T Nation

One vs. Two Legged Jumping


I was wondering who prefers one and who prefers two leg jumping? And if anyone has succesfully switched from two to one leg or vice versa?

I've traditionally been a two leg jumper because of volleyball, but think that because of my limb length, (I'm 6'8") I might want to get better at one leg jumping.


I've done both. I used to be a one leg jumper, but it seemed as I got heavier that two leg jumping became easier. If I work on them both, they are pretty similar. You really have to work on the technique to change which one you're better at, especially if you're going to a one leg approach.


Generally people who are 2 foot jumpers are stronger, more explosive and utilize their strengths more compared to 1 foot jumpers. 1 foot jumpers are naturally more "efficient", they are more reactive, and their limbs are usually longer and they utilize their body structures and reactive ability rather than strength and power to achieve their jump heights.

Usually 2 feet jumpers are better at the acceleration phase of a dash (0-30m) and 1 foot jumpers are better at maintaining and reaching top speed.

What you will see is that a lot 1 foot jumpers covert to 2 foot jumpers as they get older and become stronger/heaiver etc. It is much more difficult to improve your 1 foot jumps, but you can increase your 2 foot jump heights/standing vertical leaps significantly with strength gains.

The reason for this is probably because it is more difficult to improve reactive ability coordination and cns characteristics and impossible to improve upon body structure, both play a large role in 1 foot jumps.

I've seen a lot of people who naturally jump with 1 foot reaching their jump peak by the time their puberty ended and they would jump the same height with 1 foot after adding as much as 200 pounds to their squat, but their 2 foot jumps/vertical jumps increased significantly.


i have same prob, i was one leg jumper but after adding so much strenght i'm 2 footer now. how do i convert back to 1 leg???


Definitely talking about me. :frowning:

I've seen a similar issue with a friend of mine. He has always been a two leg jumper, but he got a lot more height when he could run into the jump. At a time when he could barely grab a rim off of a vertical, he could run, jump, and easily perform two hand dunks (at a hair under 5'11"). He's older now, and has lost a bit of that off of the run, and his vertical hasn't gone anywhere either.


i am naturally a two footed jumper and in basektball games i always feel "safer" jumping off of two, but about a year ago i started trying to jump off one to see what i could do and i improved dramatically. i could dunk easily off of two feet, but could barely dunk off of one. i quickly improved just from doing the one leg jumps. but i love the power i feel with the two leg jump.


I jump off of either one or two legs, the difference between them is only about 1 (in favor of one leg).

Contrary to what others have said, my one leg jump went up just as quickly as my two leg jump as I got stronger. Then again, I was doing a lot of plyos and quite a bit of sprinting.

My advice to you is to focus heavily on your hamstrings, glutes, calves, and feet and do a lot of top speed sprinting. Also, practice jumping off of one leg. In the weight room I'd stick to GHRs and GMs along with depth drops focusing on the plantar flexors. On the track, just run some flying 30s of some 60M sprints.


Yeah, I like the two foot jump because of the power and safety as well, but having both can be advantageous. I must admit my desire is mostly for dunking purposes as I think one leg dunks look pretty graceful and spectacular sometimes.


I'm a two foot jumper as well. I always have been even when I was around 12. I can dunk sometimes, takes me a few tries to get the technique down but I can. Off one foot I don't even come close. I can easily touch the rim off one foot but I think I probably lose 3-4 inches.


I think it's also just genetic tendencies. I've always been a 2-foot jumper, as long as I can remember, and I used to be a pretty weak kid.

Even now the difference is absurd... I can touch low-mid 11' off of a two-foot jump but I can't even dunk off of one.


I agree with this. I remember jumping off of 1 foot since the 2nd grade trying to touch the bottom of the basketball net. Because I was better at it thats all I did. When I started gaining strength through squats, thats the only time I saw an increase off of two feet.
I would think the only way to change from a 2 footed jumper to a 1 is to practice jumping that way. I was able to gain inches on my 1 footed jump by doing weighted plyo's for a summer at the track.


I don't know what's happening with me. I'm 17 years old. Can dunk with both hands off one foot. But shen jumping of two foot I can barely grab the rim with one hand. Off one foot I can dunk 360 but I just can't jump off 2 foot. I have pretty strong legs( especially calves), but very weak upper body. Maybe that's the reason of my poor two-leg jump.


Your ability to jump off of one, but not two feet demonstrates that you rely a lot on your natural structure to get airborne, rather than your strength. You probably have long legs, high calves, thin hips, and are relatively light. This is a great setup for one leg jumping.

If you want to raise your two footed jump, you'll more than likely have to get stronger.


why limit yourself to one leg jumping or two legged jumping? use both.


I used to be a 1 legged jumper now after getting good at the o lifts im a 2 legged jumper.


I agree with almost every post here. When I was younger I could dunk jumping off one leg and dunk in 8th grade. Just as other people said as I got stronger and heavier I turned to two foot jumping. I disagree that 2 legged jumpers are more explosive though, it is just a different type of jumping.

One legged jumping fluidly converts forward momentum into upward motion, this effect is significantly less with two footed jumpers. The other thing I noticed was that as I got heavier and spent less time sprinting I spent much more time in knee flexion trying to produce the force to jump, and this bothered my knee. Sprinting and one legged jumping are very similar in my opinion. Just practice both of them.

The one thing I will say is that for a heavy person, one legged jumping probably results in much higher forces than two legged because the loading of that one leg is extremely rapid, and as we know, the faster the better.

Lastly, I believe the calf is much more involved in one legged jumping than two and that that muscle in particular is vital to converting forward momentum to upward power...


I think they mean explosive as in opposition to reactive. The force produced in two-legged jumping comes more from voluntary concentric muscle contraction (explosiveness), while the force produced in one-legged jumping comes more from the tendons/muscles being stretched and then springing back (reactivity).

Interesting point about converting horizontal force to vertical force. This process seems like it would be totally reactive, so the calf, or rather, the achilles tendon, would be more involved in any kind of running jump, whether it be one foot or two (as long as you are jumping correctly).


The thing about the one legged jump is that it takes a lot of eccentric strength to perform it proficiently. When your foot plants everything from your lats on down works to absorb the force. Muscular stiffness is the driving force here. The tendons all through the lower and upper legs and hips gather energy, and provided your muscles locked up quickly and forcefully enough, rebound propelling you into the air.

While it seems like the length of the calcaneal (achilles) tendon would play a huge role in this type of jumping, posterior chain eccentric strength and stiffness, especially in the hamstrings, is the most important. As opposed to two legged jumping, where the quads and glutes are more heavily relied upon and voluntary concentric strength plays a bigger part.

As for one's weight making it harder to jump off of one foot, I'm not sure how true this is. I weigh around 195-200 lbs at just over 6' and I can high touch 11'2"-11'3" off of one foot. Provided one's body is prepared to handle the stresses, weight shouldn't make too big of a difference.