Vertical 101: The 3 Key Factors That Dictate How High You Jump

Vertical has always been something that fascinated me and something that was very important for me to have. I’m not exactly the tallest tree in the forest, especially the forest I decided to plant myself in, one full of volleyball players. Speed and agility was another area I focused and tried to capitalize on, but to hang with others (literally), I had to jump.

Improving your vertical isn’t really as complicated as it may seem. It comes down to knowing and owning three things.

Before we go into that, know that vertical jump is your ability to generate power. With that said, here are the equations...

Power = Force x Velocity


Force = Mass x Acceleration

What all this tells us is that to jump high you need to


Let’s break it down...


Force (F) is your strength, and is part of the equation to improve your Power and ultimately your vertical jump.

The more strength you have (relative to body weight) = Means the more force you can apply into the ground

The more force you can apply into the ground = The greater your power

Things to do: Squat, deadlift, clean, lunge, step up, etc. It doesn’t matter, just get stronger!

2) Be FAST

Another piece of the puzzle is rate of force development or, in the equation, Velocity (V). What that means is, how quickly you can apply force.

The faster you can apply all the force you are generating = The higher your power output.

The higher your power output and faster you can generate/apply your force = The higher you jump..

Things to do: Box jumps, weighted jumps, depth jumps, hurdle hops, bounds, etc.


This isn’t a specific variable in the equations above, but the more efficient you are, the better you will be able to utilize your physical abilities, like your strength and speed. Efficiency with your vertical jump comes from good form and technique. This takes good coaching and then practice, and more practice.

Things to do: Jumping/landing mechanics, drills and variations to practice and feel a hip hinge, snap back, drop squats, etc.

While there is more to it, in terms of the art and science of programming, understanding the body and how it adapts, different types of training, and other factors, at the end of the day everything comes down to these three things.

So there you have it, the three key factors and formula to jump higher. Happy jumping!