vertical jump - jumping & landing mechanics

How to Jump and Land

Improve Vertical Jump Quickly

You can actually increase vertical jump relatively quickly by simply teaching & training proper jumping mechanics.

Ground Up

So how do you teach sound jumping mechanics? Well we like to start at the ground and work our way up the body.

Preparing to Jump

The Feet

Okay let’s start with the feet.

athlete jumping knees over feet

The feet need to be placed generally under the hips.

athlete ready to jump feet straight ahead

Position the feet with the toes pointing straight ahead.

For now let’s just place the weight of the body in the middle of the feet (from front back).

Bend Your Legs


Next, we need to bend the legs at the ankles, knees and hips. Now we need to bend the hips joints approximately 90 degrees.

We want them to bend so the butt and hips move backwards and the knees move slightly forwards.

athlete with bent legs

Spine & Chest Position

Your back will be relatively straight from front to back. Note that your spine will not be vertically straight up.

Because you are bending your hips, your spine will be straight up your upper body will be bending forwards so your chest will be over your knees.

Lateral Hip Stability & Strength

As the legs bend, keep your knees from moving in towards each other.

athlete not letting knees move together

Position and keep the knees over the middle of the feet.

athlete knees staying over feet

Arms & Hands

Understand that your arms are an important part of your jumping mechanics.

Let’s get them ready and loaded to help you jump by moving your hands up behind your shoulders and back.

athlete arms and hands back before jump

Jumping Up Motion

Straightening your Legs

Okay you ready to start the upward motion of the jump.

Now push your feet directly and quickly down into the ground.

athlete starting to jump

Pushing the feet down into the ground with force & speed will automatically start to extend or straighten the ankles, knees hips & likely your spine.

This action will fire the big powerful jumping muscles of the calves, hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes and likely the back extensor muscles. When these muscles work they create the ncessary forces to push the body up vertically off the ground.

Drive arms & HAnds

At the same time your straightening your ankles, knees and hips, drive your arms & hands forwards and upwards towards the sky fast.


athlete in superman position

When your jumping mechaincs are perfoemd correctly, your body will look like Superman or Superwoman.

In this position your legs, back and upper torso are straight and your arms are out above and in front of the shoulders.

Landing Mechanics

Now we have to also work on our landing mechanics because a lot of injuries to the ankles, knees, hips and spine occur on the landing.

The Feet

As your feet start to contact the ground we want the middle of our feet to contact the ground and then our ankles, knees and hips, are all going to bend again.

As you land the bending of your ankles, knees and hips will stretch the big jumping muscles (calves, hamstrings, quadricpes, glutes & back extensors) again.

Injury Prevention

This stretching action helps protect these joints from the great forces of your body weight coming down on these joints, which can range from at least 3-4 times your body weight to maybe even as high as 6-8 times your body weight. That's a lot of force and certainly enough to cause damage to these joints.

Vertical Jump Height & Speed

This stretching action also prepares your jumping muscles to quickly jump up again, explosively and fast, if the athlete is needing to quickly jump again right away.

Knee Alignment

We want to keep the knees over the middle of the feet as we land, not allowing them to move in towards each other to protect the knees from injuries.

Lateral Hip Muscle Stability & Strength

athlete landing #1athlete landing 2

The muscles on the outside of the hips, when conditioned properly, play an important role of controlling (stabilizing) the movements of the knees laterally or side-to-side as you land.

For many athletes, these lateral hip msucles are weak and so they don't keep the knees from moving in towards each other. This inward movement of the knees is associated with knee injuries so it's important to train & condition the lateral hip stabilizer muscles so the athlete can protect their knees form injury.

Arms & Hands

athlete landing arms back and up

Your arms & hands are still a part of your landing mechanics.

They will move back up behinds the shoulders like they were before you started to jump.


Use these mechanics when you jump & land to jump faster, higher and safer!

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