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  • How to train vertical jump

    EDIT: Updated 7/15/13 with new questions please see post #17

    My goal is to dunk by New Year's eve.

    Currently, I can touch the rim of a basketball hoop from a two legged jump, no running start. Estimate my vertical to be between 30-36 inches.

    It's my estimation that I need another 8-10 inches on my vertical to be able to dunk comfortably.

    I weigh 195-200 lbs. My one rep max front squat is ~250-260, ass to grass. I train lower body with weights 2x/week. First session involves 3 sets of 3-5 reps front squat, max effort, followed by assistance work. Second session is 6 sets of 3 reps front squat, dynamic effort, followed by assistance work. The bulk of assistance work is Romanian deadlifts, glute ham raises, lunges, calve exercises.

    My plan is to try and get my front squat up to 300 lbs (bodyweight will probably increase), then get my bodyweight down to around 185. I've heard that a 2xBW front squat is enough limit strength for a 40" vertical. Now obviously I wont quite be there, but I am also squatting very deep.

    I was thinking of altering my training by replacing my dynamic effort front squatting with jumps. Hopefully that will kill two birds with one stone, get me faster and also improve my jumping technique. What types of jumps would be appropriate? I was thinking simple two legged jumps under the hoop to start.

    A few more details about me that might help. I believe I'm more of a power-jumper, that is I've never had great jumping ability and I don't think I'm that good jumping off of one foot. So maybe certain types of plyometrics could benefit me more than normal two legged jumping? one legged jumps, box jumps? etc?? Im not too sure.


    Thanks for your help
    Last edited by bmp; 07-15-2013, 07:28 PM.

  • #2
    As stated by Poliquin:

    Do Deep Squats to Increase Vertical Jump
    Full-range of motion squats in which you go all the way down past parallel so that the hamstring covers the upper calf also increase vertical jumping ability and will enhance athletic performance.

    A German study shows that a 10-week full squat program increased vertical jump more than quarter squats performed with a heavier load. Researchers compared deep back squats, deep front squats, and quarter-range back squats on vertical and squat jump height. The quarter-squat group did not increase vertical jump height at all and only increased squat jump height by 2.6 percent.

    The group that performed deep back squat training increased squat jump height by 5.8 percent, and the deep front squat group improved by 7.2 percent. Vertical jump gains for the deep front and back squat groups were around 8 percent.

    This study is important because it refutes a common argument in strength and conditioning that partial-range training will provide superior angle-specific strength and power gains for athletes who normally perform movements through a partial-range of motion when competing. Rather than being superior, strict partial-range training is ineffective. Full-range motions guarantee performance enhancing effects for athletes, whether they are volleyball players, long jumpers, ski jumpers, or play a court or field sport.

    Take away: If you want to perform better, get stronger, jump higher, and have a better body composition, make a commitment to do full-range deep squats. This doesn’t mean partial-range training isn’t appropriate at times—it can be used to challenge the strength curve for advanced athletes, but it can’t be the sole training stimulus if you want to jump higher or run faster.

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    • #3
      I'm trying to get my vertical and I'm a power jumper as well. Not a jump expert but if you're a power jumper cleans would be useful. I actually think explosive (almost dynamic) work deadlifts translate really well for verticals too.

      I'm actually goin to work my jerks too, I've read jerks and snatch are the two exercises that have the most power output. Another really cool one I've been doing that I think will transfer over well is kettlebell swings with band resistance. The hip hinge which mimics a power jump is extremely strong on these.

      As far as jumps go there are basics. Less than five reps of box squats and/or depth jumps before lower body work may help.

