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Dramatically improve your vertical leap

Every athlete playing a major sport like basketball, baseball or football, has spent time, money and energy adding inches to their vertical leap. Individuals who can jump higher in these sports simply have a better chance of outperforming their competitors in a game situation. Players with a great vertical leap can grab more rebounds, pull down off-target passes and make great catches on deep fly balls. By following these vertical leap exercises and applying proper jumping techniques, you can also increase the height of your jump and therefore improve your performance during competition.

No-arms hop - Begin this exercise with your hands on your head. Stand in the athletic position with your feet shoulder-width apart, knees slightly flexed and your rear naturally jutting out. Next, jump up, exploding into the air as high as you can. While you are in the air, try to make your knees touch your chest. Repeat this motion ten times or until you are completely exhausted.

Deep knee bends jump - Start in a standing position with your hands at your sides. Quickly crouch down as if you are trying to touch the floor. Explode upward and when you land, immediately crouch again and launch yourself into the air. Try to repeat this exercise 15 times and as you progress in your training, increase the repetitions.

Toe raises with weights - If you have access to dumbbells, carry a light weight (five to 10 pounds) in each hand. Push through your feet, extending your ankles while activating your calf muscles. Hold this position for a few seconds and then relax. Do this exercise for 30 seconds or until you experience muscle exhaustion.

Emphasize shoulder drive - It might seem counterintuitive, but your shoulders are one of the main components in your vertical leap. When you practice proper shoulder drive, begin with your hands over your head like you are about to dive into a pool. Try to get used to the feeling of utilizing your upper body strength to throw your arms down as fast as you can, creating what is known as elastic recoil.

Stay within hip width - Spreading your legs too far apart decreases your standing height. By placing your feet just inside the line of your hips, you maximize both your squat and your ability to explode into the air.

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