5 Explosive Exercises For Your Vertical Jump

Check out the five explosive exercises for increasing your vertical jump provided by Scott Moody.

Scott Moody is lead director of the Elite Athletic Development Camps and the founder of Athlete Fit. He has trained many elite professional athletes in basketball and soccer.

1. Squat

Whether you are back squatting with the bar, or doing body weight squats, this exercise is an essential part of a vertical jump program. This exercise will build strength in the legs and core, which are key in the landing phases of any plyometric program.

Cues: Start light, and stay rhythmic in the motion. As your form becomes better, start to add speed to the accent (up) phase by attempting to “push your feet into the ground” and “leading with the shoulders” on the way up.

2. Jump Squat

This power movement exercise is vital to improving your vertical jump as it improves your explosiveness and strength in your lower body and core.

As you can see, there are many different views on how to perform a jump squat (weight on the shoulders, weight held low, bar on the back, etc.).

3. Squat Raise to Armpit

We love these exercises, as they are relatively simple to master, but gives you a great way to train explosive movement. So instead of taking months to master a clean or snatch movement, you can start on simpler versions especially if you’re less-skilled in Olympic lifting, with more speed and explosive potential.

This exercise develops strength in the shoulders, while also targeting the jump based motion of the hips (similar to a hang clean).

4. Power Raise

Like the Squat Raise to Armpit, the Power raise mimics Olympic lifting fundamentals, quick jump like motions and upper body pulling actions.

The Power Raise is similar to a snatch or 1 arm dumbbell snatch, but you can use two hands to hold the dumbbell.

Not only is this a great vertical jump exercise, but it also mimics a strong finishing motion for post players and guards that finish in the lane. You should visualize finishing in traffic when performing this exercise, and you should develop the strength to finish shots while taking contact in the lane.

5. Single Legged Exercises

Maybe my favorite exercise for vertical improvement is the single legged box blast or step up jump, but to get to that point we go through a progression of single legged exercises.

IF you are serious about maximizing your athleticism and potential in basketball, be sure to check out our Elite Athletic Development Camps.

What do you think? Let us know by leaving your comments, suggestions, and questions. . .

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Joe King says:
3/9/2014 at 10:12:37 AM

I am glad

to see the variations of improvement for the athelete. Thanks,keep up the good work


Coach Neal says:
3/9/2014 at 11:51:42 AM

These are great workouts, and I like the fact that they don't require heavy weights which has the effect of putting a lot of pressure on the joints. Thanks for the ideas, we can implement them immediately.


Adam says:
3/9/2014 at 7:03:40 PM

Good with most of this, but jumping with weight on your shoulders, especially an Olympic bar, is irresponsible and unnecessary. Especially teenagers. That kind of spine compression can only lead to one thing. Injury followed by a lawsuit.


Coach Malcolm says:
3/10/2014 at 11:42:54 AM

Great point Adam!! We do the squat jumps with resistance bands or utilizing a functional trainer... we all want to improve our athletes abilities but safety is paramount.


Coach K. Lobendahn-CMBA Youth Sports Development says:
3/10/2014 at 12:50:20 PM

Great variations for a firm foundation as it relates to explosive mobility. Thank you.


Scott Moody says:
3/10/2014 at 3:08:02 PM

The commentary on the video of the jump squat was put up there to show that jump squats with the bar on the spine are not nearly as beneficial as jump squats with the dumbbells held low.

Sorry if the video was confusing, but I just put it up there to give a video example of different styles and the changes in body position of each.

We agree with you and all jump squats should be performed with weight held low.

Scott Moody


Lou Lacy says:
3/10/2014 at 7:22:55 PM

Great for jumping ability


Stepan says:
3/11/2014 at 6:25:10 AM

Nice drills for advanced athletes.

I''m not an expert in weight training (though over my playing years I tried various stuff including some of the shown above) but IMHO the main point is: too much focus on the whole thing. Not to say it doesn''t matter what you do, and a good athletic coach is always a benefit. But honestly... I don''t think Kobe Bryant or Dwayne Wade would''ve jumped worse were they limited to the most ordinary squats and jumps for their whole career. Or maybe to just playing the game.

What is really important and valuable, is injury prevention routines, joint strengthening exercises, balancing drills, etc. The problem is, to sell these drills you usually have to promise your players that eventually it will help increase their vertical or starting speed. So guys think it''s kind of preparation for some really cool weight training. Whereas it is the most important thing in and of itself. Many pros understand it, I guess (or at least there''s someone around to tell them), but at youth and amateur levels I can see an obvious shift toward the heavy-weighting practices, in many cases very dangerous ones.
Somehow guys do not realize that +5 inches in the vertical (let alone hardly achievable in most cases) won''t make you nearly as good a player as +5 percent from the FT line...