      Comment


      • #4
        Jumping ability is really a measure of relative power. However, dunking a basketball is absolutely a skill that is more than simply jumping ability. Think of how you develop jumping ability...what muscle groups, movements, and skills are required? You need to train the hip extensors, knee extensors, plantarflexors, and neural system. Progressive resistance training like squat, deadlift, and lunge variations are good for the knee and hip extensors. Speed, agility, and quickness (SAQ) drills are good for the plantarflexors and the neural system. Dynamic warmups etc. are good to aid the transfer of strength to athletic skills. Also Olympic lifts are excellent ways to learn to transfer power from the ground up. For a beginner the hang clean is probably the way to go. Complex training (heavy strength lifts like squats followed by low load power exercises like plyometrics) are also excellent ways to improve power. If you need specific recommendations I will check back in on this thread tomorrow.

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        • #5
          Dammit now this thread got me wanting to dunk. Throw some knowledge at us KB!
          Max Muscle
          5020 Katella Ave.
          Los Alamitos, CA 90720
          www.MaxMuscleLosAlamitos.com

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          • #6
            My brother bought a program like 10 years back called "air alert 2" which helped him get to a point where he could dunk a ball.

            I've been trying to mix that in to my dynamic effort leg days. It basically included deep jumps, single legged calf raises, step ups, thrust ups (jumping with only your calves), and then burn outs (little 1 inch jumps). Reps and sets would increase every week so by 12 weeks you'd supposively add 12 inches to your vertical.

            Or you can check out youtube, there were several videos on there about increasing your vertical.

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            • #7
              There is some evidence that stability training will assist the vertical jump in terms of muscular coordination and core training in terms of limiting energy linkages, but I think resistance training and plyometrics will give you the most bang for your buck. First I’ll talk resistance training. Resistance training alone is an important source of power development. Again, working on the main muscle groups here would be the calf complex, the hip extensors, and the knee extensors. Calf raise variations, squat, deadlift, and lung variations will all be effective. However I wouldn’t focus on going too deep with squatting. Look at the countermovement in a vertical jump, one doesn’t descend to parallel so it’s not necessary and won’t provide any additional benefit to squat deep in terms of vertical jump performance. It is important to focus on explosive concentric contractions. So, descend under control, but then drive up quickly. If the load is heavy enough you may not come up quickly, but it’s all about intent…try to always drive up quickly. Even in warm up sets when the load is light drive up quickly and explosively. This will train the neuromuscular system to respond with rapid force development which is necessary in a vertical jump. And, stick with ground based movements. Machines like leg extensions and leg presses will provide little help. Although they will improve strength and power if performed correctly they do not mimic the mechanics and musculature required when on your feet.

              Also the clean and snatch have been the traditional forms of weight training that develop power. This is because of the high speeds with which these lifts are performed and that they emphasize triple extension through the hip, knee, and ankle just as the vertical jump does. I’d go with 80-90% of 1RM load for a single effort power lift, and 75-85% of 1RM for a multiple effort event power lift. And, if you’re a beginner stick with the hang clean as it’s probably the easiest and mimics the depth of a vertical jump.

              Combining resistance training with plyometric exercise is another means to improving performance in the vertical jump. Plyometric training can be taxing so don’t kill yourself, I’ll give some general volume recommendations later. Also, performing heavy resistance training and plyometrics on the same day is generally not a good idea outside of complex training. Complex training involves resisted movements followed by a biomechanically similar plyometric exercise. An example of this would be a split squat followed by a jumping lunge or a back squat followed by jumps in place. The idea behind this style of training is that the stimulus for plyometric training will be heightened because of an increased motor neuron excitability from the load placed on the body before the plyometric movement. In addition it may increase the quantity of type II fibers which is significant because of the high correlation between the percentage of type II fibers and peak power output. OK that’s it for resistance training, I’ll come back later to post on plyometric suggestions and warm-ups.
              Last edited by ; 01-21-2013, 11:09 AM.

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              • #8
                Waweeewah, very nice!

                That was a shit load of info, thanks for that. So as far as programming, are you still advocating training twice a week but instead of having one "power" max effort day and one "speed" dynamic effort day, to do both heavy resistance training and movement specific plyometrics in both sessions?

