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Legs are the foundation of the human body's ability to become airborne.
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Whether you are an athlete relying on your vertical leap for sports performance or you simply want to maximize your ability to jump your highest, there are several exercises that can help you. The major muscle groups in your legs should be your focus. These include your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves. The most effective approach is to do these exercises until failure, or until you are too fatigued to do another repetition.
Jumping shoes are one approach to increasing your vertical jump. They appear like traditional exercise sneakers except they have a platform attached to the bottom of the shoe, beneath the ball of the foot. They are virtually a high heel in reverse. These shoes cause your calf muscles to contract in order to keep your heel off the ground. Wear these shoes while performing squat jumps, or while jumping rope for at least twenty minutes a day to see the biggest benefits. Do not wear them on a treadmill or uneven surface, as that will encourage injury.
One-Legged Jump Rope
Changing up a simple jump-roping routine can ramp up how effective this exercise is for your vertical jump. Jumping on one leg instead of two amplifies the demand that is placed on your calf muscles, as they are primarily responsible for making jump roping happen. Strengthening each calf muscle independently can help you make time spent working out your calves more efficient. Simply jump rope on one leg for one-minute segments, without letting the opposite leg contact the ground. Switch legs after each minute. Complete five total minutes on each leg. Also, try variations of this workout.
You can turn this fun, childhood past-time into an excellent tool for increasing your vertical jump by putting a bit more vigor into your jump. Your glutes, quadriceps, hamstrings and calves are all targeted when you jump on a trampoline. Training these muscles can increase the reactivity and strength of these muscles, making you jump higher for longer. Jump consecutively on the trampoline for three-minute intervals. Repeat this five times. Focus on squatting down as you contact the trampoline and exploding upwards. This will increase the burst speed of your legs.
Weighted Toe Jumps
This move is similar to jumping rope in that you are jumping repetitively off of the balls of your feet. However, there is no jump rope and you are holding a weight in your hands instead. This added weight will increase the demand placed upon your legs, primarily your calf muscles. This will fatigue them faster than jump roping. Start with a 5-pound dumbbell or kettlebell. Hold the weight in front of you and jump continuously for one minute. Focus on exploding upwards each time your feet contact the ground. Repeat this three times.