For the last few weeks we’ve been discussing everything there is to know on developing elite vertical force, so today I’m sharing the top 2 exercises you need to jump higher.

Here’s a few of the best modalities you can use to use to develop your vertical:

Here on the blog and up on YouTube, we’ve been diving into the specific training and programming you need in order to start adding 8-12 inches onto your vertical.

Today in particular, I want to discuss my top 2 strength exercises that you should be performing weekly at minimum to see serious results.

Keep in mind  I’m only talking about compound movements here or “main lifts,” but this doesn’t take away from the importance of your supplemental exercises.

In fact, I often talk about the importance of putting a lot of emphasis on your supplemental lifts – these additional, targeted movements are what truly make a difference in your strength and power.

These are the exact modalities I teach you to use in my newest program: Elite Vertical Academy.

These 2 lifts in particular are just a few of the many important keys needed to unlock your vertical potential – but they’ll only start to make a difference with specific periodization and the proper programming.

Let’s get into it.


1. Banded Squats

Athlete Performs Banded squat

This first drill will address dynamic strength a bit more. Within EVA we utilize a lot of principles from triphasic training.

The question is: how do we actually perform this the right way?

Using back squat and banded back squat. These lifts address accommodating resistance, which is an amazing aspect to train for a better vertical.

Accommodating resistance works to make the lift equally as hard throughout the entire range of motion.

In terms of a squat, this will make the top portion just as difficult as when you’re coming out of the bottom. As the bar rises in space, the tension of the band simultaneously increases.

Think about it this way: if you perform a normal back squat and come up to the top, your range of motion stops once you’re fully standing. When you have a band on the bar, this forces you to accelerate through the upper half of the movement, which is usually the portion not getting the work.

As you exert force through the floor, your greatest work load should be at the top, which utilizes full hip extension. This is exactly what happens as you learn to jump higher in your vertical.

This is where the glutes drive forward and the hips return to standing. As the range of motion increases, the tension also increases.

No matter what type of strength training exercises you’re working on for your vertical, whether they be:

  • Isometric
  • Eccentric
  • Concentric

-utilize bands to include accommodating resistance and build up your hip extension strength.


Depending on the phase in which you’re training, I recommend that you include different tempos into your squats.

If you’re working on isometrics, you may include a pause. If you’re all about eccentrics right now, it’s a slow decent during the squat, OR if you’re in a concentric phase you should be working on that fast propulsion, in the top portion of the squat.

Programming Tip: 

As you near peak phase, think about focusing your training on being reactive and working to move the barbell up and down quickly through the squat.

In EVA I take you through a deadly combination of barbell squats and banded barbell squats that give you crazy strength gains and get you to jump higher in just a few weeks.

2. Trap Bar Deadlift

athlete performs trap bar deadlift

My next favorite exercise for vertical jump focuses on absolute strength.

If you guys have been following OTA for any amount of time, you’ll know that the trap bar deadlift is a huge part of the lower body training I do with all of my athletes, no matter the sport.

I love this drill for its ability to enhance vertical force development.

It does this by mimicking the exact movement pattern that you perform when doing a vertical jump.

It’s the perfect combination of a hinge movement with a quarter squat, so that your hips push back into the athletic position you take directly before jumping.

Here’s why trap bar deadlift is the best deadlift variation if you want to jump higher:

  1. A conventional deadlift has a little too much hinge
  2. A squat brings you down a bit too low.

The trap bar deadlift is perfect for teaching proper engagement of the glutes and deceleration, using the feet to anchor you.

This is also an easy movement to teach to younger athletes. As these guys get more comfortable with the weight, check out the calculation I use to develop absolute strength:

  • The athlete should hit anywhere from 2.2 to 2.6 times their own bodyweight

If they can deadlift the trap bar at a weight somewhere in that range, that typically means they’re strong enough to create the vertical force needed to jump higher in their vertical.


The focus will eventually move to something more power-driven.

To vary the trap bar deadlift, I have an athlete follow THIS pattern:

  1. Start on the lower handles – this automatically puts you into a deeper range of motion. As you work through this ROM, you’ll build more strength.
  2. Next you should spend some time on the regular-level handles, to really focus on increasing the intensity and working through progressive overload.
  3. Finally, you might want to add blocks underneath the plates. This allows you to work through the top portion of that movement, and focus on the “explosiveness” needed to jump higher.


Athlete Jumps Vertical Jump

These two movements are just a few of the ways that I support my athletes as they learn how to jump higher…


Don’t expect to see crazy results by just adding in banded squats and trap bar deadlifts to your lower body training days…

  • If you’re serious about your upcoming season…
  • If you want to add more points to the board…
  • Want to shock your coach and teammates?
  • If you want to JUMP HIGHER…

You need to check out the Elite Vertical Academy.

This is the only vertical jump program that’s PROVEN to train you to jump higher by up to 6-8 inches in just 16 weeks.

Let me show you how…

EVA is broken down into 4 phases:

  1. Activation Phase (5 weeks)
  2. Absorption Phase (4 weeks)
  3. Propulsion Phase (4 weeks)
  4. Peak Phase (3 weeks)

No matter what your sport is, vertical power is critical to be strong at game-time. Watch as this program elevates all your 1 rep maxes, gets you moving with dangerous agility and WINNING this season.



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