Lately there has been tons of vertical jump threads. I thought I'd make one to end all this and help everyone out. I'd really appreciate if people could add their experiences and knowledge.
I want to keep the science as simple as possible for people. Vertical is basically power.
And Power = Speed x Strength.
So you need to improve either your strength or speed at which you release the strength to improve your vertical. That doesn't mean you should be working out with sissy weights doing tons of fast reps but you shouldn't being doing slow reps to feel the burn either.
Most people are in need of more strength to improve their vertical. This is what you are going to focus on the most because it easier to improve your strength than your speed.
You should be working out with about 80%-100%. You should be doing strength routines not size like bodybuilders might do.
Strength training programs are generally in the 5 rep range. Most vertical jump programs I've seen will have reps under 10 and sets of 3.
You should be rested in between sets for 3-5min. You want to be lifting heavy and dont want to be burning out your muscles.
The main exercises you should be doing are squats and deadlifts. These lifts are very important and make sure you learn proper form. A leg press is not as good as a squat but it is better than nothing.
Other exercises would be lunges, calf raises, glute-ham raises etc.
Either find a good vertical jump or strength training routine to do for legs or try to make one up on your own using those principles. Workout about twice a week with squats and deadlifts on opposite days.
Speed training will be done by plyometrics. Plyometrics will benefit you best after you have more strength.
Plyometrics Wikipedia definition:
Plyometrics is a type of exercise that uses explosive movements to develop muscular power, the ability to generate a large amount of force quickly. It may be used, for example, to improve the effectiveness of a boxer's punch, or to quicken the throwing ability of a baseball pitcher. Plyometric training acts on both the musculotendinous and neurological levels to increase an athlete's power output without necessarily increasing their maximum strength output.
Basically plyometrics are gonna be exercises without weights that will be pretty much different types of explosive jumps and you are going to want to use all your energy when doing these.
An example of plyometric exercise would be a jump squat. You go down into a squat and jump as high as you can. You could do 3 sets of 10 of that exercise. With 3-5minutes of rest in between each set. Do each rep immediately after the one before it.
Plyometrics should be done once or twice a week. Find a good routine or find out other exercises to do and create your own. Do not over do them or it will damage your joints. Do not do them on a hard surface it will be best to do them on grass.
Strength to bodyweight ratio:
Once you get strong and fast you might have lots of power but you still have to apply against the ground to lift your weight off the ground so the more strength you have compared to your bodyweight the higher you will jump.
That means lose excess fat if you are not 10% bodyfat then your fat is holding you back. And weight training should be focused on strength and not size but remember that doesnt mean you should be scrawny for every pound of muscle you gain you should gain 30% more strength if you are training properly. Most sprinters are pretty big and around 190 pounds.(Sprinting is closely related to jumping)
Important muscles in Vertical Jump:
The main muscles in your vertical will be your quadriceps, hamstring and glutes. Calfs and some upperbody strength from your shoulders when you swing your arms up as you jump.
Jumping TechniqueFrom what I learned playing basketball)
Some people are better at two foot and some one foot. Two foot is more quadricep dominant and one foot hamstring and such.
Two foot is usually more strength dominant and one foot is more reactive.
More recent dunk competions are dominated by two foot jumpers they say its because more of the athletes strength train with weights to improve their vertical and two foot benefits more from it.
I personally think two foot is better to get higher and you have more control. But I still practice my one foot jump because it feels so relaxed and its cool to be out of control when you dunk.
The main problem I've found with two foot jumpers is how hard it is to do a running takeoff. You gotta try to do it as fast as possible and make sure you dont do a hopstep to bring your feet together. It will take some work try watching some vince carter tapes. I've practiced but I still dont have it down. So your runner might not be much better than your standstill jump until you get better techique and a fast runup and fast jump stop and get more reactive. I know a two foot jumper and he can get way higher than his standstill and he has awesome techique just like carter.
And to get better at your one foot jump. It should be relaxed and just boost off the foot opposite you kick with when you want to jump. Try not too take too long strides when you do this jump. You should be able to get used to it eventually it may never be better than your two foot runner though. And dont expect it to be way higher than your standstill. Natural one foot jumpers usually just dont have very high standstill verticals. But once you get good techique for your one foot jump it should be higher than your standstill vertical.
Please everyone else help out with your personal experinces and what else you know. Reviews on different programs would help alot too and links to some good programs or strength training routines. I'll try to add more later too.
A good link on nurtition and how to lose fat would be helpful as well.