When it comes to plyometrics for basketball and to jump higher, knowing what exercises to do, when to do them and how to do them are among the most important things.
These workouts have been shown to be so effective that NBA players and NFL players use them in their training programs.
They help in improving leg strength in players and are among the things to consider if your goal is to dunk or increase your vertical leap.
Here are the top drills to add to your workouts.
9 Best Plyometrics for Basketball and Jumping Higher
In this section will focus on the top lower body plyometrics for basketball with the focus being on jump exercises. These drills have become a staple in strength training of elite athletes and helps them in conditioning as well as building explosive strength.
1. Ankle Bounces
This exercise focuses on the lower part of the leg. It aims to build strength in the ankles as well as the calves. The drill is very similar to jumping rope except there is no rope involved and you try to bounce up as high as you can each time.
Ankle bounces are done without bending the knees, this means that all the power that’s generated to bounce has to come from the calves, ankles and toes.
To do the ankle bounce exercise:
- Stand with both feet at slightly inside shoulder width.
- Jump as high as you can without bending your kneeds.
- When you land, hop right back up.
2. Squat Jump
Squat jumps are a great exercise to train the proper muscles and also technique.
This plyometric drill forces you to start from a non-running position and also without the benefit of taking a step to jump.
This forces you to learn to use your entire body, from legs, arm swing and core to try to get yourself as high as you can as explosively as you can.
To do the Squat Jump:
- Start from a standing position and lower yourself to a squat position.
- From the squat position, swing your arms back to help gain momentum and explode up jumping as high as you can.
- Try reaching for something like you would when trying to grab a rebound.
3. Lunge Jumps
This lower body exercise trains the take off. By positioning you in a lunge position it trains each of the legs to learn to push off as strongly as it can off the ground.
Additional benefits of training the lunge jump is to learn body control when you go up and land. This helps build better technique.
To do the Lunge Jump:
- Position yourself in a lunge exercise position, where one leg is in front and the other bent towards the rear.
- From the lowered lunge position, push off as explosively as you can with both feet.
- Part of the exercise is to learn to balance yourself in the air and land back in the same lunge position you took off from.
- This exercise also helps teach you to land softly so the knees don’t bear the brunt of the force when landing.
4. Drop Jumps
Part of the effectiveness of plyometric training is shock effect it does to the muscles. Drop jumps work on this aspect of training.
This type of jump requires a high box, though starting from a lower box would be a good idea if you’ve never tried doing plyometrics before.
Drop jumps teach the body to learn to absorb the force of landing and also how to stabilize that force.
This not only teaches you how to land properly even when you are able to jump high but also lets you be able to quickly gather yourself to make another high jump.
To perform drop jumps:
- Get a box that’s around 2 feet high or higher. You can start with a lower box when just starting out.
- Step off the box and try to land as lightly as you can.
5. Depth Jumps
Once you’ve learned how to do drop jumps, it’s time to move on to depth jumps.
Drop jumps are the first part of depth jumps. But with depth jumps, there is a second part where you jump right back up to another box.
For this exercise, you’ll need 2 high boxes. You can also use only one.
Depth jumps help improve jump height, landing and quickness. They also help train jumpers to take off quickly.
Depth Jump procedure:
- Set up 2 boxes. Space them out about the height of the boxes.
- Get up on 1 box. And like the drop jump step off the box.
- This time when you land, quickly jump back up to the other box.
- If you only have 1 box, after you land, turn around and jump back up to the same box.
6. Box Jumps
Knowing how high you need to jump is something an athlete should learn in order to control their ability. Box jumps are a great exercise that helps improve vertical leap and teaches you how to visualize how high you need to go up.
For this exercise you will need 1 high box.
To do the box jump:
- Stand in front of the box.
- Take a look at how high the box is and judge how high you need to jump to land on top of the box.
- Jump up and tuck your legs up and land on top of the box.
7. Frog Jumps
One of the best plyometric drills to train the hip movement for jumping is the frog jump. The exercise trains explosiveness as well and the ability to build as much power to go up.
To do frog jumps:
- Squat all the way down till your butt is near your heels.
- Put your hands on the ground. At this point you’re assuming the position of a frog.
- Jump as far forward and as high as you can from the low squat position.
- Land back into the low frog squat position, touch the ground and jump again.
8. Tuck Jumps
Explosiveness, being quick off the floor and improving the vertical are the three main points tuck jumps work on.
In the exercise, you are forced to tuck in your knees up to your chest in the middle of the jump. Doing this helps not only the 3 things above but also helps hone technique, body control, athleticism and landing ability.
Knee tuck jumps are one of the more complex plyometric jumping exercises because there’s a lot of coordination needed.
Doing the knee tuck jump:
- Stand in position ready to make a jump.
- Jump as high as you can and tuck your knees up to your chest.
- When the knees are close to your chest wrap your arms around them for a split second and release.
- Land properly as softly as you can.
9. Standing Broad Jump
Jumping is a multi-dimensional activity. It includes jumping forward just as much as jumping straight up in most sports. There will also be times when you need to jump to the side.
The standing broad jump trains the forward jumping ability so you can still go up high as well as cover distance. If you want to be able to make flashy dunks learning to jump forward is important.
To do the standing broad jump:
- Stand in position and jump forward as high and as far as you can using both legs.
- When you land, pause for a second, and jump forward again.