Did you see Blake Griffin‘s dunk over Timofey Mozgov in November 2010? Most people agree that it’s one of the best NBA dunks of the last years. And Blake Griffin doesn’t get tired dunking – in fact he leads the league in dunks (100 until January 26, 2011).
Being 6 ft. 10 inches (2.08 m) tall and having a 37.5-inch vertical, dunking is easy for Blake, however it’s interesting that his standing reach and wingspan are far below average for his position (power forward). The reason for his almost unique combination of power and explosion (LeBron James and Dwight Howard are two other examples) is a special training – workouts on sand with a 60-pound (27 kg) weight vest obviously pay off.
But, you don’t need to complete such an extreme training in order to improve your vertical jump. There are great exercises that will help you to increase your vertical in a short period of time. So, without further chit-chat, here are the top 3 exercises to jump higher:
1) Box Jumps. For this exercise you need a solid box. The idea is simple: jump onto the box, step down and repeat the motion. Start with a box height of 16 inches (40 cm) and increase the height if you have no problem jumping onto it. Do 6 reps per set.
2) Depth Jumps. The goal here is to step off the box and jump back in the air with maximum power as soon as you hit the ground. Do 8 reps per set (max. 4) – only two days a week! Your muscles need to regenerate after such intensive athletic ability.
3) Split Squat Jumps. This exercise will improve your leg strength and explosiveness. Starting position is the lunge position (check in on Google images or youtube). Now jump up and switch legs. Repeat the exercise 8 times on each leg (5 sets). By the way, split squat jumps are part of Brandon Roy’s (40-inch vertical) daily routine.
Don’t forget to warm up and stretch before AND after your workouts! Also, keep in mind that if you want to improve your vertical jump you need to work on your jumping explosion and NOT jumping endurance.
That’s why jumping as much as you can will do more harm than good. It’s all about the right execution of the exercises, the right amount of repetitions and the right amount of rest (especially doing plyometrics) – as your muscles need a lot of time to regenerate after intense athletic activity (at least 24 hours, 48 is even better).
I recommend to stick to a vertical jump program ( The Jump Manual ) as it gives you concrete training plans, exercise videos, numbers of sets and repetitions.
P.S. You probably know Blake Griffin will be in the 2011 NBA slam dunk Contest. But did you know that Blake won the Slam Dunk Contest at the McDonald’s All-American game in 2007 (a one-point win against Austin Freeman)?