Plyometrics & Flexibility
As discussed in the first “jump higher” episode, if you want to jump higher, you really should be jumping. Be sure to include plyometric exercises in your volleyball workout program. You also need to work on your flexibility because flexible muscles will jump higher, and they are less likely to get injured. Here are a few exercises to do if you’re serious about jumping higher, but don’t have access to a gym.
Jumping Squats (90 degrees, 180 degrees, 360 degrees)
Single Leg Squats Lunges (all 4 directions)
Jumping Lunges 180 degrees
Calf raises Mini hops - jump over and back a line as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Penguin Hops - jump with your ankles/calves doing most the jumping, and the rest of your body holding still.
I spend time talking about all these exercises in my podcast, except for box jumps. Box jumps are pretty easy to explain though. Get a solid box, then jump on it. If you're confused, see the picture above. :)
Strength TrainingWe didn’t discuss strength training last time. Why? Because my first objective is to make you realize that putting in the time, is the single most important part of any jump training program. If you don’t put in the time, you won’t get the results. Seriously, if you spend zero time working out, and then you hit the plyometrics hard for a few months, your vertical is going to improve. However, if you’re already working out pretty regularly, maybe now is the time to incorporate some weights. Deadlifts were suggested by Volley Vert coaches, as an excellent weight resistant exercise. You could also add weights to your squats, lunges and calf raises for maximal gain.
Rest and Recuperate
I mentioned flexibility above, and stretching is a key component in overall fitness. If you really want to start feeling good, buy a foam roller. There are tons of videos and articles about how to use it. It will hurt like heck while you’re doing it, but it will feel amazing afterwards.
You could also take ice baths to help you speed up recovery. These also suck, but they work!
Food plays a major role in your overall fitness, so it should come as no surprise that it plays a role in your jumping ability. Eating a healthy, balanced diet, will help increase your vertical. I'm not going to go into food in this post, but you need to be eating well, if you want to jump higher.
Consider other ways to cross train, that will still work on your vertical. My absolute favorite thing to do is hike. I am blessed to live near mountains, so hiking is my go-to leg exercise. It works all the leg muscles, plus the back and core. The only thing it doesn’t hit, is the shoulders.
You could also hit the beach. Maybe go play some beach volleyball, or ultimate frisbee. There are a lot of things you can be doing to get a solid workout in. These won’t necessarily improve your vertical if you’re already and active person, but they will help you stay fit, and they would be a great thing to do on a rest or easy day.
Listen to this weeks podcast episode:
If you enjoyed this, you may be interested in reading the Season 1 Episode post about improving your hops.