T Nation

Vertical Jump Experiment


#1

I’m 16 years old, 6’1" and 180lbs. I’ve been training to dunk for years, and have been through a lot of different training protocols. But I still can’t dunk.

I finally think I’ve found the solution, and I will try it out this new plan, but I also wanted to make a thread for it.

Essentially, through years of strength training I’ve become a strong, lightweight, and very “slow” athlete, as in my body, neurologically, doesn’t generate enough power within the time frame of athletic movements such as sprinting an vertical jumping. That’s where my problem lies.

The thing is that although strength training provided a nice boost in my vertical jump when I first started years ago, the body is beautifully and wonderfully made, so it SERIOUSLY adapts to the stresses that you place on it. Strength training is an inherently slow speed movement because it isn’t restricted by time like high speed athletic movements. A maximum squat is on the slowest end of this spectrum, while sprinting is on the fastest end.

This means that strength pretty much only contributes to athletic potential, since all movement is generated by muscular force. Only once heavy lifting is stopped can the athletic gains be reaped.

This experiment will try to see whether or not strength can be maintained while the body learns to use how the strength quicker. The subject of the experiment is me. Keep in mind that I have a relatively high maximum strength level and a very low rate of force development ( I can’t dunk a basketball) Strength will be maintained by doing 3x3 squats @88% 1RM at a frequency of once a week, while plyometric sessions and sprints will be done a few times a week, along with low impact basketball skills training. The goal is increase vertical jump and sprint speed.


#2

[quote=“pushups50, post:1, topic:233468”] 16 years old, 6’1" and 180lbs
[/quote]

I’ll just leave this here


#3

Lol well relatively. No kid I know has done anywhere near what I have.


#4

Please explain “relative year” :smile:

You don’t need to lift maximally to get stronger. You don’t need to only do plyometrics to jump higher. Keep getting stronger, and start gradually adding in more jumping type work. Otherwise, the jump training will pan out just like your initial gains through “strength” training (as you defined it, primarily lifting maximally.) Initial quick progress, followed by stagnation.


#5

That says what I wanted to, only better.

Also, drop the weight and sort out your technique. The first rep was slow and things went downhill from there. The low speed wasn’t a lack of explosiveness either, it was just too much weight. Poor technique simply made matters worse.


#6

Last set, give me a break.


#7

I’ve been doing both already and I’m getting no-where. Strength training shifts the fibers to a slowet region on the fast side of the spectrum when compared to jumping and sprinting. You can’t be completely adapted to increasing both.


#8

No. You shouldn’t be grinding like that on any set.


#9

@pushups50, maybe… You should actually listen when you’re getting advice from people. Otherwise, why ask?


#10

To be fair, I don’t think he asked. My advice may have been unsolicited.


#11

Participating in both doesn’t mean you’re doing both, or either, optimally.


#12

I was shorter than you at 16 and I could dunk… I didn’t use barbell squats. I sprinted, I jumped, I did body weight squats and I played sports. If you want to jump high, you gotta jump.

That said, I wish I did squat because stronger legs have the potential to be more explosive legs. I would have had a better jump.

Some things you may want to work on for your squat. Shorten your walk out, that half marathon is doing you no favours. Eliminate what is essentially a rest/pause in between your reps. There is no need to wait so long between reps, it is hurting your progress. If you need to lower the weight, do it - one step back, three forward.


#13

Are you sure about that? Type II fibres are the ones that are most responsive to training and have the most potential for hypertrophy, and they are fast twitch. Fatigued type II muscle fibres can temporarily convert to type I, but they also change back. If you are concerned about becoming too slow twitch dominant then stop playing basketball, there’s too much jogging back and forth on the court for hours.


#14

Maybe part of your problem is that you are only squatting heavy. You should do less heavy work and more explosive squats. Some sort of speed work should help you. Getting stronger can only help your vertical jump to a certain point, which is why you don’t have basketball players squatting 1000lbs.


