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How to Jump Higher and Farther

Learn to spring like an Olympian with this high-intensity plyometrics workout.

Ivan Ukhov of Russia won the men's high jump competition in the London Olympics with a leap of seven feet and 10.5 inches. Photograph courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

With the track-and-field events in full swing at the Olympics, our minds are blown by how the athletes can run faster, jump higher, and throw farther than any normal human being. While I obviously never progressed to Olympic status, as a high jumper for 12 years I’ve often been asked if I can jump over the nearest ten-foot fence or pole. Answer: No, and I wouldn’t recommend you try it, either.

The truth is, some people are just born with serious hopping skills. And while most of us aren’t the next Jesse Owens, adding certain types of exercises to your fitness regimen can increase your vertical distance and build up your fast-twitch muscle fibers, which fatigue quickly but allow our bodies to generate short bursts of strength and speed.

So if your next goal is learn how to dunk or just beat your friend in a psuedo-long jump competition, try this beginner workout on for size. We recommend heading to your nearest high school football field or track for this. Note: If it’s your first time doing plyometrics, consult a trainer to ensure you’re performing the exercises properly.


Jump Rope:
Double leg 2 x 30 seconds
Single right-leg hops 2 x 30 seconds
Single left-leg hops 2 x 30 seconds
Run-in-place jump rope 2 x 30 seconds
Rest for 30 seconds to 1 minute between each set.

Skip Drills:
Skips for height: Skip as high as you can for 100 yards
Skips for distance: Skip as far as you can for 100 yards
Perform these skip drills on grass or turf.

Circuit Workout

15 jump lunges x 3
15 rocket jumps x 3: Start in a low squat position and jump straight up with arms reaching towards the sky. Land in a squat position and repeat in one fluid motion.
15 line jumps x 3: Jump side to side over a line or short hurdle.
Sprint 100 yards x 3
Perform one set of each exercise. Rest for 1 to 2 minutes between each circuit.

Cool down

Your muscles are likely to feel tight immediately after the workout, so to reduce the lactic acid buildup, jog an easy two laps around the track and stretch afterward. Be sure to drink plenty of water before and after the workout.

See Also:
The 30-Minute At-Home Olympian Workout
Train Like an Olympian at Equinox’s Shockwave Class
Why Michael Phelps Sleeps in an Altitude Chamber

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  • Nicole

    Everyone!!! the best way to increase your vertical is to just keep practicing jumping. Keep trying to dunk and your legs will get stronger guaranteed! 

    Step by step to jump higher

  • Harley Cronley

    Explosive exercises on a regular basis are the best methods to jump higher effectively. I think this is is the best solution for people who want to increase their leaping ability instantly.

  • Kadoshis

    It has been proven that one of the best kept secrets to increase your vertical jump is to focus on explosive exercises. I can think back to all the coaches I encountered during my high school and college years where I was forced to do long and strenuous workouts. Now although those workouts did make me stronger as they were intended, they only increased my endurance and not my vertical. If you want to increase how high you can jump you can not only to do workouts that allow you to pace yourself. Doing quick twitch work outs such as power clinches and squats are two of the best I experienced. Any upward explosive exercise can be proven to be highly effective.


    Greg McGee

  • Nice workout that can be done anywhere with no equipment.

  • melrom

    Glad you like it, Chris! Yes, besides the jump rope, it's a really minimal workout—but still difficult!

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