Plyometrics for vertical jump 13 most effective exercises

Plyometrics for Vertical Jump: 13 Most Effective Exercises

You’ve been working on your vertical jump for a while now, but you feel like you’re hitting a plateau. You don’t know what exercises to do to continue progressing. You’ve probably heard about plyometrics and their ability to improve vertical jump, but you’re unsure where to start. This article will show you the most effective plyometric exercises for vertical jump training.

What Are Plyometrics?

Plyometrics, also called “jump training,” are exercises that focus on developing speed-strength, or the ability to exert maximum force in a short time. These exercises typically involve repeated jumping or other quick, explosive movements.

Plyometric training is based on the stretch-shortening cycle (SSC) principle. This refers to the process of first stretching a muscle, then contracting it rapidly. This movement uses stored elastic energy to create more significant force than possible with a normal muscle contraction.

Plyometrics can be an effective tool for athletes looking to improve their explosive power and jumping ability. However, it is essential to note that plyometric exercises can be very demanding and stress the muscles and joints. As such, you might want to consult with a qualified coach or trainer before beginning any plyometric training program.

What can be considered a plyometric exercise? Any activity that involves a jump or some explosive movement, such as:

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Burpees
  • Push-ups
  • Skipping

These are just a few examples, but many more exercises can be classified as plyometrics.

Plyometrics for Vertical Jump Training 

Plyometric exercises can be efficient for athletes looking to improve their vertical jump. Over the years, many studies have been conducted to examine the effects of plyometric training on vertical jump performance.

study posted in the British Journal of Sports Medicine examined the effects of plyometric training on vertical jumps. It concluded the following:

“The overall results of this study suggest that the Plyometric Training significantly improves vertical jump height and that the mean effect ranges from 4.7% to 8.7% depending on the type of vertical jump measured.”

Another study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that plyometric exercises can significantly improve vertical jump height. However, for the best possible results, It’s critical to figure out the best training duration and posttraining recovery to ensure peak performance.

For this reason, a vertical jump program should be your first option as a beginner. It will provide a safe and structured approach that gradually builds up the volume and intensity of your plyometric training.

If you are experienced with training periodization and know when your body needs rest, the following exercises will serve you well.

If you are new to plyometrics, starting slowly and gradually increasing the intensity of your workouts is essential. It would be best to warm up before you start exercising and cool down afterward.

Best Plyometric Exercises for Vertical Jump

Box Jumps

Box jumps are undoubtedly an outstanding exercise to increase your vertical jump. They work by building explosive power in your legs, which is essential for jumping high. The key to box jumps is ensuring the box is sturdy and can support your weight. You also want to ensure the box is high enough to safely jump and land on it with both feet in a half squat position.

Two of my favorite box jumps are Seated Box Jumps and Rolling One Leg Box Jumps.

1. Seated Box Jump

How to do it:

  1. Sit on either a chair or any stable elevated surface with a box standing in front of you
  2. Explode from the sitting position and jump onto the box with both feet simultaneously
  3. Step or jump back down to the starting position and repeat.

2. Rolling One Leg Box Jump

How to do it:

  1. Roll on your back and then forward
  2. Use that momentum to stand up on one leg
  3. Immediately jump off your leg onto the box in front of you

Any elevated surface that is stable and safe to jump on will work for these exercises. Please ensure the surface is high enough to reach it with a full jump and land on it without stepping up.

3. Depth Jump

The depth jump is a plyometric exercise involving jumping down from an elevated surface and immediately jumping back up as high as possible. This exercise is excellent for increasing power in your legs and improving your explosive ability. Additionally, the depth jump can help to improve your coordination and balance.

This exercise is about gradually lowering yourself down to the ground and then leaping immediately once you’ve hit the ground.

One thing to keep in mind is you should spend as little time as possible on the floor, so the goal should be to push with maximum power.

How to do it:

  1. Start by standing on top of a box or platform at about waist height.
  2. Step off the edge of the box and land on the ground with both feet.
  3. As soon as you touch the floor, spring back up onto the box.
  4. Don’t let your heels touch the ground!

Make sure you use a high enough box or platform to safely jump down and land on the ground without injuring yourself.

4. Squat Jump

The jump squat is a variation of the regular squat exercise that adds an explosive jumping component. This makes it an excellent exercise for improving power and explosiveness.

How to do it:

  1. Start in the same position as the regular squat.
  2. From the bottom position, drive through your heels to explosively jump up into the air.
  3. As you land, absorb the impact by lowering your body back into the squat position.

Regarding squat jumps, experts say the most efficient way to do them is without extra weights. Stick to the bodyweight version, and you will see the best result.

