The Kick-ass Guide to Smarter Vertical Jump Training

A shorter player dunk at 5'5"

Is it even possible to dunk at 5’5″?

You have come to the right place if you want to get some no-nonsense, practical tips on “how to jump higher.”

We’ll talk about the most beneficial exercises and go through almost everything you’ve ever wanted to know about vertical training:

  • Are you too young for jump training?
  • Stretching: to do or not to do?
  • Pool workouts to jump higher
  • Strength shoes: hot or not?
  • And more …

So who cares about their jumping ability anyway?

Well, increasing your vertical jump is obviously beneficial in basketball, football and volleyball. But really, any athlete can become more complete by improving their vertical leap.

The same exercises used in jump training will also increase your overall strength, overall anaerobic performance, and general athleticism.

In basketball specifically, you can also leverage an increased vertical to your advantage by not only being able to dunk, but challenge more shots as a defender. You’ll also become a better rebounder by being capable of grabbing a missed shot at a higher point.

Perhaps most importantly, by becoming a complete athlete, you will have more confidence in all aspects of your game.

So how many inches can somebody actually add to their vertical jump through training?

It sounds unbelievable, but it is possible to add as many as 15 inches to your leap by being committed to the proper training program. But remember, that much improvement is only possible if you stay motivated throughout your training and have healthy nutritional habits.

But you probably have seen people that were motivated and trained their butt off, but didn’t see any results. Right, that’s why you want to train smart, not just hard.

How many inches do you need to add to your vertical jump to be able to dunk?


Here some killer tips to train smarter and bring your training to the next level:

Tip #1 – Strengthening your Glutes and Hamstrings pays off!

The Glute and hamstrings account for around 65% of the effort in the act of jumping, studies conducted on the athletes with the best vertical jumps have shown. Focus on building strength in these areas.

Full-range squat is one the most effective exercise to improve vertical jump.

Get lower in your squat to get higher in your jump.


One of the best exercise to try is full-range squats.

Some athletes are scared of doing full-range squats and think it could damage their knees. Studies have shown that’s not true.1

So go ahead and get lower in your squats, but don’t go heavy at first and focus on doing it right.

Tip #2 – Train in the pool

Move some of your vertical training exercises in the water! This can be a really great technique because the water in the pool will force you to jump with more power. A great training exercise for the pool is squat jumping.

A couple of times per week, complete a few sets of 8 to 10 squat jumps. This exercise works best when done in water that is above waist-high.

Use as much force as you can and challenge yourself to get higher and higher out of the water on each squat jump. If you can jump high enough in the water, imagine how high you can jump in the air!

An added benefit of doing jumps in the pool is that it makes the exercise less tough on your knees. This is why often times, you will hear of athletes who are recovering from lower-body injuries- like jumper’s knees- working out in the pool.

Tip #3 – You better Stretch

Become more flexible by having a stretching routine. Pro basketball players stretch on a daily basis, sometimes even two or three times a day. It’s relatively easy but commonly neglected.

The most beneficial areas to stretch in terms of vertical leaping are your hip flexors, hamstrings, and glute. It helps you not only to jump higher but increase your explosiveness overall.

You will increase your range of motion and fully activate those muscle groups and decrease the risk of injuries.

Tip #4 – Add more abdominal strength

Train your abdominal muscles to increase your vertical leap and decrease the risk of injuries. While having sexy abs is perhaps the most obvious benefit of inner-abdominal training, building strength in this area can also increase your vertical jump.

A great exercise for building abdominal strength is the plank in its many variations. It helps to strengthen your obliques (side abdominal muscles) as well as you upper and lower abs.

Tip #5 – Improve your mentality

One effective way to improve your mentality is to visualize yourself jumping higher. Before you try this, jump as you regularly would and keep track of the spot you were able to reach.

Visualize your lower body and upper body working in unison to literally catapult you upward and see yourself leaping above that spot and ready to jump.

Now, attempt another jump. If you trust this process and really commit to it, you can add a few inches to your vertical by simply becoming more focused.

Repeat this again every time you jump and literally keep saying to yourself you’re going to do this with your body strong and a mind solid as a rock.

Tip #6 – Keep track of how much you are progressing

Keeping track of how much progress you have made along the way. Know how high you were able to jump before committing to the vertical jump training program and see how much you have improved at regular intervals.

You can use the Sargent test to measure your jump without the need of any equipment. This will remind you that all of the hard work you are putting in is really paying off.

How to perform simple Vertical jump test (Sargent test)

But don’t be obsessed about the measuring. It’s tempting to see how high you can jump after you have completed a workout, but this will not likely give you an accurate indication of how much progress you have made because your muscles will be tired from working out.

Okay, now that you know what to do to improve your vertical leap, let’s do some myth-busting in regards to your training.

Myth #1 – I’m still a kid

Many parents are not sure if they should let their children begin a jump training. That’s completely understandable.

But what you should consider is that openly training with a well-supervised program is actually much safer than the alternative methods that the kids may pursue on their own by searching on youtube. 2

Working with a professionally designed program will ensure that the proper techniques are followed, which will reduce the risk of injury during workouts. And know that having a training routine can be a boon to a kid’s fitness and health.

Myth #2 – I need fancy strength shoes in order to dunk

Some people think buying expensive strength shoes aka vertical jump training shoes (or jump soles which are pretty much the same) is the solution to finally have a higher jump.

These shoes are similar to regular sneakers, but they include a plate to constantly put more pressure on the calf, to supposedly make it stronger.

Scientific studies conducted on strength shoes have shown that they have very little to no impact on your vertical jumping ability.

strength training shoes may have some cons and pros, but overall, they put a lot of pressure on tendons and muscles and may increase the risk of injuries.



In fact, newer athletes are more likely to suffer an injury while trying strength training shoes than regular shoes. These types of shoes can force you to change your jumping technique, which puts a lot of strain on Achilles tendon. 

If your buddy used them and saw some results, that’s because he did train. And he probably would see the same results by just using regular shoes and do the same exercises.

Myth #3 – I’m too old

A legit vertical jump program, before anything else, is actually a training program that helps you to improve your strength, anaerobic performance, athleticism and basically your overall fitness which are beneficial to your health. You’re never too old to improve your health.

Some of the side benefits of a vertical training program, for example, quickness and strength, are beneficial to one’s overall health. If you haven’t exercised in a while, you will be amazed how fast you can see the results as you get into better shape. Just start out slowly and don’t go overboard in the beginning.

Remember, jump training is a process, not a magic pill. You will definitely see the results if you put some sweat equity into it.


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  1. Greetings! Very useful advice within this post!

  2. I followed ncovie strength and my own lower body strength workouts for about 4 to 5 months. I managed to get my lower body strength pretty high (Squat 255lbs 6 reps with proper form), then just recently i started doing some of the ncovie plyo rotuines for only about 2 weeks. I was able to go from barely touching rim to this dunk being pretty easy. I think the plyos are really helping, now I have about a 34 inch running vert. I’m 6’2 175lbs and 16 years old. Thanks and good luck bro.

  3. You got 5 stars man but you have to learn to jump before you want to dunk, you are as flafootted as a duck but keep the work up just jump rope alot to build your coordination and timing

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