                My current leg days are

                Day 1
                ATg front squats 3 sets 3-5 reps
                Romanian deadlifts 3 sets of 5-8
                Glute Ham raises 3 sets of 6
                Seated Calve raise 3 sets 6-10
                Standing calve raise 3 sets 6-10

                Day 2
                ATg front squat 6 sets 3 reps @ 50%1RM
                Romanian deadlifts 3 sets of 10
                Glute Ham raises 3 sets of 6-10
                Seated Calve raise 3 sets 8-12
                Standing calve raise 3 sets 8-12
                Lunges 3 sets of 10

                If I'm understanding your advice correctly you'd replace the ATg front squats with parallel back squat, add plyos to both days that are movement specific, add hang cleans?

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'll come back to your question, but you're leaving out a huge part of a proper athletic training program, especially one that wishes to improve your vertical jump. I'd suggest following a warmup that consists of 1) tissue care, 2) activations, 3) static mobility/remedial work, 4) Barefoot Slow Dynamic Warmup, 5) Either Lateral OR Linear SAQ work, 6) High Tempo Dynamic Work. Then from there I would recommend some core work, followed by power work, strength work, then static stretching and foam rolling again if you desire to close out your workout each day. This is how all training programs should progress if available. I'd suggest something like Mon/Tue/Thur/Sat (or Fri) for strength training days. I will answer your question more specifically on the next post where I will address core, power, and strength suggestions.

                  Here is a sample of what I suggested above

                  Foam Roll – Every day you train
                  • Hamstrings
                  • Quads
                  • Psoas
                  • IT Band
                  • Hip Adductors
                  • Glutes
                  • Erector Spinae
                  • Thoracic Spine
                  • Lats
                  • Pecs

                  The Stick, Tiger Tail, or Ball – Every day you train
                  • Peroneals
                  • Antertior Tibialis
                  • Posterior Tibialis
                  • Gastroc/Soleus
                  • Posterior Shoulder/Scapula Area
                  • Pecs
                  • Triceps
                  • Forearms

                  Activations – Every day you train…you can mix these up
                  • Band Pullaparts
                  • Lateral Band Walking
                  • Band Clamshells
                  • Pick your favorite glute bridge variations

                  Mobility – Every day you train…you can mix these up
                  • Wall Hip Flexor Mobs
                  • Wall Ankle Mobs
                  • Squat to Stand
                  • Spidermans
                  • Warrior I

                  Slow Dynamic Warmup (Barefoot) – Every day you train…you can mix these up
                  • Foot to hip grab
                  • Overhead lunge with side bend
                  • High Knee Grab
                  • Heel up grab
                  • Lunge tuck hamstring grab
                  • Lateral squat
                  • Crossover reach back
                  • Inchworm

                  Choose either Linear or Lateral Ladder Drills, one each day of the week

                  Linear Ladder – Once per week…you can mix these up
                  • Icky Shuffle
                  • 2 in 2 out Right then Left
                  • Single leg hops forward Right then Left

                  Lateral Ladder – Once per week…you can mix these up
                  • Lateral 2 in
                  • Lateral 2 in 2 out
                  • Single leg lateral hips right then left (outside foot leads)

                  High Temp Dynamic Work – Every day you train…you can mix these up
                  • High Knee Skip
                  • High Knee Run
                  • Leg Swing Skip
                  • High Knee Carioca
                  • Cross in Front Skip
                  • Backward Reach Run

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I've covered tissue work, activations, dynamic warmups, and movement work. Next I would suggest core training followed by power training, then strength training. I think it's important to train the core before strength and power exercises for a few reasons. First, activating the core before heavy or powerful lifts engages the core and reinforces motor control, body awareness, and proper posture. This ensures good technique will more likely be followed when you add load or high speeds. Two, if you don't do it before the meat and potatoes of the workout you probably won't do it afterwards. A few notes on core training. I believe that progressions should generally follow the following parameters:

                    1. bilateral before unilateral

                    2. stable before unstable

                    3. partial range of motion before full range of motion

                    4. bodyweight before loading

                    5. slow before fast

                    6. simple before complex

                    I would like to bring to light the ideas of bracing and the drawing-in maneuver. Some promote the drawing in maneuver. I suggest promotes bracing (see Stuart McGill). Basically bracing is a good strategy to enhance stability, but hollowing is a weakening of the abdominal muscles as it can only be done when abdominal muscles are almost inactive.