5. Lateral Bounds

Lateral bounds are a type of explosive movement that mainly targets the muscles you work during a squat. These muscles are your quads, core, hamstrings, calf muscles, and glutes. This exercise is designed to help athletes improve their lateral power and quickness. Two vital skills for athletic performance.

Unlike other jumps, lateral bounds don’t require you to jump as high. Instead, you focus on moving quickly from side to side, minimizing your time on the ground. To do this, you land on one foot and then quickly switch to the other side.

How to do it:

  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing forward.
  2. Jump to the right, landing on your right foot.
  3. As you land, immediately jump back to the left, landing on your left foot.
  4. Repeat this side-to-side movement as quickly as possible.

You can grow the difficulty of this exercise by using resistance bands or by raising the intensity level.

6. Kneeling Jumps to Tuck Jumps

Kneeling jumps to tuck jumps is a fantastic combo exercise that will work on your explosive hip extension (Kneeling Jump) and your max vertical jump (Tuck Jump).

  1. Take a kneeling position on the floor while keeping your upper body straight
  2. Push back your hips and then explode on your feet
  3. Once you land on your feet, immediately perform a tuck jump.

7. Low Hurdle Jumps

Low hurdle jumps are a movement that will improve your reactive speed and reactive strength when you perform continuous jumps.

How to do it:

Set up low-height obstacles, such as hurdles, cones, or plyo boxes. Ensure they are distanced appropriately, so you have enough space to jump in between them.

  1. After setting up the obstacles, start by standing before the first.
  2. Once you’re ready, start jumping and land on the balls of your feet after each jump.
  3. For maximum efficiency, jump as fast as possible over each hurdle without wasting too much time on the ground.

8. Split Leg Lunge Jumps

Adding a plyometric jump to the lunge creates a challenging lower body exercise targeting quads, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors, and calves. Not only that, but it also strengthens your cardiovascular system!

How to do it:

  1. Start in a split-stance position with your right leg forward and left leg back.
  2. Keeping your torso upright, lower your body until both knees are bent at about 90 degrees.
  3. From this position, jump up and switch your legs mid-air so you land with your left leg forward.
  4. As you land, immediately lower your body back into the split-stance position and repeat the movement.

9. Max Effort Jumps

No matter what other exercises you do, nothing can compare to practicing your jump with maximal effort. The more you do it, the better you’ll get at jumping and the higher you’ll be able to jump. If your goal is to dunk but can’t do it yet, try your best to touch the rim or backboard whenever you jump. Push with as much force off the ground as possible and try to reach higher with each jump!

Upper Body Exercises

It was essential for me to include some upper-body exercises in this list because it plays a significant role, too, whenever you jump. Abdominals and core muscles are the primary stabilizers during any jumping activity. Thus it’s important to have a strong foundation.

Though they don’t contribute as much compared to other muscles, the ones in your shoulders, arms, back, and chest impact how high you jump.

10. Medicine Ball Overhead Throw

The medicine ball overhead throw is one of the best upper-body exercises for increasing your vertical jump. This exercise targets your shoulders, chest, and arms and helps to build explosive power in your upper body.

How to do it:

  1. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing forward.
  2. Hold a medicine ball over your head.
  3. Keeping your core and hips engaged, explosively throw the ball with as much power as possible.
  4. As the ball is thrown, follow through with your arms and legs.

11. Half-Kneeling Side Toss

The half-kneeling side toss is another excellent exercise for your shoulders, upper back, arms, and core. This movement emphasizes rotation and will help to develop the muscles needed for a powerful jump.

How to do it:

  1. Start in a half-kneeling position with your right knee on the ground and your left foot on the floor.
  2. Hold a medicine ball to your chest with both hands.
  3. Keeping your core engaged, explosively rotate your torso to the left and toss the ball towards the wall or to your partner.
  4. Switch sides and repeat the movement.

12. Depth Push-Up

The depth push-up is a plyometric exercise that strengthens your chest, shoulders, and triceps. It also activates your core muscles, which are essential for stabilizing your body during a jump.

How to do it:

  1. Place two elevated surfaces on the floor.
  2. Start in a push-up position with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your hands slightly wider than your shoulders on the elevated surfaces.
  3. Lower your body until your chest is just a bit below the platform’s level
  4. From this position, explosively push your body up and land with your hands in front of your chest in the space between the platforms.
  5. Lower your body again and then explode off the ground again.
  6. Land with your hands back on the platforms and repeat.

You can use anything literally as an elevated surface. From books to cinder blocks to weight plates, anything goes!

13. Plyometric training and Dunking

When you think of exercises that work on your quads, glutes, and calf muscles, dunking isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. However, the simple act of dunking a basketball is a great way to build both lower body power and upper body strength.

