I am having some doubts for quite some years !
Used to play basketball for some years and i was always a guy who could jump quite well(over 38 inch), i am 6 feet tall and dunking was an easy task.
We all know when we are prone to something like :

  • some guys have the shooting ability
  • some guys have the speed and agility
  • some guys have the court awareness

What is my point ? Well - When training to be a better basketball player you need to work on all part of your game ? right !
So which exercise for all can stop you from improving you vertical leap even thou they are basketball drills that might help you ?

I know this doubts of mine can seem kind strange but from my experience i can say the yes there are exercises that will stop you from jumping better.
Example :
Doing 5 mile runs.
Running with wights.
Doing plyos when you shouldn't.

And so on...
Basically What drills interfere with vertical training ?

I just what to know if others fell the same way and if so share the experience.

  • Exercises that can stop you from improving vertical leaps? Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 17:10
  • As it stands, your question is probably not a good fit for this site's format. Help center says: 'If your motivation for asking the question is I would like to participate in a discussion about ______", then you should not be asking here.' Your last sentence makes it sound very much like that.
    – user8119
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 18:48
  • maybe is true !
    – Up_One
    Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 18:54
  • I'm not sure what you are asking here. Are you asking how to improve your vertical in the context of basketball, or are you asking what drills interfere with vertical training, or both? Please decide on one aspect and clarify the question. It has the potential to be a good question. Commented Apr 1, 2014 at 19:41
  • 1
    Not a direct answer to your question, but potentially useful advice ... injuries interfere badly with performance! Be very careful with (or avoid completely?) dynamic weighted exercises (weighted squat jump for example). Without good form, you risk back injuries. Back injuries can stop you from ever being able to train towards your high jumping (slam dunking) goals.
    – zeFrenchy
    Commented Apr 4, 2014 at 7:59

1 Answer 1


To answer the question of what drills undermine vertical leap ability, we need to first discuss what's needed for a good vertical jump. First, there's two types of vertical jumpers: standing and running. A standing vertical jump is when you are stationary on the ground and leap up with all your strength, useful in football and weightlifting. A running vertical jump is when you need to get high while you are running such as volleyball and basketball style vertical. Since you're question is about basketball, you want to focus on the following drills or activities:

  • Strength training is useful, but you don't want to push for maximal strength or bulk. I.e. you want a high strength relative to your body mass.
  • Anything that increases the ability of your hip to generate power
  • Anything that makes you leaner.
  • Anything that may make you lose a bit of starting speed or acceleration won't hurt the vertical.
  • Anything that increases your top speed (both in jumping and in running), sprints for example.
  • Anything that increases your reactive strength, for example certain types of plyometric training
  • Anything that improves your stretch reflex (the body's ability to spring back resisting being stretched)

  • Need great calf and tendon output

Strength training can help you improve your relative strength, which is more important than your absolute strength for a running vertical--if you focus around the exercises that facilitate good jumping and don't get lost in the quest for heavier numbers. Rough guidelines would be to focus on things like these:

  • Kettlebell swings (improves the power generation at the hip)
  • Standing calf raises (improves your calf output, can help with tendons in the ankle as well)
  • Squats need to be deep enough to hit the stretch reflex in your glutes
  • Push press involves the hips as well as improving your shoulder strength. Overhead work will be more beneficial in general to a basketball player than bench pressing.
  • Focus on more sets with low reps using moderate weight (example 6x3 @ 70% intensity): the goal is to build strength without too much bulk.
  • Olympic weightlifting: builds hip power, and calf power through triple extension under load

This list is not complete, but it should give you an idea of things that can help a vertical and compliment basketball.

At the opposite end of the spectrum we want to avoid strength activities like this:

  • General bodybuilding (increasing muscle mass for looks more than function)
  • Power lifting (aiming for the heaviest squat/bench/deadlift you can)
  • Anything where you are slowly grinding out reps through great effort

Those activities can benefit a football player, but basketball players have different demands on them.

Plyometric Work

The biggest factor with plyometric work is the type of plyo you employ, followed closely by the frequency. You want to focus on reactive strength, not standing strength

  • Avoid standing box jumps (from a lower to higher platform)
  • Perform depth jumps (from an 18" box to the floor and immediately jump when you land)
  • Perform running jumps
  • Perform quick jump shots (helps your game, and your reactive power at the same time--double win)

As to frequency, it might be best to have one day a week devoted to explosive work that gives you enough time to recover for a game later that week.


This is one where you may or may not agree with me. It turns out cardio work's interference with power output is exaggerated. In short, while there are mild acute affects (i.e. short term) in the long term, long slow cardio will make you a better athlete. My high school basketball coach always had us run a couple miles before practice even started. In retrospect it was a good thing.

  • Some low intensity steady state (LISS) cardio work (running, cycling, etc) will help your recovery from difficult training and improve basic health factors. 20 minutes a day is plenty for this purpose.
  • Sprints are great
  • Suicides are also great, particularly since it also reinforces that stretch reflex in your calves as you change directions quickly

Skill Work is always important. The more you work at a skill the better you get at it. Your coach will have you running drills that are designed to bring the best out of you as a player. You'll always have to do what your coach says--or you won't be on a team and your vertical will be pointless. The coach should have his pulse on what makes his system work, and where his team needs more work.

The biggest challenge you'll have is to make sure anything you do outside of practice doesn't interfere with practice, or worse the game. If you play once a week, load the week so you do the bulk of your strength and plyometric work a day or two after your game and then taper off the closer to your next game (perhaps doing no outside work the day before a game). If you play twice a week, that's even more challenging but the same principles apply. You just might have one strength day and one plyo day a week.

  • i would up-vote you answer 10 times but i cannot do so - excellent answer and it clears-out my doubts thx
    – Up_One
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 17:09
  • Always been a strong guy for as long as i know even now at the age of 33 i can squat my body weight 2 time (180 kg) for about 4 times. - and i think i need to stop squaring and go more on the speed side and track drills
    – Up_One
    Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 17:12
  • Dan John said that for the average athlete if you can squat your body weight 10x squatting more is just diminishing returns on athletic performance. Commented Apr 3, 2014 at 18:30

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