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How Basketball Players Jump High Above The Rim

Jumping high is an important skill to develop for all athletes for all basketball players. Developing those muscles and doing the right exercises can help in adding inches to your vertical.

Basketball players are able to jump high because of the power they exert into the ground, which helps them propel high in the air. In able to generate power, basketball players should lift weights to strengthen their muscles.

We often see players like Michael Jordan, Lebron James, or Russell Westbrook fly high above the rim. Let’s find out how basketball players jump high.

How Basketball Players Jump High In The Air

Jumping high in the air requires a strong base and proper technique. The poor jumping technique can cause you to lose inches off your vertical. This is the difference between grabbing a rebound and missing out on a rebound. 

Power from jumping is generated from the ground-up. Loading up your lower half and generating enough force off the ground to leap high in the air is how we’re able to disconnect ourselves from gravity. 

In order to generate power from the ground, we need to have strong legs. Strong upper bodies are great to move players out of the way with our arms, however, jumping requires a strong lower half and having powerful lower extremities. 

What Muscles Are Used To Jump High In Basketball?

In order to jump higher, we need to learn what muscle groups contribute directly to jumping high in the air. To start from the bottom, the calves, quadricepses (quads), hamstring, and glute muscles are the core muscles when jumping.

Again, we want to emphasize the visualization that your body must put force into the ground and push off of it, using these muscles to jump higher.

Calf Muscles

Let’s start with the Calf Muscle. The calf muscle is the closest to the ground out of the 4 muscles we mentioned. See the image below to identify the calf muscle and this article for an in-depth look of the calf muscle.

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 Training the calf muscle is extremely tough. It doesn’t account for a large portion of the jumping power, but it does play a small significant role. One way that we found to help improve the calf muscle is to use jump soles.

Jump soles are attachment to your shoes which can focus all the weight on the big toe and calf muscle, helping them grow with repetition. 


These muscles are the powerhouse muscles of the legs. They help to generate almost all the force that’s put into the ground. 

As Livestrong mentions, the gluteus maximums and hamstrings are hip extensor muscles that extend the hip when you stand up straight. When you point your toes before leaving the ground, you perform a motion known as plantar flexion.

This requires the calf muscles, which are your gastrocnemius and soleus, to come into play. Training these muscles is crucial for athletes who are looking to run faster and especially jump higher.

Exercises To Help Jump Higher In Basketball

Now that we understand the muscle groups, let’s train these muscles to be as strong as possible. The exercises below can be done in your living room, or in a gym. If you’re looking to build the muscle, weight must be added to challenge the strength of each muscle.


Squatting is one of the best, if not the best lift to help improve your vertical jump. It involved every muscle in your body, on top of building a strong core. 

We recommend doing air squats and focusing on the perfect form before putting a barbell on your back. This will save you from injuries from improper depth or not poor weight balance.


Deadlifts have become insanely popular over the years. What seemed to be primarily a competition lift, dead-lifts have been found to a great lift for building glutes, hamstring, and hip muscles. 

Like the squats, we recommend focusing on extremely lightweight before performing any of these lifts. The poor form could result in lower back injuries which may turn out to be long-term.


Generating lower body power requires to push and explode from certain angles and positions, not just straight up and down. 

The forward lunge helps with generating force with your hamstrings and glutes but pushing backward.

Adding weight to your hands by using dumbbells is a great way to build strength for these muscles. Again, we cannot stress the importance of proper form!

Tools To Help Increase Your Vertical Jump

There are a good amount of tools available to help improve your vertical jump. As mentioned, strengthening muscles to help gain new vertical heights and following a specific program can help speed that process.

One program we highly recommend is the Vert Shock Program.

The Vert Shock program offers 3 phase program, which you can follow to increase your overall vertical jump. These simple steps will help you increase your vertical jump in no time.

Also included in the bundle is a mobile app to stay on course, maintenance program, and video add-ins for even more knowledge. 

This program is the king of vertical jump and we highly recommend it! If you want to add more tools to your training regimen, we’ve collected a few tools, along with the jump soles, which can help improve your vertical jump. 

Ankle & Hip Resistance bands

 Similar to how we want to increase our speed training using resistance bands, they can be used to train vertical jumping. These resistance bands attach to a custom belt and an ankle strap.

The bands lockout and you push off the ground and start to ascend vertically. Adjust the bands to your size/strength for maximum use. These bands are relatively cheap, compared to the jump soles, and can be a great tool to build your jumping foundation. 

Thigh Resistance Bands

These resistance bands attach to the thigh and are great for leg drive. If you’re sprinting or working a stationary leg exercise, these bands will help develop glutes, hamstrings, and thigh muscles. 

Simply attach the adjustable strap to each thing, connect the resistance cord, and start working out. These bands are super easy to use and are a great compliment to strength training and/or using the hip/ankle bands above.


Vertical jumping can be increased by training the muscles that help drive force into the ground.

Training these muscles through resistance and good form will help them grow and ultimately improve your overall vertical. Start training today to have your muscles ready to go by the time basketball season hits!