                    Other points:

                    1. endurance in core stability is more important to injury prevention than core strength, where core strength and power and more important in performance enhancement (in addition to stability)



                    I have used the following method most recently which was taken from a seminar with Eric Cressey and Mike Reinhold on functional stability training and it has proven to be effective. It follows this basic structure. There are 4 categories of core stability:

                    1. Anterior Core Stability - Goal is to resist excessive lumbar extension.

                    2. Posterior Core Stability - Goal is to resist excessive lumbar flexion

                    3. Lateral Core Stability - Goal is to resist lateral flexion

                    4. Rotary Core Stability - Goal is to resist excessive lumbar rotation


                    Core training would come after foam rolling, mobility work, and a dynamic warmup and before any strength training. On a 4-day per week program you could train each area once per day. A sample 4-day offseason core program would look something like this:

                    Day 1

                    Anterior Core: TRX Fallouts (2 sets of 12-15, slow cadence, 60 sec rest)

                    Lateral Core: Side Planks (2 sets of 12-15, slow cadence, 60 sec rest)


                    Day 2

                    Rotary Core: Palloff Press (2 sets of 12-15, slow cadence, 60 sec rest)

                    Anterior Core: Reverse Crunches (2 sets of 12-15, slow cadence, 60 sec rest)


                    Day 3

                    Anterior Core: 1-Leg Lowers (2 sets of 12-15, slow cadence, 60 sec rest)

                    Rotary Core: Landmines (2 sets of 12-15, slow cadence, 60 sec rest)


                    Day 4

                    Lateral Core: 1 Arm Farmers Walk (2 sets of 40yds, 60 sec rest)

                    Anterior Core: Stability Ball Rollouts (2 sets of 12-15, slow cadence, 60 sec rest)



                    When you look at the program you will see there is one exercise that is more challenging and another that is less challenging. The more challenging exercise always comes first and the less challenging exercise always comes second. Second, you will see there are no exercises for the posterior core. That is because the posterior core is the one category that gets hit very often in the tradition training through exercises like squats, deadlifts, and basically anything that involves a hip hinge. Variables like volume and frequency would be higher for an athlete with less experience in order to improve motor control and proprioception, however a more experienced athlete will train with more challenging exercises, but with less volume and frequency. Also, if an athlete that has a dysfunction such as an anterior pelvic tilt, will spend more time on anti extension work (anterior core stability). In addition, movement patterns are what is most important, so quality over quantity is a good idea. And finally, as you progress into higher level exercises, they will be less likely to fit neatly into any one category and will likely hit multiple or all the categories at the same time.

                    OK, next post I will hit power exercises.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      OK now to the meat & potatoes of how to improve your vertical jump...power training. Power is all about max force production and rate of force production. For your purposes it should always be ground based. I would look at it in terms of three categories 1) lifts, 2) jumps, and 3) throws. The emphasis is first on quality over quantity. Also technique should be perfect. And, finally always stress speed of movement. If you are doing a 4-day per week program I would suggest the following:

                      Mon/Thur - Coupled with upper body strength training
                      1. Explosive lifts
                      2. Jump training

                      Tue/Sat (or Fri) - Coupled with lower body strength training
                      1. Explosive lifts
                      2. Throws