Dunking is an exercise that works on a wide range of muscles and helps to increase the body’s ability to jump and operate in the air. If you compare it to other, more well-known workouts like squats and lunges, it focuses on many of the same muscle groups and employs a similar motion.

The activity of running, jumping, dunking, and then squatting down as you come to a halt, all while bearing a basketball in your hands, is an excellent full-body exercise.

If you play basketball, dunking is a workout you should include in your routine. This will go well with other activities that improve your vertical since you’ll be practicing reaching the rim and putting the ball in the hoop throughout your practice.

Learning how to dunk may be challenging, and you might be more inclined to leave it out of your routine. If you want to learn how to dunk while incorporating plyometric exercises that increase your vertical leap, a vertical jump program such as VertShock would be my recommendation.

Read The VertSHock review here.

Pros & Cons of doing Plyometrics


Increased running endurance

Plyometric exercises can help to increase your running endurance by teaching your body to use the stored energy in your muscles better. This results in a more efficient running stride and can help you to run for more extended periods without getting as tired.

Increased speed and agility

Plyometrics can also help to increase your speed and agility. By teaching your muscles to work more efficiently, you’ll be able to move more quickly and change directions more easily. This can be helpful in sports that require quick movements, such as basketball or football.

Helps improve your vertical leap

One of the most common reasons people do plyometric exercises is to improve their vertical leap. These exercises can help add inches to your jump by teaching your muscles better to utilize the stored energy in your tendons and ligaments.

Can be done at home with minimal equipment.

Another great thing about plyometrics is that you can do them at home with minimal equipment. All you need is a space to jump and some elevated surface.

Can be scaled to your fitness level

You can scale plyometric exercises to your fitness level. If you’re starting, you can begin with simple jump squats. As you get more comfortable with the movements, you can add more challenging exercises, such as the rolling box jumps or split leg lunges.

Builds explosive power

Plyometrics training is an excellent method to build explosive power. This can be helpful in sports that require quick, powerful movements, such as football, basketball, track, and field.


It May be too challenging for beginners.

Plyometric exercises can be pretty challenging, especially for beginners. Choosing activities appropriate for your fitness level is crucial if you’re just starting. On top of that, it’s essential to master proper form before increasing reps or adding weights to your workout.

Requires a certain level of coordination

Plyometric exercises also require a certain level of coordination. If you lack coordination, you may have trouble with more advanced exercises, such as box jumps or single-leg hops.

You may not see results immediately.

Plyometric exercises will make you jump higher, run faster, and all that. However, you won’t see results overnight. It takes time and consistent practice to see significant improvements, just like anything worthwhile.

Can be tough on your joints

Plyometrics is a high-impact activity that can be tough on your joints. Suppose you’re not used to plyometric training. In that case, the danger of strains is considerably more serious since the muscles surrounding your joints are not strong sufficiently and may not provide enough support.


Does plyometrics help vertical jump?

One of the most common reasons people do plyometrics is to improve their vertical leap. These exercises can help add inches to your jump by teaching your muscles better to utilize the stored energy in your tendons and ligaments.

Are plyometrics good for dunking?

Plyometrics will improve your vertical leap, which can, in turn, help you to dunk a basketball. However, it’s important to remember that plyometrics alone will not make you a better dunker. You’ll also need strength and coordination to execute the dunk.

How often should basketball players do plyometrics?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it will depend on the individual’s fitness level, goals, and schedule. However, most experts recommend incorporating plyometrics into your workout routine 2-3 times per week. Remember to take a day or two of rest in between plyometric training sessions to give your muscles time to recover.

Do you need plyometrics to jump higher?

Plyometrics can undoubtedly improve your vertical jump ability. However, they are not the only factor contributing to vertical jump height. Genetics, for example, plays a role in how high you can jump. Strength and coordination, and form are also necessary. So, if you aim to get a higher vertical leap, focus on all aspects.


There are many types of plyometric exercises that you can do. You might have noticed that I have left a couple of exercises out of this list. Broad Jumps and burpees are great exercises too, but for the sake of the list, I’ve included only those which I believe will drive the best results.

The 13 plyometric exercises in this article are guaranteed to develop you into a more explosive athlete if you follow the guidelines for plyo training frequency, recovery, periodization, etc. However, some can be challenging, so it’s essential to start with exercises that suit your fitness level.

I hope this article was helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below. Thanks for your patience!

1 thought on “Plyometrics for Vertical Jump: 13 Most Effective Exercises”

  1. Thanks you so much, this article really just explains how to do the workouts in a really good manner and since I am tall and slender this also made me realize that I need to start working out more if I want to be dunking any time soon. 10/10 website 🙂

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