T Nation

New article on vertical jump??

I have heard a few of the writers here hint at a vertical jump article, but I was wondering when or if this may come about. I would love to read an article strictly about this from one of the authors who I really respect from this site (which is all of them). I have good ideas about how to train for this, but I always end up second guessing myself, which is detrimental to my plan (I end up changing my routing like every 2 weeks). Help with things such as periodization, recovery time, stretching, nutrition, and strength and speed work specific to jumpers would be great. If this could also be discussed from a viewpoint of someone who has been training for this for awhile would be great too.

Just my 2 cents.

I know Ian King wrote a good article on improving vertical leap.
Intersting tid bit on Olympic Lifting.

Research done on Olympians at the 1964 Olympics in Mexico revealed
that Olympic lifters had higher vertical leap than high jumpers and faster 25 meter sprint times than 100m sprinters. The goal of training with OL is to
develop explosive speed-strength, the ability to express strength very fast.
This training develops power as well as trains the nervous system for rapid

To go along with the O-lifter success presented above, the most helpful thing will be to increase your squat to bodyweight ratio. This can easily be accomplished through max effort and dynamic work such as is used in a Westside template. Training heavy on squats along with speed work will do wonders for you.

I don’t know whatever happened to the article. You might still be able to PM Jason Norcross for a spreadsheet of the vertical program, but I’m not sure.

Good luck,


I can certainly appreciate the explosive ability of olympic lifters but I am beginning to believe that this “study” is more urban myth than actual reality. It is frequently discussed in strength training circles yet no one, to my knowledge, has ever been able to produce an actual copy. Also, 1964 is usually the date cited yet the Mexico City Olympics actually took place in 1968. The '64 Olympics were held in Tokyo. I understand that this is neither here nor there but I would love to know where this story began. Anyone?

I copied this from the forum a while ago and saved it. I haven’t done it myself but it looks like a pretty good program. Enjoy:


Jump, Run, especially Jump not quite all correct info, hardcharger. the fact is, how much AAS will help your vertical is in large part determined by your strength deficit during a vertical jump, by this i mean the difference between the maximal force possible for you to exert isometrically in a jumping position, and the maximum amount of force you can exert at the speed of movement neccessary to actually execute a jump. steroids exert more influence on the muscular system than the neural system… so if your strength deficit is large, then the added weight of extra muscle will likely give you little or no extra jumping ability!!!

now, having said that, no matter what your strength deficit in a jump is, drugs can help you jump higher, but it is even more important to train correctly for athletic events when useing drugs than when not using drugs. this is because when speed of movement is the property desired, you need to be specific because extra muscle added in areas where it is not needed will not help, it will slow you down and we all know that drugs help add muscle fast.

now the first thing you must analyze when training to jump, is whether you need more maximal strength or not. if you can squat 500lbs and have a 20inch vertical, i would suggest you do not. you have plenty of strength, you are just unable to use it when jumping. if you have a 200lb squat and skinny legs and can jump 30 inches, you are probably able to use a high percentage of your available strength during a jump. and therefore, more maximal strength will be of use to you.

now, no matter which catagory you fall into, you want to use the training enhancement effects of AAS to build as much jumping power as possible. this means training more for maximal strength if needed, and more for explosive power if needed. but in either case, you need to be specific. train with movements that allow quick conraction, dont heavily involve the anaerobic energy systems, and mimik the jumping motion.

squats are the cornerstone of most programs… of course you want to use heavier weight if you need to build maximal strength and lighter weight done more explosively if you dont. but either way, squat. plyos… these DO NOT burn a lot of calories done correctly. they are hard on the system… they primarily work by enhancing the stretch reflex, and dont need to be done all the time.
two weeks every couple of months is sufficient. bounding and agility drills… these should be done every day. all types of hopping, one leg hopping, bounding, etc. these are like low intensity plyos, and exert a positive influence on both the muscular and neural system.

when i train volleyball players to jump higher, i use a 8-10 week cycle, where basic strength is emphasised first… since most young female volleybell players dont have a surplus of it, and we use a couple of weeks of sets of 5 in the squat done 3 times a week with light weight just for conditioning… during this time we also do a lot of low intensity drills such as two legg jumps over hurdles… basically the first two weeks we are conditioning the body for wha twill come.

weeks 3 through 5 are the primary strength weeks, squats 3 times a week for multiple sets of 2 or 3 reps. during this time we increase the intensity of the drills, going from two leg jumps and hops to one leg jumps and hops, and adding in frog jumps, but i keep the volume really low on this to allow for strength gain from the squats.

weeks 6 and 7 are the high intensity plyo weeks, we do depth jumps primarily, jumping off a box onto the floor with an immediete rebound and jump. we do quite a bit of this and all other training is reduced to minimal levels.
we squat once each week for low intensity, just to maintain conditioning.

weeks 8 and 9 and 10 are taper weeks, the plyos are real hard and require rest to recover from. we include a few sessions of low intensity squatting, and some low intensity drills of two legged hopping. we do just enough squats and drills to maintain strength and conditioning, were not really pushing very hard at all these weeks.
at the end of week 10 we test for improvements and then do it all again, as long as there is time in the off season. as you can see, increasing vertical is more complicated than upping your squat, at least if you are already at a high level or if you want the biggest bang for your buck.

you need to increase strength, teach your body to apply it at high speed, increase the strength of the stretch reflex, and then allow your body to rest from the difficult training needed to accomplish all these things. throughout all this, you need to maintain strength and conditioning even while concentrating on only one specific quality, or while resting. if you dont do this you will NOT be as successfull in subsequent cycles.

through coaching many camps for several different types of athletes, at all levels, i have maintained an average increase in vertical of a bit over 6 inches the first time through my program, which is usually 10 weeks. i do not think this is equalled by any others in my field. i think even Vermiel who is the strength coach for the chicago bulls only gets a 3 or 4 inch increase on average in the camps he runs, so i know my approach works. i wont take the credit for it, as i largely copied it from Mr Verkoshansky, who used it with much success in the 70’s and 80’s in Eastern Europe. the main difference between the method i use and the method others use today is that i work harder on each individual quality needed for jumping, but i seperate them into blocks, making the work on each specific quality short and intense. most others work each quality concurently for the whole program, working everything less intensly but for a longer time.

Just a few comments on the John Smith article:

  1. It’s disconcerting to say the least that Mr. Smith aparrently doesn’t understand basic punctuation conventions, such as capitalizing the first word of sentences, etc. Spelling is also at a 4th grade level. This doesn’t however, mean that Smith doesn’t know what he’s talking about. However…

It drives me crazy when people correlate squat and jump performance without specifying what type of squat they’re talking about. Wide stance or narrow stance? High bar or low bar? Smith machine or free-weight? Ass to grass, curtsie, or somewhere in-between? Belt? Knee wraps? Power suit? Raw?

See where I’m coming from here guys? If you jump with a narrow stance (which you should BTW) and a shallow dip, how does this correlate with a wide-stance deep squat?

Answer: not very well.

I’m amazed that no one ever talks about performing squats using the same postures used during the VJ…then you can have a meaningful correlation.

OK, over to you guys…

what a tease…