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Weighted Jump Squats for Vertical?


I have been thinking of doing Jump Squats with a rucsack filled with sand (weighing about 20-30 % of my 1RM).

Just jump as high as possible, for about 3-5 reps, for 3-5 sets, with a recovery time of 48 hours between these activities.

For the first two weeks I would keep the weight the same (so my muscles get accustomed to a new routine), then every week I would add 2 pounds to the rucsack.

I would like to know:

  1. Are Weighted Jump Squats are a good choice for vertical leap improvement?

I think this exercise does well to stimulate muscles used for the vertical jump (both in terms of strength and rate of force development), but I am sure there are way more experienced people on this forum who can set the records straight for me

  1. Are Weighted Jump Squats safe given the correct amount of weight (20-30 % of 1RM) and a good surface on which to perform them?

  2. Are 48 hours appropriate or should the recovery time be longer (to prevent overtraining) or shorter (to benefit from the process of overcompensation)

  3. Is it a good idea to add 2 pounds every week? Should I add more or less weight, more or less often?

These would be the main things I would like to know; of course you can feel free to lend any advice you can spare.

Thank you for having the patience to read such a long post.

Happy Holidays!


Just jump man, it really doesn't matter.
Do it every day, 3 sets of 5, you won't "overtrain" unless you are a pathetically weak human being.

You really don't even need weight.
You can just jump as high as possible a few times..
It'll work just as well, I promise, and it's pretty hard to hurt yourself jumping, but it's not too hard if you start putting weight on your back when you do it.

Just jump.


Increase you FULL back squat while minimising weight gain and also practice the vertical jump a few times per week. Squat heavy & jump. Simple as that.


Is it possible to get decent gains in, say, 3 months time by doing:

  • Jump Squats - no weight - 3-4 reps, 3-5 sets each day
  • Glute Ham Raises - gradually add weight - 4-6 reps, 3-5 sets each day ?

What would be a good estimate of these gains (inches/3 months)?


A weighted vest puts the load in a much better position than loading a rucksack! Also if you really want to improve you need a combination of unweighted box jumps for reps, weighted box jumps in the rep range of 4-6, just doing weighted jumps all the time will do nothing but hurt your knees, a combination of the two would be most effective, also throwing in some heavy squats and body plying squats will both help to develop explosive power in the legs!

I do a workout similar to this occasionally for more explosive kicking power! Workout would be something like:
Warm up (including bodyweight squats and lunges)
Barbell squat 12-15, 10-12, 8-10, 6-8, 2, 2
Box jump (24" box +(increase height of box inbetween sets) 2-3x15
Weighted box jump (up to 16kg weight vest)(24" box) 4x4-6
Unweighted tuck squat (high as possible) 3x3-6
Bosu plyo squat 4x8

Would leave 2-3 days then do some leg strength movements deads, squats 5x5 stuff then another 2-3 days then back to plyo workout! Hope this helped, cheers Lloyd Forrester


This is horrible advice. Don't do this if you want to improve your vert.


speaking as someone with a 40" box jump i can assure you it will help with your vert jump, when i started a 24" box was my limit. Also which part of my advice was "horrible" and why was it "horrible"? more importantly rather than just saying this is horrible ..... you could offer how you think the advice could be improved? Finally if you dont want to follow the advice ..... you dont have too, thats the point of ADVICE, thanks

So far as i could see the program i listed was covering the Phospho-creatine system, fast and slow twitch fibres through the lower body (with a predominate focus on the powerful fast twitch fibres, used for explosive force), the assissting muscles, the stability around the knees and ankles and these movements will all help with the triple extension through ankles knees and hips!


what's with the Box jump craze? it's pretty useless for increasing vertical, mainly just helps you get your knees to your chest if you have that problem.

Blasta the key thing is your Age that determines how many reps of jumps you can do, how quickly you can recover, and how frequently to do plyo's. The other thing is learning how to land, which is why box jumps can be very detrimental. If you ever do get a high vertical, coming down is where your body gets the most force. If your landings aren't good you won't be jumping for long.

Weighted jumps aren't horrible but it's not something you need to go crazy over, I don't think it's the most important though. Learning how to jump, increasing your strength, increasing your reactive force, and not trying to get 12 inches in 3 months is the best way to jumping higher.


I know that jumping high is a combination of strength and rate of force development.

I thought that Jump Squat would be a good way to help with both of these aspects. I do not have
any irrefutable evidence that Jumps Squats are a good idea; I am prepared to find out that they are not.

How do full squats with a barbell impact the leg muscles and nervous system differently from jumping as high as possible without any resistance?
An explanation would simply help me rest better.


No offense, a 40" box jump is nothing to brag about. I can hit mid 60's off the run on a box, and low 40's in true running vert. Your advice was generic, had pointless movements, too much volume, too many reps and not enough focus on quality. Someone said get your squat up and practice jumping. That is the best advice posted so far.

