Jumping off Hardwood vs Concrete? Differences in Inches


Often times you play basketball outside and realize how much harder it is to play outdoors than indoors. You seem to be jumping a lot higher indoors than outdoors also which has you wondering if there is a difference of the two surfaces?

Jumping of hardwood versus concrete has some differences, for one the surfaces in which you jump will have an impact on your joints such as landing on concrete as opposed to the hardwood. Two, hardwood floors are a lot easier and will give you a little spring unlike concrete, you will more than likely find that you can jump a few inches higher or more on hardwood vs concrete.

We will take a look at the different types of surfaces that you’re jumping on and how they may impact your joints, and possibly keep you from jumping your highest.

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Does jumping off hardwood make you jump higher?

Simple Answer, Yes! If you are comparing jumping off concrete, grass, sand or even dirt then yes jumping off hardwood will more than likely give you the highest jump when compared to the other surfaces.

Gymnasium hardwood floors are used and design to absorb the athlete’s impact when running and jumping. You may notice that every time you take a step you sink into the floor slightly this is because the wood flexes due to the wait placed on it. As you step off from the floor you get a little push from the wood returning to its normal state. That’s where the spring comes in, allowing you to jump higher than other surfaces. Most don’t even notice it unless they are jumping outdoors a lot then decide to move indoors in gymnasiums.

It does seem that college and professional basketball stadiums hardwood floor have an added measure of cushion in spring from what I have noticed. This helps the players absorb impact from running and jumping to preserve their joints. Some athletes will notice they jump higher on certain floors than others. Not all hardwood floors are made the same.


Is it hard to jump off grass?

Not to often do you see basketball players jumping off grass to attempt dunks. There is a reason for this, but not all are bad. There actually is some positives to jumping of grass too.

When attempting to jump of grass you have a stable ground but as you approach with your jump that stable ground now becomes a slippery one. The blades of the grass cause you to slide using your basketball shoes to attempt to dunk.

You will find that as you are about to take off it feels as if you are going to slide and lose your balance while possibly falling.

The other problem with jumping of grass is that you also sink in losing the power and force that you use to push of the ground. Its safe to say you probably will not jump as high as you would on concrete or Hardwood flooring.

There are some benefits to jumping of grass, for one when you land it is very soft or at least not as hard as concrete. This will help if your someone who gets a lot of soreness in their joints from playing basketball and jumping.

Maybe you want to work on your dunk technique on a lower rim, grass is perfect to absorb the impact and practice without worry to much about sore joints afterward.

But what about the grass and how slippery it is?

Well, there are a couple of things you can do for one, you can jump barefooted, this will help with traction better than using your basketball shoes to dunk.

Or two if you have a pair of cleats, baseball, soccer or football you can wear those to jump in giving you a lot more grip.

Jumping on grass is definitely harder to do than any other surface. The grass turf absorbs your power output not giving you the highest jump, not only that it may be difficult at first to be consistent with your approach and not feel as if you’re going to lose your balance as you are about to jump.


Is jumping on the concrete bad?

The body has the ability to adapt to the stresses that are placed on it. As far as your joints that a different story. The question of jumping on concrete to attempts dunks is going to be a matter of the subject. When something hurts we stop and asses, we try again and if the pain continues or gets worse we should stop completely. That’s usually the progression with athletes.

Growing up I played a lot of sports and I played in the worse shoes a kid could probably have without any support for my feet let alone joints. I never had long term joint problems. Concrete isn’t very forgiving. In fact, jumping up 3 feet and landing is a lot of impacts to absorb. This is why it is very important to monitor your body and your joint health.

I would advise not jumping every day on concrete, the long term this could cause issues down the road if your older, and especially if you already have knee and ankle problems. If you have only played on hardwood courts for the last few months years and jump onto an outdoor court, be prepared to feel some soreness in your lower legs. The impact of all that running and jumping during a game more than likely will involve a lot of soreness if you are not use to the asphalt surface.

You will find there is no bounce and you jump lower than that of a hardwood floor where it has a little spring to your jump. Long-term jumping on concrete could cause shin splints, knee pain, and other soreness if you’re not careful . Always a good idea to ice your joints after you play to minimize swelling and pain to maintain the healthy limbs.


Personal experience jumping off concrete vs hardwood?

In my high school days, I had an adjustable rim I would play on my driveway and on my grass, believe it or not, I would spend time dunking on a lower height as the hoop was adjustable. I noticed a major difference  jumping off concrete than hardwood.

On concrete I was not able to dunk 9’6, I was probably an inch shy of doing so. But on a 10-foot rim I could miss dunk with self-lobs almost the same way, it made that much of a difference to me.

While on grass compared to concrete I again lost an inch jumping off the grass, but not much, but it was noticeable. So just take that into consideration, if you can dunk a 10-foot rim on concrete you are dunking easily off a hardwood floor I am willing to bet.


What are gymnasium floors made of?

The floors of your average gym are made from maple wood planks, the same wood as a bowling alley. You can imagine why they use this type of flooring due to how strong and resistant the floor is all while providing flex to it to absorb the force placed on it. As you step it flexes and springs back on, again this helps absorb the impact on an athlete’s joints.

Underneath the hardwood floor is a sub-flooring that consists of round rubber pads that are small rubber discs filled with air, spaced out 12 inches apart from each other throughout the entire gym floor. This helps absorb the shock when running and jumping.



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