What fundamental exercises are done in order to develop a good vertical leap?

Is there one exercise that is the base foundation in maximizing your overall vertical leap?


2 Answers 2


There are two main factors which influence your leaping ability: maximal force production (MFP) and explosiveness (EXP). MFP denotes how much weight you can lift. EXP denotes how quickly that force can be produced.

Maximal force production is increased by doing heavy lifts. (Also, in accordance with periodization, and depending on your current fitness status, it would be wise to start of with a phase of hypertrophy. The bigger the crossection of the muscle, the more force can be produced) Heavy lifts implies lifting heavier than 80% of your one repetition maximum (1RM) for 1-4 reps.

For maximal transferral of force gains to vertical leaping, it is important to do axial exercises. They are the ones in which the feet are planted, and the torso moves vertically. Examples include squats, half squats, dead lifts, romanian dead lifts etc.

Explosiveness is trained by doing quick movements with lighter loads. Plyometrics and ballistic training are the prime examples. However there are more complicated types of training, such as Maxex and the french contrast method, that possibly yield better results, but are not advisable unless you are perfectly healthy and a professional athlete due to the high intensity and risk of injury.

Plyometrics involves hopping and jumping over, and from, various heights. Examples include standing vertical jump, standing long jump, drop jumps, hurdle hops. The higher the weight (of you and your gear) and the higher the jump, the higher the intensity of the training and the better the results. Ballistics involves doing fast movements while accelerating throughout the whole movement. Examples include front and back medicine ball throws, squat jumps and half squat jumps (with up to 40% 1RM).

If you are an experienced athlete, then you can incorporate these two types of training at the same time, even during the same practice. However, if you have less than 2-3 years of training experience, then i suggest you start of with basic strength training, then move on to maximal force training and finally do explosive training. That progression is needed in order for your connective tissue (tendons and ligaments) to adapt and strengthen so it can endure the high stress of plyometrics and ballistics.

As for your second question, I would suggest the half squat. Biomechanically it is the most similar movement to vertical leaping, and thus has the highest transferability of force production.

  • great answer ! with good details - the "french contrast method" it's also known as Russian method. I can do all with no problm is just my body weight that keeps my vert from growing :) 100kg for a 185 guy - to bulky
    – Up_One
    May 7, 2014 at 12:46
  • If you have extra padding, then you know how to increase your vert; its all relative power :) If you are pure muscle, then you have a good hypertrophic foundation for a high vert. Try doing a "strength deficit test" :) Here is one example, with a calculator: xlathlete.com/… May 8, 2014 at 12:36
  • need to loose some body weight! Maybe like 7-8 kg get around 90kg !! my sprinting routines are getting to stressful with all this weight!
    – Up_One
    May 9, 2014 at 11:52

I'd rec'm Plyrometrics / Jump Training. And to also be in the most optimum shape possible (cardio + weights). Something like P90X would be a good program because you're getting the complete body workout as well as doing Plyrometrics every week.

  • i would have to disagree with you ! vertica jump is now an overall or complete body workout !
    – Up_One
    Apr 3, 2014 at 11:22

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