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What Type of Jumper Are You?

Who doesn’t want to be able to dunk? From the time we’re brought up, the ability to dunk a basketball is considered a very big achievement. It’ll always be worth two points, but it can be so much more than two points. A dunk can pump up your fans and teammates and ignite a game-winning run, it can also break the oppositions confidence and lead them to a meltdown.

Your jumping ability can also make you the most valuable player on the court. Players that can jump high are able to grab rebounds, block shots, alter shots, get easy putbacks and deflect passes.

Andrew Wiggins incredible two-foot vertical jump.

With the offseason approaching we will be providing many many training tips and plans to increase your vertical leaps, but before you are able to jump higher, whether it’s too dunk or just to become a better athlete, you need to identify which type of jumper you are and learn what you need to be focusing on to improve your vertical.

There are two types of jumpers. A one-foot jumper or a two-foot jumper. One foot jumpers tend to launch themselves off their single strong leg when attempting a rim grab or dunk, the same can be said for their shot blocking attempts. Two foot jumpers will get higher when they are stationary and jump off both feet.

Two foot jumpers will be able to reach their peak height on a jump with one step, or a no step take off, meaning if their vertical is high enough, they can dunk from right under the hoop. One foot jumpers will need to gain momentum by running at a moderate to high speed and take off their strong leg in order to get peak height on their jumps.

The way you prefer to jump, or the technique you jumper higher with for the most part is based on genetic tendencies and CNS characteristics. Some of these jumping patterns can be developed at a very young age, before we are even introduced to athletics.

If you jump off one foot that means you rely on your reactive ability (plyometric power) and your natural body structure. One foot jumpers are usually light, have long legs and high calf insertion points. One thing you’ll notice about one-foot jumpers that can jump really high is they have low body fat percentages.

One foot jumps usually look more efficient, and when one foot jumpers get enough momentum and energy in their jumps, their strong leg will contract very rapidly and that higher force can allow them to deliver head at the rim dunks.

The tendency to jump off one foot is also built up in youngsters when they are learning layups and practice them hundreds of times a day, this pattern can really stick with a lot of players and determine which way they will feel comfortable jumping when their older.

LeBron James, Josh Smith, DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine are some of the NBA’s best one-foot jumpers. Check out how fluid LaVine looks in his dunk 2015 NBA Dunk Contest winning performance. All of LaVine’s dunks are off of one foot. He has long arms, long legs, high calves, is light.

Check out how LaVine gains momentum with a running start and drives his left leg into the ground to gain maximum height on his jump. It’s a beautiful leap.

Two foot jumpers rely on their absolute strength and explosive power. Generally speaking two foot jumpers are naturally stronger in the lower body than one foot jumpers. Two foot jumpers that can get really high have a lot of strength and explosiveness in their glutes, hamstrings, lower backs and quads.

One thing you’ll notice about heavier athletes is that they jump higher off of two feet. This is because they have the strength in the lower bodies to exert a lot of force into the ground and explode up.

Two foot jumpers usually get higher numbers on the regular vertical leap test as it is done off of two feet. Since one-foot jumping and two-foot jumping are so relevant in the game of basketball, The NBA Draft Combine tests for both.

Nate Robinson, Jason Richardson, Dwight Howard, Vince Carter and Derrick Rose are some of the best two foot jumpers the NBA has ever seen. Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter can actually jump high off both feet as they are very gifted leapers.

Check out how Derrick Rose gathers himself up, and explodes up off of two feet to throw down the monstrous jam.

Rose has a lot of natural lower body strength, when you combine that with his reactive ability he becomes a very explosive player, especially when his adrenaline is high.

Many times I’m asked how to change your jumping technique. There are a few ways to do that. If you are a one-foot jumper and want to be able to jump as high off of two-feet, you’ll need to get a lot stronger in the lower body.

One foot jumpers looking to become two foot jumpers will need to get in the weight room, and if their not ready for the weight room they’ll need to get strong with their body weight. Some of the best exercises to increase lower body strength and explosiveness are weighted squats, deadlifts, med ball slams, power cleans and kettlebell swings.

They should also finish their lower body workouts by performing rim touches or squat jumps off of two feet.

Two foot jumpers that are wanting to become one foot jumpers, or improve their one foot jump will need to develop a spring in their strong leg. This means a lot of plyometric work in the offseason. It also means you will need to perform a lot of unilateral work (single-leg exercises) whether it’s strength training or plyometric training.

Train hard, but train smart. Focus on turning your weaknesses into strengths when it comes to jumping, but to maintain and elevate your performance be sure to strengthen your strengths as well!

Stay tuned for more vertical leap training tips and workouts.

Ekam Nagra


  1. hey

    February 24, 2016 at 3:42 pm

  2. Keith webb

    April 8, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    I’m a two foot jumper but for some reason every time i try to dunk off of one leg , i always end up jumping off my left leg which isn’t my dominant leg. What should i do so that i am able to jump off my right instead?

    • ricky

      May 29, 2016 at 8:23 am

      If you are right handed whats the problem?

    • HunteR

      August 17, 2016 at 6:33 am

      If you are right handed I think you jump on your left foot like sach lavine he is right handed but jumps on left foot its probably because of layup drills when right handed people do layups we jump on the left leg

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