Vertical leap is associated most often with basketball, but it is also very useful in making headway over broken ground quickly. Also, the same muscles are used by divers to kick their way out of the ocean and onto a dive boat. The quads and hamstrings are the main muscles involved, but for quick results you need to pursue exercises that will develop the fast-twitch muscle fibers in both those muscles and all the supporting muscles as well. For best results in a hurry, perform each exercise until you feel the targeted muscles are spent, rest a day, and then do it again.
The forward lunge develops the calves while improving hip flexibility, two key supporting elements in a good jump. Step forward with your left leg into the lunging stance. Bend forward and dowm to put your left elbow alongside the inside of your left foot, but keep your right knee off the ground while doing so. Hold that pose for a few seconds.
Now place your left hand on the outside of your left foot. Put your right hand down too for balance. Push your hips up towards the ceiling while lifting the toes of your left foot up towards your shin. Then stand up and stride into the next lung with your right foot forward, reversing the position.
This is the exercise that builds up your primary jumping muscles into springs. Stand with your feet apart, a little wider than shoulder-width. Squat down until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Spring out and jump upwards, fully extending your ankles, knees and hips. Be sure to land back into the same position, so you can spring out again.
This exercise helps with explosiveness, but also develops supporting muscles in your back. Take a medicine ball with both hands, extend your arms to their full length and hold the ball above your thighs. Dip at the knees, and then use your legs and arms to throw the ball over and behind your head.
This exercise is for hamstrings and glutes, which Men's Health magazine says are often neglected in vertical leap training, despite contributing 30 percent of the overall power to the jump. Hold a dumbbell in each hand, feet shoulder-width apart and knees bent. Dip down using your hips until the dumbbells are below your knees. Then push back up to the start position. Repeat.
Article Written By Edwin Thomas
Edwin Thomas has been writing since 1997. His work has appeared in various online publications, including The Black Table, Proboxing-Fans and others. A travel blogger, editor and writer, Thomas has traveled from Argentina to Vietnam in pursuit of stories. He holds a Master of Arts in international affairs from American University.