Did you see John Wall dunking on former NBA-All-Star Jerry Stackhouse? What about his between-the-legs-dunk in the City of Palms Dunk Contest? In case you didn’t know, John Wall, the #1 NBA Draft Pick of 2010, has a 39-inch vertical (his maximum vertical reach was 11′ 8.5″; pre draft measurements).
Now if you want to improve your vertical it’s important to understand that it’s something you have to work on separately. For example playing as much basketball as you can won’t help – quite the contrary! It might even have a negative effect on your vertical jump. The reason is because this way you only train your “jumping endurance”.
But in order to maximize your vertical you need to work on your “jumping explosion”. Exercises designed to improve your jumping explosion are different from conventional ones like squats and calf raises: you have to do them very fast and at a high intensity.
It’s all about the quality, not quantity and intensity, not the amount of repetition. The key rule here is to do as many repetitions as you can at maximum speed. Believe it or not: rest is a key element in vertical jump training. Your muscles need a lot of time to recover. That’s why you should never do vertical workouts two days after another. A period of recovery (24-48 hours) is extremely important.
There are two other things you need to keep an eye on: stretching and nutrition. Make sure to stretch before (briefly) and after each workout. Stretching keeps your muscles flexible so that they can exert maximum force.
Apart from rest, your muscles need protein (for example eggs, chicken breast, turkey, beef, fish, shellfish) and magnesium to grow. However, keep in mind that you shouldn’t take more calories to you as you burn during the day. Otherwise you will gain weight which will slow down your progress dramatically.
For a concrete vertical program, I recommend the Jump Manual – it’s simply the best vertical training program available today – with concrete exercises, week charts, videos and more.
P.S. John Wall first dunked at the age of 14 (his listed height now is 6 ft. 4 in. (193 cm); weight 195 lbs (88 kg)).