                      Here are some examples of exercises to pick from each category

                      Explosive lifts
                      1. High pull
                      2. DB snatch
                      3. Barbell snatch
                      4. BB Hang clean
                      5. DB Hang clean
                      6. Block snatch
                      7. Block clean
                      8. Push jerk
                      9. Split jerk

                      Jump Training
                      1. Box jump
                      2. Squat jump
                      3. Tuck jump
                      4. Split squat jump
                      5. Depth jump
                      6. Horizontal hop
                      7. Triple jump

                      Single Leg Jumps
                      1. Heiden
                      2. 1-2 Cut
                      3. L Jump
                      4. Single leg plyo step up w/ jump
                      5. Single leg plyo step up laterally
                      6. Single leg box jump with 2-leg catch
                      7. Single leg box jump with single leg catch
                      8. Single leg reverse box jump
                      9. Single leg depth jump

                      Throws
                      1. Chop
                      2. Alternate chop
                      3. Side chop
                      4. Forward alternate rotational throw
                      5. Forward same hip throw
                      6. Side toss
                      7. Hammer toss
                      8. Single leg side toss
                      9. Double arm chest pass
                      10. Single arm chest pass
                      11. OH toss

                      Pick one power exercise to plug into each day's workout. The explosive lift should be different, so chose one for Mon/Thur and a different one for Tue/Sat (or Fri). For most of them I would recommend going with lifts that are in the sagittal plane, so flexion/extension or straight up and down. Stay away from lateral or side stuff for lower body because it won't be as helpful in a vertical jump, throws you can a little more of that. So an example would be

                      Monday - Upper body strength day
                      1. Explosive lift - Hang clean
                      2. Jump - Box jumps

                      Tuesday - Lower body strength day
                      1. Explosive lift - DB snatch
                      2. Throws - OH toss

                      So, your workout would go the following
                      1. Tissue work
                      2. Activations & mobility work
                      3. Slow dynamic warmup
                      4. Movement training (higher speed dynamic work)
                      5. Core training
                      6. Power training
                      7. Strength training
                      Last edited by ; 01-24-2013, 08:08 PM.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by bmp View Post
                        Waweeewah, very nice!

                        That was a shit load of info, thanks for that. So as far as programming, are you still advocating training twice a week but instead of having one "power" max effort day and one "speed" dynamic effort day, to do both heavy resistance training and movement specific plyometrics in both sessions?

                        My current leg days are

                        Day 1
                        ATg front squats 3 sets 3-5 reps
                        Romanian deadlifts 3 sets of 5-8
                        Glute Ham raises 3 sets of 6
                        Seated Calve raise 3 sets 6-10
                        Standing calve raise 3 sets 6-10

                        Day 2
                        ATg front squat 6 sets 3 reps @ 50%1RM
                        Romanian deadlifts 3 sets of 10
                        Glute Ham raises 3 sets of 6-10
                        Seated Calve raise 3 sets 8-12
                        Standing calve raise 3 sets 8-12
                        Lunges 3 sets of 10

                        If I'm understanding your advice correctly you'd replace the ATg front squats with parallel back squat, add plyos to both days that are movement specific, add hang cleans?
                        Train 4 days per week. Two upper body days (think push pull) and two lower body days. An example of an upper body day would be DB bench press, chest supported row, incline db bench, neutral grip pull ups, cable reverse crossovers. Seek balance in your pushes and pulls, both vertical push/pulls (shoulder presses and pull ups) and horizontal push/pulls (chest pressing and rowing). Your sample workouts above would be just fine for a lower body day. The one thing I would say, which you've done a good job of, is for lower body make everything ground based...no machines (glute/ham raises are fine). In regards to the other question, see movement training and power exercises in the other post.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Knickerbocker, that was epic. You have laid out everything I need to know for my goal, and also taught me a lot in the process. What do you do professionally, are you a strength coach?