If you''re born with the ability to jump or get by people, you''ll know it. If you''re not, better concentrate on other things, your strengths. Do not spend your time on trying to become decent where you can''t be great. Spend it on where you can. Shooting the ball for one. ☺

As for conditioning... Any reasonable drills will do it, I think. Just do not overdo them.

All that being said (and written), props for another interesting and thought-provoking topic on my favorite basketball site. Thank you for your work!


Dave says:
3/11/2014 at 1:55:07 PM

Good stuff.

My knees hurt just watching the videos. LOL...oooh...I think I just pulled a hammy...


Jon says:
3/11/2014 at 4:04:10 PM

I like Stepan's comments. This is a hot topic in my house. I coach 8th grade boys, have an excelling 8th grader, and I'm also huge into Crossfit. However I'm very cautious letting my eager, hard-working boy to do any of the exercises I put my body through. He's at an age where he wants to 'grab the rim'. He does alot of body weight & agility exercises but I don't let him squat with my bar only light dumbbells with various exercises. I don't want to see him get injured at this age from stuff I let him do so this is a challenging issue on what is good or what is too much. *I was the kid who had a good vertical in HS/college due to squats, leg workouts, & track&field and didn't have good ball-handling skills or footwork!


Stepan says:
3/12/2014 at 9:02:41 AM

Well, boys wanna be like their heroes... And the heroes fly high nowadays. I don''t know if anybody wants to be like Steve Nash, for example. Though this guy was a two-time MVP in the NBA, not that bad, uh?

Of all the sports I know, basketball is the most mythologized by a clear margin. For starters, nobody knows the rules. :)) How can it be not a travel when your pivot foot is off the ground?! Ok.
Or AND 1. Or all this cult of athleticism.

I was huge into soccer when I was in HS. I can''t recall any talks along the lines of "if only I could run faster...". In soccer the best player doesn''t mean "the fastest player"! It doesn''t even mean the best scorer. You can be outrun, outpowered in some cases — and still be the best player. Because you''re good with the ball, you understand the game and you make right decisions. It is not what coaches say — it is how it''s felt by the players.

In basketball guys would rather spend two hours on dunks than one hour on shooting around. Why so? Because once in a couple of games they''ll have this opportunity... the path to the basket is clear, the ball has found its way into your hands... boom — with authority! No time was spent in vain. :)


Ken Sartini says:
3/12/2014 at 12:56:36 PM

We had shirts made like this ....

Picture of a guy dunking and another guy hitting a 3....


That says it all.... anyway... JMO


Ken Sartini says:
3/12/2014 at 12:58:28 PM

By the way, we had two plays for back door dunks... and in 16 years on the varsity we got ZERO dunks.... but got three 3 pointers off the pass.

In all those years my teams had 2 dunks that I can remember. But we had a lot of threes.


Danny Prieto says:
3/12/2014 at 7:23:50 PM

One dunk was Croatian sensation in 91. Other one was?


Ken Sartini says:
3/12/2014 at 7:53:25 PM

A left hander off a steal vs Notre Dame ...right in front of us.... the other was was Milo ....... and as he was giving the fans a high five they laid it in at the other end. I was not a happy camper.

How ya doin Danny? Hope all is well.


Stepan says:
3/13/2014 at 9:23:04 AM

Treys are another problem, by the way. ) At least with dunks you wouldn''t have guys who can''t touch the rim attempt to throw down a windmill in games. But shooting the ball is a lottery where everybody is bound to win. I mean, eventually. So why not give it a shot? A three-point shot, in particular.


Georges Hourani says:
6/2/2014 at 12:05:42 PM

i wondor doesn't weight effect the groth of the young player ???


Patrick says:
7/1/2014 at 4:19:07 PM

Thanks for the videos they very helpful. These exercises some which were familiar to me, but would never thought to use or incorporate in basketball training. Great videos!


Asas says:
12/8/2015 at 12:32:28 PM

Its really a great post.Also very helpful videos.


Christian says:
3/2/2016 at 10:48:47 AM

Is it good to do this workout routine 3times a week?


Mubashir Akhtar says:
2/20/2017 at 6:10:12 AM

This is a good article, and the videos just make it that much better. Most people might not think to use some of these exercises for basketball training!


greg McBenchal says:
4/17/2017 at 12:08:37 AM

These works outs are weak sauce brah..me laugh at puny coach.

whats with having 10 year olds weight lifting brah.. thats a no go meng.

I got zip lock bags with protein shake farts tougher than this workout brah


Rafael says:
6/27/2017 at 11:36:33 PM

Only thing worth mentioning is on the 1st vid, with the bar squats. I believe entirely full range of motion, however at the same time I'd be weary of knee locking. Knee locking can bring in a whole world of consequences.


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