Did you see Steve Francis in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest? Then he finished as the runner-up to Vince Carter with some sick dunks. Actually, he had a 44-inch vertical at that time! That’s right, 44 inches! Besides Vince Carter (45-inch vertical) Stevie Franchise had the highest vertical in the league at that time! And in case you didn’t know – the guy is only 6′ 3”!
“I never dunked on Shaq or Mutombo. But I got ‘Zo. Never got C-Webb. I got Patrick Ewing, Vin Baker. I remember those dunks because those guys are always saying, “You ain’t going to dunk on me,” and things like that. But I got them!”
– Steve Francis
So, how do you get such a sick vertical? As a start, it’s important to know that being able to jump high is the result of a combination of these things:
– Natural ability
– Leg strength
– Explosive power
– Overall athleticism
That means, if it’s not in your genes, you probably won’t ever be able to jump like Steve Francis. Then again, none of us can. But no matter what your vertical leap is now, you can always make it better. For motivation, just take a look at Steve Francis’ workout back in the days – it’s a
4 days a week, one hour a day workout (running and playing basketball not included, = additional 3 hours a day). Every day consists of different exercises, only certain exercises like jump rope are done every time.
Day 1 (Monday):
– Jump rope (300 jumps)
– DynaDisc figure eight Step onto a pair of discs (they look like deflated dodge balls) holding a ten-pound medicine ball. (15 figure eights in each direction)
– Seated reverse crunch Sit on a flat bench with your legs sticking straight out over the end. Supporting yourself with your arms, lean back until your upper body is at a 45-degree angle to the bench and slowly bring your knees up to your chest, keeping your upper body stable. Slowly return them to the start position to complete the move. (2 sets of 15)
– High knee-raise sprint Sprint the length of a basketball court staying on your toes and lifting your knees as high as possible. (20 sprints)
– Leg curl (2 sets of 15)
– Seated leg extension (2 sets of 15)
– Hip abduction (2 sets of 10)
– Hip adduction (2 sets of 10)
– Stability-ball dumbbell chest press Like a standard chest press but while lying with your back on the ball to get in a little more work on the core. (2 sets of 10)
– Dumbbell front raise You’re now getting into the part of the workout designed to really carve up the shoulders. Making sure your arms remain just outside of shoulder width, raise first one, then the other, for one rep. (2 sets of 15)
– Dumbbell lateral raise To work the outside of the shoulder, stand bending slightly at the waist, holding a weight in each hand, your palms facing each other. Raise your arms to the sides until they’re parallel to the ground, then return. (2 sets of 15)
– Rear deltoid dumbbell raise Lie face down on a bench set to a 45-degree incline with weights in each hand, your arms hanging off the bench and slightly bent. Keeping that same elbow bend, raise your arms to the sides until they are parallel to the ground, then return. (2 sets of 10)
– Single-arm dumbbell row Now for the back of the shoulders, hold a weight in your right hand, lean over, and place your left hand and knee on a bench for support. Keeping your back slightly arched and your shoulders parallel to the ground, draw the weight-bearing elbow up toward the ceiling, then return. (2 sets of 10, then switch sides and repeat)
– Stationary bike (25 minutes)
As for the vertical jump exercises, besides the common exercises like jump rope and calf raises, Steve used some special, very effective exercises.
Here is an example:
Stand straight up, and jump as high as you possibly can without bending your knees (your knees will bend slightly). As soon as you hit the ground, jump back up gain, and repeat this motion a number of times. This exercise is extremely effective at strengthening your lower leg muscles.
Keep in mind that vertical leap is part leg strength and part explosiveness. In fact, the explosiveness part is the more important of the two. It’s not about the size of your leg muscles, or how much weight you can put up in the gym. It’s about your athletic ability, coordination, and your ability to explode up and off the ground.
For the rest of the jumping exercises and crucial things to know about vertical jump (f.e. why often what you “don’t” do is more important then what you “do” do) please take a look at this page I strongly recommend: