10 Basketball Drills To Increase Jumping Ability

basketball drills

In the world of basketball, we all want to be like Mike.

But there’s a not so little known secret to Michael Jordan’s success –  practice or training if you will.

The greatest basketball player of our time spent hours upon hours practicing basketball drills to improve his vertical.

Sure, genetics play a role in one’s ability to rocket through the roof. But if you’re wanting to improve your jump height, things like lateral movement, explosive power, and speed are all important aspects of doing so.

And the good news is these contributing factors can be developed and improved upon in the gym- no gene pool required.

Not sure where to start? We’ve got the 10 best basketball drill exercises to maximize your jumping ability here:

 1. Foam Rolling

Often referred to as self – myofascial release, foam rolling helps activate your muscles before you begin the intense basketball drills below. We’ve all seen players’ warm-up on the court before a game, foam rolling is a warm-up for your muscles- increasing blood flow and releasing tightness in areas to allow for proper movement.

Perform:

Focus for a minimum of 30 seconds on the following areas:

  • Calves: Place roller horizontally under left calf near the heel. Rest opposite leg on floor or cross over left leg. Slowly shift back to allow the roller to move up your calf towards your knee. Then roll back down.
  • Piriformis: Sit on top of roller, knees bent, place the foot on opposite knee. Lean into one side of the glutes and roll back and forth. Switch sides.
  • Quads: Lie on your stomach and place roller under the top of your quad muscles. Roll forward to the top of your knee and back.

2. Split Squat

There is much debate over which type of training bilateral or unilateral is better for developing athletes. However, recent studies have documented greater improved strength and power when unilateral or single leg training is utilized. This is the idea behind split squats for improving your vertical leap.

Perform:

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Get into a staggered stance with the back foot placed on the ground or elevated on a bench and front foot facing forward. Flex knee to lower body until thigh is parallel to ground.  Immediately drive heel of your front foot down to push yourself back to starting position. Switch sides after all reps are completed. Can be performed with weighted dumbbells to increase the load.

3. Depth Jump

These jumps are instrumental in improving your body’s reaction time, helping your lower body’s muscles lengthen and activate quicker when you feel a dunk coming on.

Perform:

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Begin by standing on a box no more than 8 inches off the ground, you can increase the box height as you work up to in the coming weeks. Step off box, landing briefly to absorb energy and immediately accelerate up, jumping as high as possible. Take a few seconds to rest then repeat.

4. Lateral Lunge

This next exercise has basketball drills basically in its name with all the lateral movement happening on the court. This move mimics the side-to-side footwork crucial to the game while working to prevent injuries by increasing hip mobility and stretching the groin area.

Perform:

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Start in a standing position, step left leg to the side while keeping foot pointed straight and feet flat. Next, squat as low to the ground as possible while maintaining straightness in the right leg. Push through left heel to return to standing and repeat. Switch sides after all reps are completed.

5. Bridge

We all know the glutes are where it’s at for gaining height on our vertical leaping ability. The glutes are after all the largest and most powerful muscles in the body. Including this exercise into your basketball drills means increasing glute strength which then improves your speed, power and energy conversion culminating in higher jumps. What’s better than that?

Perform :

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Lie on your back with knees bent and heels planted on the floor. Raise hips upwards toward ceiling keeping feet and shoulder blades touching the ground. Maintain a straight line from knees to shoulders. Hold for a two count and then slowly release back down without touching the floor. Repeat.

6. Dumbbell Press

We can only assume you’re working on your jumping prowess to improve your scoring and those shots take muscles too – predominantly your lats and back. This exercise works to build those.

Perform:

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Lying flat on a bench or stability ball, grasp a dumbbell in each hand. Fully extend arms directly above your upper chest, pulling shoulder blades together. Slowly release both arms down to the sides of your chest, pause and press back to starting position.

7. Pull-Up

Jump shots are one of the mainstays of leading scorers in the game today. Shooting a jumper requires shoulder stability as well as muscles from the lats, back, and wrists firing to get that ball to the hoop.

Perform :

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Place hands, palms forward, more than shoulder width apart. Lift your body up until chin reaches bar height and release to fully extended position.

8. Triple Threat

The name sounds a little intimidating but stick with us – you’ll want to add this drill to your training regime. By forcing the hamstrings, instead of the quads to be the prime mover in this exercise, you create balance – and add to your posterior strength essentially you’ll get more air!

Perform:

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Lay on your back with legs on top of a stability ball. Lift glutes off ground by squeezing to raise hips. In one motion roll ball towards glutes, then extend legs straight and repeat. Do not allow glutes to touch the floor.

9. Sumo Squat

This drill is great for adding power and building better knee stability throughout a jump.

Perform:

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Start with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart and toes slightly turned outward. Push back and squat down making sure to keep chest up. Can be performed with weight.

10. Medicine Ball Squat to Press with Jump

Time to reenact an actual dunk! Speed is the objective with our final basketball drill exercise. This move works to increase quickness by recruiting fast twitch muscle fibers.

Perform:

3 sets of 8-10 reps

Start in standing position holding a medicine ball between hands at chest height. Squat down until elbows touch knees, then explode upwards as fast as possible, simultaneously lifting medicine ball into the air mimicking a basketball’s trajectory. As soon as your feet touch the ground, repeat.

Basketball Drills as Part of a Balanced Routine

To improve your jumping ability, use these basketball drills as part of an integrated approach to whole body training. To be a top performer on the court – your body must be built with balance in mind.

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