6 Exercises for a More Explosive Vertical

Have you ever wished you could jump just a little higher? Whether you play basketball, football, volleyball or another sport, increasing your vertical jump will give you the power and explosiveness you need. The good news is you can improve your vertical through strength and power exercises. 

The exercises below, with accompanying videos, can help you get on your way to a more explosive vertical:

1. Stationary Ankle Pops

 To perform this exercise, stand on the balls of your feet. Then, while keeping your body straight, push up from the balls of your feet, like you would while jumping rope. Land on the balls of your feet and immediately bounce up again. This builds strength and power capacity in your calf muscles. 
-      2 sets x 12 seconds

2. Box Drop

Stand on a box (one made for jumping) that is about 8-12inches high. As you progress, you can work up to a taller box. Stand with your feet hip width apart. Start with your right foot dorsiflexed (toes pointed up). Step off the box like you are walking the plank and land with a solid athletic stance and both feet solid. When you land, your core should be engaged. Alternate the lead foot with each drop.
-      8 – 12 repetitions

3. Box Drop + Vertical Jump Reaction 

This is similar to the box drop, above, but with an added vertical jump at the end. Stand on your box, with your feet hip width apart. Start with your right foot dorsiflexed. Step off the box, land with a solid stance and both feet solid, but then immediately push off through the balls of your feet and jump up. Then land with a solid stance. Alternate the lead foot with each drop.

-      8 – 12 repetitions

4. Resisted March/Push

For this exercise you need a push sled or prowler. Add weights to the sled as needed. Start with your feet one foot away from the sled, and grab hold of the handles. You should be leaning with your body weight toward the sled in an athletic sprint posture. Now push through the ground and march forward with forceful steps, keeping your spine inline, and your core engaged. As you march, strike through the ball of your  foot, through the ground, and repeat. 

-      4 sets – 6 set x 5 yards – 10 yards

-      4 sets x 10 yards

-      6 sets x 5 yards

5. Pause Squats

You’ll need a barbell for the last two exercises. Stand with your feet armpit to shoulder width apart, with your feet straight or slightly pronated. Set the bar on the back of your trapezius muscles. Squat down by flexing the knees and hips until they are about parallel or lower. Pause at the bottom. Drive up using the leg extensor muscles. Make sure your knees are tracking with your feet, the back is tight and the spine is slightly extended (maintain great posture). 

-      2 sets – 4 sets x 3reps – 5 reps (4 seconds – 6 seconds eccentric) 

-      2 set x 5 reps @ 4 seconds eccentric / 4 sets x 3 reps @ 6 seconds eccentric 

6. Clean High Pull from the Power Position

If you haven’t done this exercise before, try it out first under the direction of a coach or trainer to ensure you are doing it correctly. Start with the bar at the power position. Aggressively push through the floor while pulling the bar and driving the elbows through the ceiling, pulling your body under the bar. This exercise is often confused with an upright row, but the movements are different. 

-      3 sets – 5 sets x 3 reps – 5 reps (5 sets x 3 reps / 3 sets x 5 reps)


A more explosive vertical is within reach. Add in the above exercises as part of your training and you’ll begin to see results. If you have any questions about the exercises or videos, send me a message through the contact form or find me on Instagram. And let me know how it goes!


*NOTE: You should consult your physician or other health care professional before starting any fitness program to determine if it is right for your needs. Do not start any fitness program if your physician or health care provider advises against it. If you experience faintness, dizziness, pain shortness of breath, or any other adverse health symptom at any time while exercising you should stop immediately.  

The health and fitness information on this page has been prepared by Coach DJ Taylor and is for educational AND informational purposes only.


Sarah Orner