Russel Westbrook… I think it’s safe to say that at least 99% of basketball players are familiar with the 2016-2017 NBA MVP. Everyone knows that he has freakish athleticism but may wonder exactly he has done to develop that athleticism. It’s a mix of exercises, along with the fact that he has highly developed fast twitch muscle fibers.
Now while it is true that everyone is different and no one has the same amount of fast twitch fibers in their body, it is possible to train the ones you do have in order to jump higher. I’ve researched and performed the three exercises I’m going to talk about in this post and I have found them to be the best when it comes to fast twitch muscle training exercises.
Another thing I want to mention before we get into the list: always train for POWER. If you want to be able to jump higher, you want to explode from the ground to the basket. Power and explosiveness will be key when doing these training exercises.
*Disclaimer* these have been MY routines and what I have done that has helped me run higher. I had excellent result increasing my verticle by 8 inches but your results may not be the same. Either way, I highly recommend all these exercises.
Now let’s get into it…
Some people may refer to this as “jump-training”. Whatever you want to call it, one thing is for sure: it’s effective. What I liked to do was fast pace box jumps as I felt it gave me a solid work out and fatigued my slow twitch muscle fibers quicker, thus recruiting my fast twitch to work harder and develop faster. We have three boxes at the gym I train so I would do 5 sets of 10 reps on each box (starting with the tallest box, kind of like a reverse pyramid set it bodybuilding) with only a 15-second rest in between sets. Your legs will be smoked after your last set.
Don’t go crazy with this one. Get in there and warm yourself up first or you could potentially get injured. Also, try to always have a spotter with you if you’re going to do free weights. What I like to do is just a normal pyramid set to failure with these. Depending on your strength, the weight will differ; don’t worry about that. Just start wherever you are comfortable, with 15 second rests in between each set, do 12 reps on the first 2 sets, 10 reps on the second 2 sets and 8 reps on the final set. Then, take a 30-45 second rest, and go to failure on your lowest weight. This will also burn out all those slow twitch fibers and recruit the fast twitch fibers; and just like the plyometric training, your legs will be completely spent once completing these.
High Knee Running:
This exercise will not only help you jump higher, it will probably help you run faster too. Two birds with one exercise, awesome!
Anyway, this exercise is simply in the title. The way I would perform this is to either do them standing still or go to the local football field and go for distance high-knee running. If standing still, you want to go for 100-500 reps (depending on your fitness level, I was comfortable at 250 for 4 sets). If you go to a field or a basketball court, you want to go all the way down and back (multiple times if you are on a basketball court) and remember to EXPLODE your knees up as high as you can while also incorporating a strong motion with both arms, fingertips together and pointed straight.
If you implement these exercises into your workout routine and perform them a few times a week, you should see an increase in your verticle jump within 8-12 weeks. Results may not be typical for everyone but these are the results I saw personally.
If you’ve tried any of these exercises yourself and would like to let me know the experience you had with them, please feel free to leave a comment below and let’s all get a discussion started!
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