Why do NBA players Jump so High?


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Out of all of the sports in the world, it seems as though basketball players have one of the highest vertical jumps on average; specifically NBA players.

What is the reason?

Is it that they are on average more naturally gifted than other professional athletes?

Or is it because the types of training they do on a daily basis build upon their ability to jump so high?

Well, the simple answer is both.

Before we go into the sciences of this, check out this “Best Vertical Jump Programs – Product Review” page for the review of some of the BEST vertical jump programs in the market.

Let’s break down this article into 3 sections:

(1) How high are NBA players verticals compared with other athletes?

(2) What is the science behind a higher vertical jump?

(3) What can an average person do to jump as high as an NBA professional?

Here we go!

(1) Where do NBA players rank in terms of their vertical jump?

To make this a fair comparison, we will be using the “Standing Vertical Jump” to rank these players.

This is where players do not take any steps before taking off.

It might be surprising but here are the results based professional North American Pro Combine results:

  1. NFL – 46 inches
  2. NBA – 38 inches
  3. MLS – 36.5 inches
  4. AFL – 35 inches

As you can see, the high-flying NBA players do not have the highest recorded standing vertical, but the NFL does!

You might be asking yourself, how is this possible?

Well, having a higher vertical jump is dependent on your ability to explode off of the ground. Although NBA athletes do have an extremely high level of explosiveness seeing players such as Russell Westbrook or Blake Griffin, NFL players train day in and day out on their ability to explode off of the ground.

Wide receivers for instance, have one opportunity per possession to beat their defender. To train for this, they specifically work on exercises that allow them to instantly beat their defender to get to an open spot.

Although pro athletes have training and equipment that enhances this ability, there are also home exercises for the average person to work on it themselves!

(2) What is the science behind a higher vertical jump?

There are two types of muscle fibers: slow-twitch muscles & fast-twitch muscles.

Slow-twitch muscles are mainly helpful with endurance, such as a marathon runner. These allow the muscles to continuously generate movements for a longer period of time without getting tired.

Slow-twitch muscles are mainly prevalent in professional soccer players, as they must run 90-minute games at a slower pace.

Fast-twitch muscles are helpful for explosiveness, such as for a sprinter. These muscles fatigue much more quickly than slow-twitch muscles, but allow for quick maximum exertion of force.

Fast-twitch muscles are mainly prevalent in NFL and NBA players, as the game is at an extremely fast pace with a lot of quick and strong movements that are required throughout the game.

As you have may have guessed by now – fast-twitch muscles are what are important for a higher vertical jump. This is why the programs recommended on this page will focus predominantly on developing those fast-twitch muscles in an efficient way.

This is much easier to do than you think!

(3) What can an average person do to jump as high as an NBA professional?

There are a few main factors to achieve this goal: Strength, Plyometrics, Flexibility, and Balance.

These four factors will allow you to build upon the muscle groups that will allow you to jump as high as possible.

The average person CAN dunk with the right style and amount of training that is tailored towards improving your vertical.

Lastly, take care of your body.

This is the most underrated factor in performance related to sports where people tend to slack off the most.

Taking care of your body will allow it to perform to your true potential and continue to do so in the long-run.


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