During the 2019 Slam Dunk Contest, Hamidou Diallo astonished fans by pulling off the ‘superman dunk’, jumping over Shaquille O’Neal who stands at 7’1”. Diallo is only 6’6”, making the feat something to behold and a demonstration of the importance of a good vertical jump in today’s NBA.
While height is a physical attribute that can’t be modified, jumping is a skill that is improved through hard work and training. In this article, we are going to take you through different steps you need to follow to improve your vertical jump. We’ll also touch on the advantages of jumping higher in basketball and players with the highest vertical jump. Let’s get right into it.
Advantages of Jumping High
Adding more inches to your vertical jump will improve your defense and help you, not only jump higher but get off the ground quicker in order to block shots and protect the rim for your team on defense.
You get more rebounds
Improving your vertical jump makes it easier for you to grab rebounds. It will also increase your ability to grab those high-degree of difficulty rebounds either in traffic or over a taller player.
Exercises to Improve Your Vertical Jump
Exercises meant to improve your hops will take your athleticism to a new level. Chances are if you work hard enough to become able to dunk a basketball, then the rest of your overall athletic ability will improve. To be able to jump high, you need to work hard and exercise relentlessly. Here are some exercises that will help you jump higher:
A depth jump involves jumping from a raised level to the ground. The impact generated from landing impact stretches your muscles and makes them stronger. Follow these instructions to perform a depth jump:
- Stand upright on a raised ground, 11’’-32’’ high— if you are a beginner in this, opt for a shorter height, preferably 10’’.
- Your hands should be on your side and your feet should be apart.
- Step off the edge of the raised ground with one foot first, followed by the other foot.
- You should land with your feet squared and jump as soon as you touch the ground. Allow your knees and hips to dip, then launch your hands up into the air while jumping.
- Loosen up your knees after landing from the jump and step on the raised ground again.
Depth jumps should be done during the first hours of training, prior to squats and heavy weight-lifting. When performing depth jumps, keep your feet aligned with your hips.
There’s no exercise that can beat barbell squatting in improving the strength of your lower body. Here’s how you can perform a barbell squat exercise:
- At a squat rack, grasp the bar tightly with enough space between your hands. Rest the barbell on your shoulders and take a step back.
- Feet should be shoulder-wide apart.
- Maintain the barbell’s weight on your mid-foot and bend your hips as you loosen your knees.
- Go down while keeping your head up and your back straight.
- After squatting to the lowest point, push your body back up through your heels.
Lateral jumps improve your strength and stability. This exercise also improves your landing technique. Follow these simple steps to perform a lateral jump:
- Space up your feet and squat by bending your knees.
- Push your body upwards, then sideways, either to the left or the right side. While landing, you should absorb the shock by squatting again. Make sure that your feet, shoulders, and knees are square while jumping.
- Repeat the exercise in 30 to 60-second intervals.
Players With The Highest Vertical Jump
Here is a list of some past NBA players with extremely high vertical jumps:
Wilt Chamberlain- 48’’
Chamberlain was one of the first dominant players in the league. He combined skill, athleticism, and height and took full advantage of his gifts to excel in the NBA. He was 7’1’’ and could jump 48 inches high — that explains the 72 NBA records he broke.
Darrel Griffith- 48’’
There is a reason why Darrel was nicknamed “Dr. Dunkenstein”. That’s because he could jump 4 feet high to dunk the basketball.
Michael Jordan- 46’’
Michael Jordan is one of the greatest players of all time. One of the main reasons why he had top-notch gameplay is due to his jumping ability. He could dunk, block shots easily and get numerous rebounds.
Jumping higher will definitely improve your gameplay. Train and exercise consistently to improve your muscle memory and you could see your vertical jump increase in time. Who knows, maybe you will be able to block shots, grab rebounds, and even dunk like a natural.
If you have any other thoughts, let us know in the comment section below.