The 2 Absolute Best Exercises to Increase Vertical Leap

By: Luke Johnstone

Forget all the confusion about complex training regimes to increase vertical leap. Let's get to back to basics. Athletes with the biggest vertical leaps are as strong as hell!

For instance, did you know that weightlifters have the highest vertical leap of any athlete in any other sport?

It's true.

There are many other elite athletes that have vertical leaps reaching 40 inches. Athletes such as sprinters, footballers and shot putters train for brute strength and power, don't necessarily need a large vertical leap, yet have one due to their training.

After much research, I found a common theme amongst athletes who have large vertical leaps. They are extremely strong in 2 exercises in particular...the squat and the power clean.

Now by strong I mean being able to squat at least double their bodyweight and power cleaning 1.5 times their bodyweight. Here are some examples.

BRIAN URLACHER

In high school was drilled about training legs in the weight room. His coach didn't care if they didn't get all their upper body in, as long as they got in their squats and power cleans.

At 6'4 and 258lbs, he runs 4.57 in the 40yard dash, and has a 38 inch vertical leap. He can power clean 405lbs, and squats 555lbs!

VERNON DAVIS

The 49ers tight end has been labelled as a freak of nature. At 6'3 and 253lbs, he can run a 4.38 second 40 yard dash and has a 42 inch vertical. He is also an obsessive weight trainer who can squat 685lbs and power clean 355lbs.

BEN JOHNSON

There are rumours that Ben Johnson never did any plyometric training. All he focused on was heavy weights and sprinting. I even read that he refused to run more than 100m because he wanted to be as explosive, and have as many fast twitch fibres firing as possible.
Ben Johnson was extremely explosive and was known for having the best starts of his era. This can be directly related to him being able to squat 600lbs for 6 reps, when he only weighed 190lbs!

Now I don't want to speculate about steroids helping him lift this much, but you cannot ignore the correlation between his strength to his speed and explosiveness.

MAURICE GREENE

Former world record holder running 9.79 seconds in the 100m can squat 500lbs at a weight of 175. This gave him a huge vertical leap and a tremendous start out of the blocks.

MATT SHIRVINGTON

Australian sprinter, also known for his explosive starts can power clean 120kg and squat 200kg. This is all while weighing 80kg.

NICU VLAD

A 220lb world record holding weightlifter once recorded a 42 inch vertical leap! This was with no warm up and while wearing heavy weight lifting shoes.

MARK HENRY

WWE wrestler who competed at the Olympics for weightlifting can at 6'3 dunk a basketball. This is amazing, considering he weighs 385lbs! Along with his world calibre snatches and clean and jerks, he can squat 1000 pounds and deadlift 900.

BROCK LESNAR

Former amateur and professional wrestler, UFC fighter Brock Lesnar is a phenomenal athlete. He once tried out for the NFL and at 6'3 and 283 lbs recorded a 4.65 40 yard dash and a 35 inch vertical. This is incredible without even taking into consideration he was banged up from a fairly serious motorcycle accident a few weeks prior to the test!

He can also bench press 475 pounds and squat 695 pounds.

FRED 'DR SQUAT' HATFIELD

Powerlifter who at 255 pounds can squat over 1000pounds! No wonder he has recorded a vertical leap of 40 inches.

Although squats and power cleans aren't the only 2 exercises to help increase vertical leap, you cannot ignore the underlying theme amongst all these athletes. They are all extremely strong, in relation to their bodyweight in these 2 lifts.

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