If you add 5lbs of bodyweight but 50lbs to your shoulder width stance parallel or below back squat and know how to jump you will have increased your horsepower tremendously and will be jumping higher. Guaranteed.


You use more weight with full squats which creates hypertrophy which with adequate recovery leads to more leg strength. Full squats is not used primarily to train the nervous system for a jump. Jumping is used to train the nervous system for a jump, adding weight to jumping is just adding more risk factors.

For a short period of time adding weight to a jump it may help, but you will plateau quicker and may eventually go father down as your body gets used to moving slower while jumping then if you had no weight.


Thanks for taking time to lend some advice.

I am going to try to get stronger and take my time with it. Patience with these things is bliss and it is so easy to forget that. Thanks Airtruth for reminding me.

I am considering trying Rear Foot Elevated Split Squats and improve my 1 RM on that. Seems like starting a whole new thread, but what are your thoughts on that?


Dude, SQUATS AND JUMPING. Why do you keep not listening to the advice being given?


elevated rear foot split squats will help to generate strength and power across legs in a way that allows them to work independently from each other, if each leg improves in strength individually then the combined output can only improve, however if you are looking to improve vert jump then i would place more of an emphasis on explosive plyo movements, than the hypertrophy.

Smaller levels of Hypertrophy will be a natural by-product of plyo training. Standing box jump of 40" wasnt supposed to be bragging ... all im saying is that with my training methods, i improved it from a 24" box.

And in response to why everyone box jumps it is a way of easily quantifying the advice of "Jump"
Rather than just standing in front of a mirror and hurling yourself at the ceiling and hoping for the best. You can measure improvements, you can progress the movement (when it gets easier) without this development ...... then whats the point, seeing the improvements will also let you know exactly what is working and what isnt, that was just a segment of my program which is more aimed at muay thai but fighters want fast and explosive legs more than most.

Anyway it was a bit of free programming feel free to use or ignore the advice as you see fit ...... its a shame all fitness websites just end in flaming when people are just trying to help others improve, Cheers Lloyd


^^my point is that the box jump is one of the worst ways to quantify improvement and really doesn't help the jump much either. Has your vertical went from 24" to 40"? that's a 50% improvement in box jump I doubt that correlates any to vertical improvement. Someone who simply improves there flexibility or knowledge can increase in 2 or 3 jumps from a 24" to 40" by getting their knees higher up. This ease of progress and outrageous numbers is the real reason people like to box jump. The only time it's helpful is when your doing a depth jump off another platform on to the box.

I'm not speaking out of ignorance, I've done them. I've worked them all the way up to 50 lbs single leg on to a 36" box. Looking back I wasted my time, but enjoyed training them because everybody who saw me as well as me thought I was bad ass.


I did something like this for rugby lineouts, with great success.

One thing. Hold the rucksack on your shoulders like a backsquat. I used a sandbag. Otherwise you'll mess with the biomechanics.


Doesn't bother me if something looks badass, Ego has no place in a gym or training environment. The only person you should worry about impressing is yourself. As i mentioned before it was for a muay thai program so i wasnt measuring vertical jump at the time so i cant give you figures for it! Blasta all i can say to you is that if you put anything on a fitness website it will get flamed, thats part of the joy of fitness everyones opinions differ and theres a million different ways to develop everything about yourself! I guess my main advice would be, experiment, try different things, see what works for you, then develop and push yourself further!

All the talk about this made me want to do a squat/jumping session, got onto my 43" gym desk with a static unweighted box jump! got onto the 24" box with 12kg vest on. 80kg = bodyweight.

Another suggestion for you to try/flame is to take strength(resistance) bands and loop them through a dumbbell on the floor and then onto the end of the barbell as you squat (advise going light to start with if these are new to you)this will focus on your peak contraction requiring more muscle fibre recruitment at the top of the move (as you leave the floor during your vert jump)


Haha, how do you not see some sort of improvement from box jumps?
I'm pretty sure you were doing it wrong..


I know this might not go over well to the people who advocate squatting heavy as a way to build vertical but I don't think that this type of lifting is the answer. It may have some carry over to your vertical but when you train something you become good at that specific task, if you want your vertical jump to go up then you need to jump with slight weight or no weight at all. Box jumps are effective in a sense because you are jumping but they place too much emphasis on landing on the box so the person jumping does not worry about jumping as high as they can and landing on the ground correctly. Airtruth made that point already and I have seen it in people box jumping.

Here is some advice I would try to follow. Strength train one time per week tops with lower body movements like the split squat and explosive low box squats. The rest of the week download any Air Alert Program and just follow it to the letter. If you have never done any true jump training I think you can expect a two to four inch increase on you jump in the very least in three months.


Nobody said he should just squat. Jump a few times a week, squat 1 or 2 times a week, that's it. Air alert is solid advice for a chronic knee injury.