As anyone who bought Reebok Pumps and Air Jordans in the 1990s knows, sneakers don’t really improve your vertical leap. Instead, for a vertical leap that’ll help you blow away opponents on the basketball or volleyball court, you need to work your ass off.
But if you’re not also smart about your training, you’ll be benched (due to injury, not your laughable hook shot). So if your regular exercise routine consists of brisk walks to the fridge to grab a few beers, loading up the weight and jumping into this routine 90 mph with your hair on fire will leave you bedridden. Trust us, you’re not a sissy if you can’t lift as much as Predator-era Arnold; perfect form trumps weight every time.
In order to add up to four inches to your vertical leap, you’ll need to perform these exercises in consecutive order, three times per week for four weeks. When you’re through — the program should take roughly 20 minutes to complete — stretch for about five minutes to help with flexibility and recuperation.
EXERCISE #1: Medicine ball burpees
Burpees might be a stupid name, but they’re a smart way for building agility and explosive speed. And you need that for everything from volleyball to flag football to running from the cops.
Do 3 sets: 16 reps, 13 reps, and 10 reps. Rest one minute between sets.
Target Muscles: Calves, quads, deltoids
How to perform a burpee:
A. Grab a medicine ball and, standing upright, hold it with both hands level with your gut stomach.
B. Push the ball straight up and leap as high as you can without letting go.
C. Land softly on your toes and in one smooth motion squat down, plant the ball on the floor and with your hands on top of the ball, kick your feet out into a plank position, and do a pushup on the ball.
D. Quickly draw your knees back in, stand up with the ball, and repeat.