T Nation

DeFranco's Vert article

I’ve been a long-time reader of t-mag but I’ve never posted before. Well, I couldn’t resist.

I play basketball and I’ve been trying to dunk for years. I’ve done every program, strength shoes, plyos, etc.

After reading coach Defrancos article I went to the gym to play a game with my boys. After a light warm-up, I did the hip flexor stretch that Defranco recommended. I stood up, jumped and GRABBED THE RIM for the 1st time in my life! I was so pumped you guys can’t imagine. I increased my vertical jump more in 20 seconds, than I did over the past 2 years. Thanks coach Defranco! Next stop - dunking! I’m incorporating the 50-rep rhythm squats into my workout tomorrow and I can’t wait to see what happens!
T-mag rocks!

Just be careful with these squats, I know someone who injured his lower back doing em, and had to spend time away from his BBall team rehabbing etc instead of jumping higher. Maybe bad form, I dunno, but practise it before you pile on the weight

his program on his web page is a dope program ive improved alot doing it. like cool said be careful with the 50 rhythm squats. i sort of tweaked my knee doing them yesterday. but it was because of bad form. just pay attention when you do them. ive done them before with no problem.


increase your strength, and speed, then apply those tricks, getting your p-chain as strong as possible is his recomendation for a big vert from what ive seen…hes a big advocate of westside so looking at what they do and tweaking it for yourself might be a good idea…as well in his q&a section he outlines several sample lower and upper routines so you can get the basic idea and try emailing him…

that is truley nuts steel, did you test a running jump (one leg or two legs)? if so how high did you get?

im more of a two footed jumper, and one thing that really helped my jumping for basketball was doing rim jumps from both sides of the rim.

my left leg is my more coordinated leg, so i jump a couple inches higher off of this leg (couple inches is big). approaching the rim from the opposite side and practicing jumping off my right really helped.

seems like a 100% coordination thing, maybe defranco can give some insighto n this but, if you notice right handed players, mostly jump off their left legs. their right legs are usually less coordinated, and in alot of cases extremely less coordinated.

coordination drills in general for the weak leg seem to really really make a big difference.


I have often found that its a case of strength when it comes to your preference for which leg you take off from. Soccer players often have a stronger leg and this is the leg they use as a support. They kick with the weaker leg which is often the same side as their dominant hand.
Sprinters also have they’re stronger leg in front on the blocks because this is where most of the drive comes from on the start.
Since strength is mostly a function of CNS it can be improved pretty quickly in the untrained limb. Bulgarian split squats and lunges favouring the weaker leg will help, as will plyos and drills on that leg.

I don’t buy that - my left leg is weaker, and I always take off from the left leg when doing layups - although I am mostly a 2 legged jumper

even with split jerks, left leg is out in front

Steel21 - I think you should try and figure out what is holding your vert back and attack it. Just doing random bouts of exercise across the board will not do it.

a couple of posts that will help you here - opne from Joe Cole and the other from DBHammer :slight_smile:

While reading subsequent posts about vertical jumping strategies I have to

  1. Vertical jump training is misunderstood.
  2. Plyometrics are misunderstood.

There also seems to be some confusion about “training for weaknesses”.
Everyone here (I hope) is familiar with the teachings of dave tate & louie,
who preach about the benefits of focusing your training on correcting
weaknesses. I am completely in this camp.

The problem is - when it comes to vertical jump - what are your weaknesses?
How do you measure them and how do you correct them?

In my own training & while helpig others I use a few simple tests which give
a good idea of this:

  1. A normal (counter-movement) vertical jump. Things to look for :
    a. depth of knee bend
    b. speed of reversal from eccentric-concentric
    c. time to completion
    d. position of hips/posture on takeoff (should be straight as a
    pole, perpendicular to the ground)
    e. position of arms on takeoff - (should be parallel to the ground
    at takeoff and then move up)

  2. A static hold vj - this should be a 4 second static hold with the same
    angle at the knee that they used on the normal vj’s - you start at say
    90degrees, hold for 4 seconds (min) and jump with NO counter-movement.
    a. Do they perform a counter-movement (this shows they lack
    strength/coordination at that position and are relying on their plyo
    b. Height differential between normal and static (if the static is
    very close or above (>95%) of the counter-movement jump, this means that
    subsequent training should focus on plyo capability. If it is less than this
    strength training is important. There are no strict numbers though.
    c. position of hips/body
    d. arm poosition
    e. time taken

Of course, VJ is not really important – as the most important thing is the
actual biomechanics from the sport. This should be analysed correctly.

