Vertical leap drills help basketball players jump high to get rebounds, block shots, shoot over a tall defender or make a slam-dunk. Although some players naturally have a high vertical leap, you can improve your vertical leap with exercises. Most vertical leap exercises use your own body weight to improve your strength instead of weights or exercise machines, so you can do these exercises almost anywhere.
Stand with your legs together and use your ankles and calves to jump up and down, as high as you can. As soon as you hit the ground, jump off again. Don't use your arms or torso for momentum or strength; isolate your calves and ankles to build those muscles.
Do slow, steady toe-raises to exercise your calves. Raise yourself to the tips of your toes and then lower yourself back down. Aim for a controlled, slow motion; don't use your momentum to rock up and down. Do 30 to 50 toe raises. You can also hold light weights, such as 10 lb. dumbbells, to make toe raises more challenging.
Squats also build the leg muscles that help you jump. You can squat with a bar set on the back of your neck or without weight. Make sure your back stays straight and your knees stay above your feet.
Jumping rope also helps you build strength and increase your vertical leap. Jump for a few minutes and then start jumping on your toes. This helps your calves get stronger.
Warm up before exercising by jogging for a few minutes or running up and down stairs. If you aren't sure how to do an exercise, ask a qualified trainer to demonstrate. Don't work out every day; your muscles need time to recover and rebuild, so exercise four or five days per week. Stop exercising if you feel sharp pain or discomfort.