plyometrics and strength training.

I know that is a very general answer but I'm not one for saying "Do such and such an exercise and you'll get better" because a truly effective training plan has a lot of nuances that get lost in these short form answers. I can recommend a great book that'll help: Jumping into Plyometrics.

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