I approach the vertical jump with various training modalities, so today I’m sharing a few I always come back to: here are the best weight training exercises for vertical jump.

Athlete Trains for Vertical Jump

If you’re looking to hit a bigger vertical, you should begin to focus your training on strength and power.

Here’s my method for strength training to hit extra inches:


As you hit a vertical jump, you’re essentially performing a powerful hip extension.

The first phase of the jump requires you to collapse and flex at the hips as the glutes push back. Next you extend at the hips and explode up, utilizing the power of the glutes to fire you vertically.

Athlete trains to increase vertical jump

Strength training allows us to recreate the vertical jump pattern, while adding resistance.

As an athlete you know this is the method we use to break down muscle and build it back stronger.

We’re looking to activate the proper muscles to enhance this movement pattern with weight training exercises for vertical jump.


A lot of guys encounter trouble adding inches to their vertical because they’re squatting.

Squatting to build your vertical jump is a huge misconception since it works the wrong movement pattern.

The vertical jump is not so much a squat, but it works through the bend pattern.

Squatting turns on more of your front-side mechanics. A bend on the other hand will activate muscles of the posterior chain, utilizing the glutes and hamstrings.

These are powerful muscles that get you up and exploding off the floor.

Since many athletes are training with drills that strengthen the wrong movement pattern, I want to draw attention to the best weight training exercises for vertical jump. We want to use an exercises that mimics the exact same movement pattern.

Here’s a few of my favorites:


1. Deadlift

Athlete Performs RDL

Any deadlift variation is going to strength the bend pattern.

Whether it be conventional or Romanian you’re forced to push the hips back. This works hip flexion/extension.

  • RDL – These have to be one of my favorite variations of deadlifts. Take a slight bend in the knees, then maintain that position so all of the work is coming from the posterior chain. You should feel a stretch in the hamstrings as you lower the barbell to the floor, and a strong contraction as you stand up into hip extension.

2. Hang Clean

Athlete Performs Hang Clean

Hang cleans allow you to work on power. Typically I’ll have an athlete decrease the weight they might typically use, which allows them to pull a lot faster.

You begin this movement by pushing the hips back, and then exploding through hip extension to bring the bar up. This is the exact movement pattern you’ll use during a vertical jump.

3. Kettlebell Swing

Athlete Performs Kettlebell Swing

Holding a KB with both hands in front of you, step the feet just below the hips. You’ll begin by fixing the knees at a slightly bent position (similar to an RDL) and hinging at the hips.

As you bring the hips back you’ll carry the KB between the legs. Next, explode by pushing the hips forward into hip extension, and allowing the momentum to carry the KB up to shoulder height.

This is another great exercise which allows you to transfer power and utilize the stretch-shortening cycle.

Stretch-Shortening Cycle

  • During hip flexion (the hinge) you’re stretching the glute and hamstring muscles. As you go into hip extension, those same muscles shorten.

4. Kneeling Squat

You can load up a barbell pretty heavy for these ones. I like to set the bar at the proper height so that you can un-rack from your knees.

Athlete Performs Kneeling Squat

Athlete Performs Kneeling Squat







Come to a kneeling position on a mat or cushion. You’ll sit back on top of your heels and then explode up using the glutes, and pushing the hips forward into full extension.

Remember that the most important factor of any of these weight training exercises for vertical jump is to activate the glutes. These are the most powerful muscles when it comes to getting serious height on your vertical.


If you want a higher vertical jump, it’s not just about hitting the rim playing basketball.

You’ve got to get in the weight room and start performing these weight training exercises.

Another great resource to check out is the #1 factor for a higher vertical jump.

My absolute go-to’s will always be any sort of bend movement that trains you to have a powerful hip extension. Adding these into your lifting sessions will really support you in adding inches to that vertical jump.Athlete Increases Vertical Jump

Looking for more?

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