By Dan Ashby
With it being Easter this coming weekend, what better time to talk about getting some bunnies?
Vertical jump and explosiveness are both very important areas within the game of basketball.
They can give you a big advantage over your opponents, for example in the rebounding battle, blocking or altering shots and finishing over defenders.
There are a number of exercises that can be used to aid performance in this area by strengthening the leg muscles and improving the stretch reflex. Below are a few ideas for you to try and implement into your next workout...
This is a great exercise to strengthen the quads, glutes and hamstrings while also challenging your core stability.
Standing up straight with you feet positioned at roughly shoulder width and toes turned slightly out, break at the hips sending your bum backwards.
At the same time bend your knees until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Your knees should be tracking out over your second toe keeping your feet flat on the floor and weight pushing through the heels and outsides of the feet.
Make sure to keep your chest up and back straight looking ahead throughout the movement. Then reverse the movement and explode up, squeezing the glutes and standing up straight being careful not to hyper-extend the knees.
Hex Bar Deadlift
Another great exercise targeting the same muscle groups is the Hex bar deadlift, a hybrid between the squat and deadlift.
Standing inside the hex bar with your feet hip width apart and toes facing forward, grab hold of the handles, setting your shoulders back and down and chest up, back straight. Squeeze the bar off the floor, and imagine pushing the ground away with your feet. Stand up explosively, squeezing your glutes, shoulders back, standing up nice and straight. Reverse the movement to lower the bar back to the floor, ensuring your back remains straight.
Bulgarian split squats
This exercise really targets the glutes and quads and is tough on your balance too, so good for the core and stabiliser muscles equally.
To perform this exercise, place one foot on a bench with your laces down, hop forward with the other leg so you are in a nice wide stance.
Then bend the front knee until your front thigh is parallel to the floor, not allowing the knee to roll in and keeping it tracking in line with your second toe, foot flat on the floor. If your knee goes forward of your toes then take a slightly wider stance. Reverse the movement to return to the starting position and then switch legs after the set.
When performing the reps try to keep your torso as upright as possible, avoiding leaning forward or side to side, keeping your core engaged.
A great exercise to target the posterior chain, (Back, glutes, hamstrings) and work on your explosive power!
Grab a Kettlebell with both hands by the handle, taking a shoulder width stance.
Set your shoulders back, chest up, back straight with a slight bend in your knees.
Hinge forward at your hips keeping your back straight and chest up, sending your bum back keeping just the slight bend in the knees.
Explosively reverse the movement swinging the kettlebell up to eye level keeping the arms straight with the power coming from your posterior chain as you push your hips through, squeezing your glutes and standing up straight. Then let the weight swing back down sending your bum back and keeping the chest up and back straight repeating the movement.
These last exercises develop the speed and power that the muscles can exert.
Two effective examples of this type of training are vertical jumps and depth jumps.
Vertical jumps can be performed on court under the basket and consist of the player jumping to reach as high as they can on the rim or backboard repeatedly, landing and exploding up straight away for the next attempt.
Depth jumps are performed with a player standing on a box and stepping off, when they hit the ground they immediately jump up onto another box that’s a different height from the one which they stepped off from.