There is also the same type of testing completed with squats ( both knees
forward (high bar) and hips back), deads & good mornings with up to 3rm and
60% 1rm weights going for speed.

Doing this testing you can see most of the motor qualities that are needed
(and deficient) in the athlete.

The secret to the training as you would expect is to continually test and
re-evaluate the training methods. It is an iterative system:
e.g. an athlete comes in the 70% sj/jj. We do weights & stop all
plyos. The athlete re-tests and is 98% sj/vj. We concentrate on plyos until
next testing… Etc etc etc.

In the software world, this is a subset of a methodology called “agile
development” which in a nutshell is basically a continual
test-evaluate-improve cycle.

There are probably errors in this, so don’t hound me , its Monday morning
and im buggered.
Any questions?

Joe Cole

With your goals in mind, I would have to assess your reactive ability, for starters. One way to do this is to use a reactive jump pad which incorporates switches to measure how long it takes for you to go from contact to contact(toe off to landing), in time, then converts this to a readout that is expressed in height. This simple unit, which is very inexpensive if you build it yourself, and relatively inexpensive if you buy one from a distributor, gives you the tool you need to perform this test.

What you will do is perform a down and up vertical jump on the mat. Then, you will gradually work up in drop height, into a reactive jump, and measure the according reactive height achieval as you go. For example:

90cm down and up

50cm drop/92 cm reactive jump(RJ)

65cm drop/ 95 cm RJ

80 cm drop/ 97 cm RJ

95 cm drop/ 99 cm RJ

105 cm drop/ 98 cm RJ

100 cm drop/ 96 cm RJ

Thus, your greatest RJ height was attained at a 95cm drop(99cm RJ)- for this example. With this test, there are a few phenomenon that will result:

(1) Your down and up vertical will be greater than your RJ ability.

(2) Your down and up vertical will be less than your RJ ability

(3) Your down and up vertical will be equal to your RJ ability.

Now, if your situation is #1 then you need to incorporate my neuro-rate and neuro-magnitude methodics immediately. (note: this is the general need…without diving too deep into the matter)

But, if your situation is likened to #2 then you need to take a closer look (even generally speaking):

(a) Your RJ ability will spike early and then decay late(i.e. best RJ at nil cm drop all the way to 90cm+ drop without a gain or loss).

(b) Your RJ ability will rise in relation to the drop-height you impose on the system(your body).

If your situation is a then you need to introduce more neuro-magnitude work, including EMS.

If your situation is b then you need to concentrate more on the supportive elements of neuro-duration, neuro-rate, as well as an-2 work.

Relating back to the general test, if your down and up vertical equals your RJ ability(#3) then you need to take a “lop-sided” approach(note: this situation poses the greatest potential for immediate gains, of which will quickly lead into a situation b type circumstance. For some this will mean concentration of neuro-mag and neuro-duration. For others this will mean concentration of neuro-mag and neuro-rate. The determinent is to recognize at what point your RJ ability decayed. Was it above or below your VJ height? The more significant your RJ ability maintained the peak above a height equal to your VJ height the more neuro-duration work should be employed in your lop-sided approach. The opposite is also true; the lower your RJ peak is attained in relation to a drop height equal to your VJ height proves an escalating need for neuro-rate and neuro-mag work.

All right, buddy, only so much time can be spent on one question. Hopefully this gives a little bit of a nudge in the right direction. A more detailed exploration, specifically a case by case examination, can be addressed in any one of our consultation packages.

some terms to help you guys

Neuro-Duration - basicly strength work

Neuro-Magnitude - basicly power/explosiness and reactivity, think speed squats, depth jumps, alitutde drops etc,

Neuro-Rate - rapid fire automatic cyclic movements, ie sprints

CoolColJ are you left handed?

right handed :slight_smile: