I’ll give some background information first. I’ve always had a fantasy with being able to dunk. I squat raw, belles, and in socks, but I just got some shoes that will be coming in the mail.
More about me:
Today, I’m 15 years old, 6’1", and 170-180lbs. I’ve been trying to increase my athleticism and vertical jump for basketball for a very long time now. I started off with this routine years ago, when I was 13-14 years old.
Agility Dots One Legged- 3 sets of 10 reps
Depth Jumps- 2 x5
Jump Squats- 3x10
No Arms Hops- 8x5
Jumping Lunge- 5x5
Vertical Jump- 3x10
Crunches- 100 reps
Box Jump- 3x10
Pause Squat- 3 reps of 10 sec
ATG Squat- 3x5
45 degree Wall Run- 5 sets of 10 sec
Hip Flexor Isometric- 15 sec on each leg
Weighted Explosion- 2x10
Plyometric Pushups- 3x5
Arm Swing- 3 sets of 10 secs
Sprinting in Place HIIT- 10 sets of 20 seconds, 10 sec rest
Wind Sprints 100
Band Resisted Stair Climbing- 15 minutes
1 Leg Speed Hops- 50 per leg
I remember I’d stair climb with weights and run suicides in my yard with a Lifeline Power Jumper 24/7.
I’d purchase programs hoping that they would help me increase my vertical jump. I’d spend hours and hours researching, to no avail, and lack of understanding today.
I found this equation and the real work began: Power= Force/Time
Then I was introduced to strength training.
My chemistry teacher, who lifts, taught me how to squat ATG, because there was a weight room that he’d watch over after school. When I started, I was able to max-out at 185lbs, and I weighed about 160lbs. My teacher advised me to squat in socks, because I hadn’t any weightlifting shoes I then rapidly gained strength, and by the end of my 8th grade year, I could squat 300lbs below parallel. I was also able to touch the rim for the first time after this PR. Summer break came, and 9th grade year came, and I had lost about 15lbs of squat strength. I perfected my form slightly better, though.
I took my first shot at Smolov. On top of Smolov, I did a program called Vert Shock, which was bodyweight training, and intense basketball conditioning. Needless to say, my vertical did not increase. My strength went up however; after Smolov’s Intense Phase, I was at 345lbsx1 full depth. After Smolov, I went on 3x6 progression where I reached the peak of my strength, 325lbs x6 ATG (By then my squats were very deep, and I have long femurs). I was able to squat twice my bodyweight. After that though, I ended up injuring my hip flexor ( from improper warmup) and I developed anserine bursitis. I hadn’t known the problem (tight hamstrings) until I had taken a month off and lost a ton of strength. I had done heavy lunges during this squat hiatus, but needless to say, my squat decreased about 60lbs before I was able to squat again.
I was very disappointed. But this letdown fueled me to regrind through… guess what… my old friend Smolov. I did the base cycle and came back as about equal to my peak again.
With a ~2x bodyweight ATG squat obtained, I was feeling happy and slightly vengeful, because everyone used to make fun of how I could squat so much more than everyone (and they didn’t even squat to parallel) yet couldn’t dunk, while they couldn’t squat anything, but could jump out of the gym. I was ready to work on my rate of force development. I started squatting 315lbs for 1x7 ATG, and combining this with French Contrast in order to get faster and stronger at the same time. I saw little results though. I was very frustrated at this point.
As my free time got more and more restricted, I thought it best to maintain my max strength for the next few weeks. On October 1st, 2016, I squatted 315lbsx7 ATG, I sprained my back terribly, despite warming up properly, and my dad forced me to take a month off. My back was terrible, and I could barely play basketball. I couldn’t squat the bar either. I did glute bridges, eventually up to 455lbsx5 for sets. I also grinded through our extremely intense workouts with the back pain.
I ended up cut from the basketball team, despite BUSTING MY ASS ALL SUMMER WORKING ON SKILLS FOR MANY HOURS A DAY AND SMOLOV AND FRENCH CONTRAST, AND COMING TO PRACTICE, and people made fun of me, and my injury. People who didn’t even come to the super intense workouts over the summer or in the fall made the team. It was a pretty dark time, as I am also running out of money to support my gym membership, and no one will help me pay for it, even my brother, and I bought an expensive membership that allowed me to bring him and another person. My grades started falling too.
But hey, life owes you nothing.
I already knew I would have lost a stupid amount of strength. On November 1st, I immediately squatted. I worked on my mobility, and I squatted the bar for 2 sets of 10 ATG, then 135lbsx3x10, then 185x4, then 225x2x6. That was decently hard. My back felt great. I had lost about 60lbs again.
Facing a weaker version of yourself can be ridiculous sometimes, but by now, I’m damn near a pro at this. I immediately attacked with high volume Last Thursday, I squatted 225lbs for 9 sets of 6. The next day (which was yesterday) I did 235lbs for 9 sets of 6. I played hours of basketball afterwards. It was pretty easy, and right now, I’m the sorest I’ve ever been in life. It hurts to walk down stairs, and move in general.
I love this feeling though, this pain will make me even more stronger. I’ve even ordered a pair of weightlifting shoes, VS Athletics Weightlifting Shoe II.
The question is, once I regain my strength, where do I go? What do I need to do to increase my athleticism.
When I was able to squat 325lbsx6 ATG, I could grab rim with both hands, with 2 steps. Now, I can only do it with one hand, but I’m not really primed right now. I can touch rim from a standstill right now as well.
I feel like I have a untapped potential.
I have tools at my use, including a lateral resistor, an agility ladder, some boxes (at the gym), about 10 meters of yard space, tennis balls, a squat rack at school and the gym, free weights for deadlifts and olympic lifts (I can only olympic lift at school because theres not a lot of space at LA Fitness). I also have a normal 100 lbs resistance band, and a Lifeline Power jumper that can be equipped with up to 110lbs resistance.
No more excuses. My basketball coach actually had the nerve to say I make excuses. I push through pain. When I got cut, a varsity member asked me “Did you really think you would make it?” My teammates laughed and the coaches smiled. I can’t get the fact that I’ve been cut and disrespected by so many people in terms of basketball skill, athleticism, everything. It seems like everything is my fault. Like, no more of this. I can’t rest peacefully knowing that this happened. I had to explain to my father, mother, grandma, my friends, why I got cut from the team. I had to explain to my little brother and sister, who look up to me, why I got cut from the team. That stung the most.
Actually, before I got cut I had went to a varsity meeting, and the varsity coach actually told me that I didn’t need to be there, and made a joke out of me in front of everyone, and said that I need to get worry about making the sophomore team.
I told my dad. He said, “well, beast out on the sophomore team.”
So, not only did I disappoint everyone and was made a joke out of, but also I disobeyed my dad by not making the sophomore team even.