                          One more question I might ask, in your experience, training the core before strength training doesn't weaken the weight you can use? It's funny because I always just assumed so without actually trying to see for myself. A lot of old school bodybuilding/strength training dogma about training compound lifts first and then isolating caused me to think of the core in the same way.

                          Once again thanks for your help and time, you could charge people for this stuff man.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by bmp View Post
                            Knickerbocker, that was epic. You have laid out everything I need to know for my goal, and also taught me a lot in the process. What do you do professionally, are you a strength coach?
                            I am a full time student working on a master's degree in exercise science, performance enhancement/injury prevention. I work as a part time coach at a Division I college strength and conditioning program right now, but doubt I'll make it my career when I'm done.

                            Originally posted by bmp View Post
                            One more question I might ask, in your experience, training the core before strength training doesn't weaken the weight you can use? It's funny because I always just assumed so without actually trying to see for myself. A lot of old school bodybuilding/strength training dogma about training compound lifts first and then isolating caused me to think of the core in the same way.
                            When it comes to training I believe in the order I gave. I'll try to break it down a little more because understanding why is important for the athlete and it will promote adherence. Even for people that aren't athletes and only strength train, strength training chronically shortens muscle tissue. So, for that reason regular tissue work like foam rolling is beneficial to maintain normal muscle extensibility. Some level of activation work or rehab/prehab type stuff is beneficial for most people because due to the sedentary and/or repetitive nature of most of our lives many people have some degree of postural dysfunction. The higher speed dynamic work is important for any athlete or person interested in being functional to improve movement patterns, gain motor control, become efficient in your movements, and be explosive.

                            Now to core training, I believe the opposite of what you described actually. A heavy compound lift should come before a lower load assistance lift, absolutely. But, core work is a little different. I believe (and some research has demonstrated this) that core endurance is more preventative of injury than core strength. And, that's the reason why we train the core. It helps the waistline look good to, but it's much more for injury prevention. Once you establish some level of core strength and endurance, core training is really more of an activation. It activates the core and helps ingrain proper posture. That way when you get under the bar with a heavy load you have that motor program of proper posture in place. I don't think you should train the core to exhaustion because too much core training can be problematic as well. You want to get it activated, challenge yourself a little, then move on, but never core train to exhaustion/failure. So, core training first helps engage the core, reinforce posture, and grease motor programs/patterns.

                            In my experience this helps you train heavier afterwards because you understand how to properly brace to handle more loads (see abdominal bracing and pushing out in 360-degrees versus abdominal hallowing). Also proper posture and technique ensures you are using the intended muscle groups versus using momentum, forcing it, etc. which can create synergistic dominance, further worsen muscular balance, and lead to injury. Also some folks think heavy compound lifts are all the core needs. This is simply not true. Look at any powerlifter (not all but one that doesn't balance their training program and focuses on the big 3 and assistance lifts). Granted their core may be strong as hell, but I doubt many have good core endurance, good motor programs, and move very well. So, specific core training is required to do all those things mentioned above and should always be done before strength training. Core training is probably the biggest injury prevention strategy for low back pain.

                            Originally posted by bmp View Post
                            Once again thanks for your help and time, you could charge people for this stuff man.
                            LOL if I had any business sense maybe I could be like Tony Horton. But...alas I do not. I have learned a ton from many strength coaches that gave their time to me & I have learned a ton from reading blogs etc. on the net so I don't mind giving back. I'm also on break from school and a little bored!
                            Last edited by ; 01-25-2013, 08:59 PM.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              KB, wondering if I could pick your brain a little bit/get some feedback on my form

                              1) What is your opinion on training with a weightlifting belt? I've never used one

                              2) Can you critique my box jump form (see below)? This was my first time doing these. The two legged box jump was done after about 10 sets of single leg box jumps. Also, any estimate on how high I am jumping? For reference, I'm about 6ft tall and 200 lbs in the videos

                              [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJVFd8PfJzI[/youtube]

                              [youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEQHBDS425c[/youtube]

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