No doubt about it, basketball is a really vertical game. While you need speed and quickness in combination with endurance to survive in the game of basketball, the vertical game: the up and down jumping is quite possibly the most desired attribute.
Why? Players who can jump higher than anyone else on the court should dominate the boards, rise up above anyone for a clear sight line to the basket (when shooting), become a nightmare on the defensive end, and “move the crowd” with a rim rattling dunk.
Simply put, coaches need players like the one I described above because they are the total package and capable of dominating and taking over the game at both ends.
If you look at the game today, you will find quicker, stronger, and more explosive athletes than generations past. A lot of today’s youth see these amazing athletes and wrongfully believe that they also must become a great athlete. This is not true, as I still believe you can win with a group of scrappers who leave everything on the floor and play a much disciplined brand of basketball.
Do not get me wrong, however, as any coach will take a group of supreme athletes and mold them later on.
Everyone always approaches me and asks, ‘Coach, how do I jump higher? What are some exercises to jump higher?’
I personally back this specialized offseason program through personal testimony. My brother, who is a terrific basketball player (and also a great athlete), spent two summers working with “Air Alert.” While the results are not instant, the jumping exercises provided in “Air Alert” enabled my brother to build strength and fast twitch muscle in the legs which in time improved his vertical.
Today he can easily dunk the ball with an above average vertical. I have also seen “Air Alert” improve his quickness and explosive power off the dribble and from a dead stop.
If you are interested in “Air Alert,” set aside 12-15 weeks of your summer for five days a week. “Air Alert” utilizes 5-6 exercises a day with a pre-defined number of sets and reps. You have to stick to this plan religiously. Find a location, whether it’s the local gym or your basement, where you can perform the exercises. Avoid concrete as it’s very hard on your knees and legs.
Drink plenty of water (I believe they recommend one gallon per day) and you’ll no doubt experience one of the best exercises to jump higher.
Power Clean and Toe Raises
My two personal favorite weight lifting exercises for jumping higher are Power Clean and Toe Raises.
Power Clean appears complicated at first sight, but is a technique you pick up after a few sets. The proper Power Clean exercises begins with a bar and weight one each side. The athlete hovers just above the bar with both hands gripping the bar (shoulder length apart), knees bent, and back as straight as possible with your head starring straight ahead.
The athlete explodes up from the crouch position as he or she lifts the bar up (until arms are nearly positioned directly flat ahead) and then rolls the wrists while pushing the bar straight to the chin. While doing this with the hands and arms, the athlete explodes vertically with the legs (so you’re standing upright once the bar reaches below your chin).
The purpose of Power Clean is to create explosiveness in the legs – something you’ll use often in the game of basketball. Athletes usually do 3-5 sets per day, once or twice per week to help improve jumping ability.
Toe Raises with weights is done in a variety of ways. My personal favorite is to use a squat bar with 20-25 pounds of weight to begin. Stand in an upright posture with your feet shoulder length apart.
You’ll then proceed to rise up with the heel until the toes are the only part of the foot still making contact with the ground. Proceed to lower back down until the heels hover just above the ground and then slowly rise up again. Athletes usually do 3-4 sets with 15-20 reps once or twice per week.
Always use a weight lifting belt to help support your back (for both of these exercises to jump higher) and find a friend to help spot (especially important for Power Clean).