In order for you to jump high, many muscles in your body are used. Jumping is a movement which basically includes the whole body, starting from the shoulders and ending with toes. Yet, the importance of some muscles is significantly higher than the importance of others! Starting from the basics, it is logical that the most work has to be done by legs and feet and to those other muscles playing smaller parts are added.
The main strength which pushes you up when jumping comes from your thighs and glutes. Both the front and back sides of your thighs play an important role, also strong glutes are very helpful. Therefore one of the more common exercises for developing vertical jump is squats with a barbell. Deep squats and half-squats imitate the jumping movement i.e. in basketball. In order to jump high these muscles have to exceed a load equal to multiple times your body-weight!
In addition to the upper leg muscles, also calf muscles and the foot are important. Although the calf muscles are not primary in a powerful vertical jump, they are still next in rank to the aforementioned. When jumping, the calf muscles work with the foot, and also in addition to the ankle, the foot also pushes you up with toes, which finalizes the jumping movement. Certainly it is beneficial to turn attention on toes when training for jumping!
Image credit: rajganpath.com
In addition to the main lower-body muscles, vertical jump is also affected by the upper-body. Namely the shoulders give great inertia to the jumping movement. For example, if you compare the importance of calf muscles to powerful shoulders, shoulders may be more important.
Abdominal muscles and hips, which are quite closely connected, are also important in jumping. Namely, the main movement in running and jumping comes from hips. But from all this it cannot be concluded that it is useful to train some muscles and not useful to train others. The body needs steady and regular training. Also different training methods should be used – both plyometric and strength training. Regular training involving your whole body is the key to success in jumping higher!