What Does A Vertical Jump Program Look Like?

Coach Chase here, today’s post is about what you should expect with a vertical jump program. Many of you will have spent time doing your research, reading blogs like these, trying to decide if you should follow a jump program. You’ll be comparing the “value” of each program based on many factors, many of which will be what the program promises it has or will do for you. (Insert the lame and dishonest jump 8-12” higher in 8 weeks ad here, smh). You will finally be convinced enough to spend your hard earned money and give it a try. Great, but what now? How do you know if you are getting what was promised? How do you know that you didn’t just fall for a scam?

Hint, if you bought a program based of the promise of “x number of inches in x number of weeks”, then you probably got scammed by someone who cares a whole lot more about getting your money than they do about helping you jump higher. If that’s you, no worries, real jump training is a long term commitment and you’ll have plenty of time to move on to something better.

So now that you have a program, you are probably looking for the areas of training you learned out in your research. You know you need to get stronger, you know you need to get off the ground faster. Squats and depth jumps are there… looks good to you. After all, both of those movements look like jumping, they have to be great. Don’t get me wrong, they truly are great parts of a program. That’s the thing though, they are only parts of a program.

Looking Past the Bigger Picture

Early in your training, you may only have your eyes set on jumping 40”, or dunking, or blocking better. These are all great goals to have for sure, the problem lies in looking past the bigger picture. Are you really training to jump higher so you can be a better player and compete at a higher level? Are you really just trying to jump to touch a certain height, or do you think that if you touch that high you will be a certain type of player? It’s important to recognize these goals and our true whys because with a bigger view, we can see the need for training to include things that don’t always look exactly like jumping.

Goal: An Overall Athlete

Our goal here is to get you to jump higher in basketball or volleyball, and we are very good at that goal. We also feel that is not enough, we also want to help you become a better ATHLETE. With that comes being more injury resilient, being a better mover, being more stable, being more explosive in all directions of movement, being able to play in a lower more athletic stance, having the conditioning to continue to jump and play at your best at the end of a game, being strong all around and not just in your legs, and so much more. We got in the business of helping athletes because we were (are) athletes. We did many programs over the years, and saw the shortcomings they often had. I want nothing more than for you to jump higher for volleyball or basketball than I ever did, in less time, and with less pain and struggle along the way.

So to help you do that, we include many overlooked aspects of training in our programs. There are lots of great trainers and programmers out there, maybe you are lucky enough to already be working with one. There are also lots of great exercise options that do the job, so I am just taking a broader approach in suggesting that you look to make sure your programming includes some of what we consider the basics.

Moments in different planes of motion

Many programs only have you moving up and down, or straight forward. Sport however is so much more than that. Make sure your training gets you moving side to side and at angles as well.

Unilateral work

Loading the body, upper and lower, one side at a time not only helps identify weaknesses but also helps develop many necessary qualities of a great athlete (anti rotational strength, coordination, etc). This doesn’t have to be all of the time, but should be included.

Main movement patterns

Make sure your have some sort of variation of these movement types in your program/sport combination. Squat, hinge, lunge, press, pull, jump, carry, run.

Strength/speed considerations

Over the long term, be sure to see if your program has you training at different loads/speeds all along the strength/speed curve. There are many programming methods to do so, just make sure there is a plan to get better at more than just fast plyos or more than just max strength.

Upper body and core work

In searching for jump programs you will come along many who don’t include upper body. They will say you need to be light to jump higher, and that upper body lifts will weigh you down. If your sport is Olympic style high jumping, maybe then you will more significantly limit the amount of upper body work you do. If you are a team sport athlete however, that is nonsense. A handful of sets of presses and pulls each week won’t turn you into a body builder, but it will make you a much more dynamic and balanced athlete. It will also very likely, help you to jump higher, by being a relatively stronger overall athlete.

Jumps that vary in intensity, direction, and type

The best most athletic jumpers, build up a wide ranging history of jumps. Not every jump in training needs to be full effort max approach jumps. Not every jump in training needs to be concerned with getting as high as possible. Not every jump needs to be going up. There is lots of room for variety. Hops, bounds, skips, lateral jumps and hops, jumps onto objects, jumps over objects, jumps off of objects, jumps focused on height or on quickness of contact, jumps that focus on horizontal or lateral distance covered, or even slower hops and jumps that just focus on quality of movement and landing mechanics can all be valuable.


If your jumping program isn’t addressing jumping technique, you are leaving potential gains on the table. I believe we shine in lots of areas, but here we are a star in the industry. Lots of people in our space will copy the words we say, but they didn’t come up with the thoughts behind the words like we did. Coaches from all around the world come to learn jumping technique from us for a reason. Learn your technique from the best, learn it from us.

After looking at your program for these basic “must haves”, think about areas of movement and training you may be neglecting. If you find them to be currently lacking, we are here and ready to help.

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