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Basketball Jumping Exercises: Improve Your Game with Plyometric Training

written by: Sylvie Colette • edited by: Cheryl Gabbert • updated: 2/23/2010

Basketball demands a lot from your body. In addition to working on your shooting skills, incorporating basketball jumping exercises into your weekly workout can greatly increase your performance.

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    Strength Building Exercises

    Basketball players who actively work on increasing the strength of their legs and core will improve their explosiveness on the court. The game of basketball involves a lot of jumping, so working on proper form while building strength is essential.

    Strengthening your jumping muscles will help improve the height of your jumps and the control that you have while jumping. There are several excellent exercises that can be practiced without any special equipment.

    The best method is to practice a series of squats. A squat is little more than a regular jump, in slow motion. Performing sets of squats in addition to any aerobic or plyometric exercise will quickly build your strength. It works the muscles required for jumping and gives them exceptional power to push off the ground.

    Proper Stance for a Squat

    • Stand with your feet shoulder width apart.
    • Contract your abdominal muscles
    • Bend down until your butt is in line with your knees, or as low as you can
    • Be sure your knees are behind your toes
    • Keep the weight in your heels and slowly push your body back to the standing position
    • Repeat. Perform three sets of 10-15 squats in a controlled motion.

    Standing calf raises are another important addition to basketball jumping exercises since they work the landing muscles. Your ankles, toes and calves need to stay strong and limber.

    Standing Calf Raises

    • Stand on the edge of a stair, block or phone book, or on the ground.
    • Raise up on the balls of your feet.
    • Alternate legs to build up more strength in the calves.
    • Work the inside of your calves by placing your feet farther apart.
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    Aerobic Conditioning

    Jumping rope is a great way to build endurance and the explosive quickness you need in basketball. A simple jump rope circuit as outlined below is anything but easy. Challenge yourself with 20 repetitions of each of the following jump rope drills. A continuous 140 repetitions without resting helps with conditioning and coordination.

    • Keep your feet together and hop straight up and down.
    • Keep your feet together and alternate hopping forward and backward.
    • Keep your feet together and hop side to side.
    • Hop in place on your right leg.
    • Hop in place on your left leg.
    • Alternate hopping on your right and left legs each repetition.
    • Start in a split stance-one foot forward, the other back. Switch leg positions as you perform each rep.

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    Learn Basketball Jumping Exercises that the Pros UseBasketball jumping exercises are an important addition to your training regimen. Plyometrics techniques are used by the NBA to help their players improve their all ready impressive game, take your clues from them as you learn a few of their basketball jumping exercises.
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    Jumping Exercise Using Body Weight

    Using your body weight, practice a series of deep knee bend jumps. These can be done near a wall, so that you reach to touch a certain mark on the wall. Charting the height of your jumps can be an excellent incentive. Something as simple as a post it note can be aimed for, which will increase your reach, and in turn improve your game.

    • Stand next to a wall.
    • Crouch down low, almost touching your bottom to the ground.
    • Explode upwards as high as you can.
    • The moment you land, immediately crouch and launch yourself back up again.
    • Aim for 15-20 repetitions in 3 sets.

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    NBA Workout

    NBA coaches across the board use plyometric training with their athletes. To improve your game, incorporate these basketball jumping exercises two or three times a week. The following exercises involve the use of a sturdy bench or box, at least 12" high, a medicine ball and a workout partner.

    Front Box Jump

    Stand facing a bench or box. Jump onto it with both feet, landing softly with your knees slightly bent. Step down and repeat.

    Side Box Jump

    This time stand with the box or bench at your left side so you jump onto it laterally. Land softly, step down and repeat. Perform the second set with the box at your right.

    Medicine Ball Chest Pass

    Stand facing your workout partner with a medicine ball at your chest. With your feet staggered, and core tight, toss the ball forward.

    Box Jump with Medicine Ball Pass

    Same as the front box jump, but this time hold a medicine ball in front of your chest. After you land on the box or bench and stabilize yourself, deliver a chest pass to a partner.

    Do two sets of 5-10 repetitions, resting for 60 seconds between sets.

    This workout is from Aaron Nelson, head athletic trainer for the Phoenix Suns.

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    Men's Health Total Fitness Guide, Rodale Press, 2008

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