How to Increase Your Vertical Leap

How to Increase Your Vertical Leap
Written by Juliet Walmsley

There are two primary ways to increase your vertical leap: strengthening your legs and reducing your overall weight. The calf muscles are the body’s main engines for jumping, making them the major target for strengthening. A number of possible exercises and additions to your daily routine can be implemented to improve leg strength and burn body fat, but don’t expect to get anywhere without dedication.

Stationary jumps

Whenever you’re trying to get better at an activity, practicing that activity is usually a smart way to start. So, when trying to increase your vertical leap, begin by performing sets of stationary jumps. Standing in place on a flat surface, perform a series of normal jumps for between ten and twenty repetitions. Try to jump as high as you can on each repetition and make sure you jump off of your toes. As soon as your toes hit the floor, jump again quickly.

You could also perform box jumps, in which you repeatedly jump onto a stable stationary box or another solid even surface. Don’t try to do box jumps right away unless you are already in at least decent physical condition.


The motion of a squat almost mimics the motion of a jump. Squats target the entire lower body, working the midsection, thighs, and calves. While maintaining good posture, just as its name implies, bring yourself from a standing position to a squatting position, then lift back into the set position; this is one repetition. Squats can be performed with or without free weights. Once you are comfortable performing a simple squat, add some weight to it by holding a barbell across your upper back during your workout.

Suicide Leap

Not the lethal version – the sprinting exercise. Running suicides is a very common exercise in basketball among coaches and strength trainers because of its ability to strengthen just about every muscle in the legs. To run suicides, begin at a baseline on an athletic court, track, or sidewalk. Sprint about 15 feet out, touch the ground with your fingertips, then sprint back to the baseline. Next, sprint about 30 feet out, touch the ground and head back to the baseline. Repeat this process at 45 feet, 60 feet, 75 feet, and 90 feet to complete a full set. On a basketball court, you might start by sprinting to the free throw line, then the quarter-court mark, half-court, three-quarter court, the opposite free throw line, and finally the opposite baseline.

Easing the Burden

If your legs have less to carry, they will be able to lift you higher. Losing body fat can be the fastest way to increase your vertical leap if you are overweight. Try to expend between 200 and 400 calories more than you take in each day. Measuring what you take in is the easy part; simply read the nutrition facts of what you are eating (and stick to the serving size).

Calculating how many calories you burn is a little trickier. The average 175-pound person with a low activity level expends about 2000 calories per day. As you increase weight and activity, calories expended increase as well. You can make some simple changes to your lifestyle to increase your general activity level such as getting up and walking around every once in awhile and taking the stairs instead of the elevator/escalator. Working out four or five times per week while maintaining a reasonably balanced diet is really the only way to get desired results.

About the author

Juliet Walmsley

Juliet is a Michigan University graduate of 2003 and a former lead fashion design manager for Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. Between writing on her blog, Juliet and Co, she loves shopping, chocolate sprinkles and walking on sunny beaches.

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