Is It Better To Jump Off One Foot Or Two Feet?

This is a question that I get a lot.

There are certain scenarios where one method works better than the other.

When Is One-Foot Jumping Better?

One-foot jumping is really great for taking off without any pause. Let’s say you’ve got somebody behind you or you’re taking a cut to the hoop and you get the ball.

Lebron off one foot

Without any pause you can stomp down, go up one-foot and take off.

When Is Two-Foot Jumping Better?

Two-foot jumping is really good for the times where you need to time an alley-oop, for example.

I find it’s much easier to dunk an alley-oop off two feet.

Blake Griffing oop off two feet

If you want to be a versatile in-game dunker you need to know how to two-foot dunk, two-foot jump and one-foot jump. They both have very specific techniques.

Getting As High As Possible Off The Ground

In some of my other articles I talk about what’s called an ultimate step, where you take a longer second to last step and then a shorter step which lowers your body weight and gets your body ready to pound into the ground.

The other thing is you need to take your step and stomp directly underneath yourself.

A lot of people put their foot a little far in front of them.

What that does is it breaks all your momentum and you’ll get a knee wobble sometimes.

I don’t know if you’ve had it where you’ve got a break-away, you’re about to dunk in front of a crowd and then you step too forward and your knee wobbles and you wonder what happened.

You’ve got to stomp directly underneath yourself.

Improving Your Technique

There’s other things that you can do to improve your technique itself as far as using your tendons better, and as far as planting on the forefoot or rocker stepping properly.

If you’re jumping off two feet and you’ve got the ball, a lot of people hold the ball up in the air and jump with it in that position.

What you need to do is take that ball and when you’re jumping you put it in between your legs.

Bring it down like you’re doing a double pump dunk.

Check out this video of Aaron Gordon in the 2016 Dunk Contest and see how low (down below his waist) he has the ball right before he takes off.

Pro Tip: Click the gear icon on the video and slow the video down

When you put the ball in between your legs you’re able to use your arms and your shoulders.

What people don’t know is you can get a lot of additional momentum from using your arms.

Just try jumping with your arms behind your back.

You’re going to lose several inches.

Training Your Arms For Maximum Lift

Being able to use your arms properly is extremely important for increasing your vertical.

One way to train your arms is with a medicine ball.

medicine ball jump

Jump as high as you can with a medicine ball.

Dunk with a medicine ball and then take your regular basketball and dunk and go back and forth from medicine ball to regular ball.

You’ll find yourself using your arms more and more.

Practice Makes Perfect

Just to add a little bit more, I know this is getting kind of a long response, but if you want to be able to jump off two legs you need to be practicing it all the time.

Every day you need to get what I call max jumps in.

Max jumps means getting up as high as you can on every rep.

zach lavine jump height

Zach LaVine doing a vertical test.

Get those two-foot max jumps in, one-foot max jumps in, and make sure you’re doing them at the highest possible intensity.

As you increase your stability with one-leg movements and two-leg movements and the strength and explosive exercises, you’ll find that the technique and the strength and the quickness are all going to come together with time.

But you’ve got to put in the repetition, especially when you’re starting out.

I used to be only a one-foot jumper.

That’s what I felt most comfortable with, but after a while of practicing two-foot jumping I just preferred it.

I felt like I had more control.

I felt I could get a little bit higher.

I just liked being able to hop step into a two-foot jump and dunk, that kind of thing.

But definitely, if you want to be the best dunker that you can be in games, learn how to jump off both feet and jump with two feet.

Sorry for the long answer. If you have questions just let me know and I will respond in the comments as soon as possible.

How To Improve Single Leg Jumping Power

I recently received a question from one of the commenters on this site.

His question was:

“How do I improve my single leg jumping explosiveness? I’ve noticed that when I jump off my left leg it doesn’t appear to have the same power jumping off my right leg.”

His question is two fold. He wants to increase his jumping power, and he wants to know why he jumps higher off one leg than the other leg.

The scenario in this case is that you jump off your left leg, you jump high. You jump off your right leg, you find yourself awkward. You find yourself not jumping very high.

Here’s what’s going on. This is not a question of strength or even a question of quickness, per se.

The same thing actually happens when you throw a baseball. Throw a baseball with your strong hand and you’re going to find you can throw that ball with a lot of coordination.

strong hand

I couldn’t help myself.

You throw it with your offhand, you’re going to find yourself throwing in an uncoordinated way.

Your offhand is going to be awkward. Why is that?

It occurs because you’ve always thrown with one particular hand. You now have what’s called muscle memory.

What muscle memory does is it activates your muscles with an optimal pattern. That’s the long way of saying it makes you more coordinated, it even makes you more explosive.

If you want to jump just as high off your right leg as your left leg, you’ve got to start practicing jumping just as much off your right leg.

Right now, you’re doing all your layups, all your dunks, all your jumps with your left leg.

You have to work that athletic coordinated pattern into your right leg as well.

So to make a quick summary, what you really need to do is practice on your off leg and you need to practice every single day.

Try and practice as much as you jump off your good leg, practice just as much off your weak leg as well.

This will really help you jump higher quickly.

That leg is just as strong.

It’s just as capable of producing force, it’s just not as coordinated.

Quick Tip: How to Instantly Jump Higher Off One Leg

Let’s talk about how you can increase your vertical right now. I mean a technique that you can do right now, walk outside, and jump 2 to 6 inches higher. In order to understand this technique you’ve got to understand that in track and field this is very important. Jumping technique is extremely important to them, and they really focus on their lower body explosiveness and timing.

Below I’m going to show you specifically how to jump higher off of one leg.

Getting Popped With The Long-Short Technique

Let me just show you something real quick. Sorry in advance for the poor image quality.

penultimate step

This is an Olympic track and field long jumper.

Notice his second to last step. Look how long that step is. Look at the last step. Look how short. It’s almost half, maybe less then half of the other one.

Now take a look at another image.

vince carter jump

This is Vince Carter. He’s about to jump from the free throw line. That is Vince Carter, not Michael Jordan! Notice he’s taking a long step and then a shorter step right afterwards.

And another example.

jump higher off one leg

LeBron James doing the same thing in this picture. A long step and then a short step.

Why are athletes doing this?

This is called the penultimate step. In track and field they know if you take a long step and then a short step, and you do this very quickly and properly, it will pop you up in the air because the long step brings your body down and the short step pops your body up.

We call this getting popped, and I personally like to call it the “long-short technique”.

It’s like a trampoline effect. It’s something you can go outside and try right now.

You have to take a longer step, follow it by a shorter step. It’s very important that you don’t take too long of a second to last step. If that step is too long it’s going to slow the entire movement down. You’re actually going to jump lower. It’s a very proper specific way to train this to do it right.

In track and field they do the same steps every single time so they can do this very systematically.

As a basketball player you have to learn to feel this out so that you can do it from all the different angles that you’ll be approaching the rim at.

After a bit of practice you’ll begin to get this down and really start to see the benefits of this technique. Try it out and let me know your results!