#15

I just watched your video, I don’t see how those squats could carry over to a vertical jump because you are folding right over. The movement pattern is not similar enough. And why do you walk out of the rack, do you plan on crippling yourself?


#16

I’m 16 years old, 6’1" and 180lbs. I’ve been training to dunk for years, and have been through a lot of different training protocols. But I still can’t dunk.

I finally think I’ve found the solution, and I will try it out this new plan, but I also wanted to make a thread for it.

Essentially, through years of strength training I’ve become a strong, lightweight, and very “slow” athlete, as in my body, neurologically, doesn’t generate enough power within the time frame of athletic movements such as sprinting an vertical jumping. That’s where my problem lies.

The thing is that although strength training provided a nice boost in my vertical jump when I first started years ago, the body is beautifully and wonderfully made, so it SERIOUSLY adapts to the stresses that you place on it. Strength training is an inherently slow speed movement because it isn’t restricted by time like high speed athletic movements. A maximum squat is on the slowest end of this spectrum, while sprinting is on the fastest end.

Lifting Heavy Makes You Slow

In the 1960s, that was one of the things coaches believed; they weren’t completely wrong. Nor were they completely right.

Type IIa Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber

These muscle fiber are primarily used and developed with Limit Strength Training. Type IIa are Fast Twitch but not to the extent of Type IIb/x.

Type IIb/x “Super” Twitch Fast Muscle

These muscle fiber are primarily used and developed with Power and Speed Movements.

Muscle Fiber Cross Over

Research shows that the body is able to convert Type IIa Fast Twitch to Type IIb/x and vise versa, dependent on one’s training program.

Thus, Limit Strength (1 Repetition Max Training) converts Type IIb/x “Super” Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber to Type IIb/x “Super” Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber.

Power and Speed Training (Moderate to Low Load) preformed explosively coverts Type IIa Fast Twitch to Type IIb/x “Super” Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber.

Limit Strength Training with Heavy Load convert Type IIb/x “Super” Fast Muscle Twitch Muscle Fiber to Type IIa Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber.

Various studies have demonstrated this. One of the best research article on this is…"A Comparison of Strength and Power Characteristics Between Power Lifters,
Olympic Lifters, and Sprinters" Dr Jeff McBride, National Strength and Conditioning Journal.

The break down was…

Olympic Lifters

The training method of Olympic Lifters developed the greatest Power Output. Their program built on Conjugate Training; employing Limit Strength, Power and Speed Training in their program.

Olympic Lifter are Power Athletes; strong, explosive, speed athletes. The best of both worlds, Type IIb Fast Twitch and Type IIb/x “Super” Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber.

Random research demonstrated that Olympic Lifter were about to out sprint Sprinters in the first 30 meters and out jump Jumper in Standing Jump

Powerlifters

Their training focus is on Limit Strength Training. Thus, this group were essentially the strongest with limited Power: Type IIb/x “Super” Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber

Sprinters

These, of course, were that Speed Athletes; limited strength and some power; Type IIb/x “Super” Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber.

With that said, …

Limit Strength is The Foundation of Power and Speed

Research shows the foundation Power and Speed is Limit Strength. Limit Strength MUST be trained and maintained for maximal Power and Speed.

Shot Putters

Olympic Lifter have the greatest Power Outputs Measured. Shot Putter Power Outputs rivals Olympic Lifters.

The best Shot Putters like Olympic Lifter are some of the strongest group of athletes.

A Shot Putter who can Incline Press let’s say 400 lbs is able to produce greater Power in the Shot (Throw it farther) than a Shot Putter who Incline Presses 275 lbs

Close But Not Exactly

Yes, when heavy lifting (Limit Strength) is stopped, Type IIa Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber convert back to Type IIb/x “Super” Fast Twitch Muscle Fiber.

However, Limit Strength Training is still mandatory; since it is The Foundation of Power and Speed, via Conjugate Training.

Olympic Lifters ARE the “Poster Children” for Conjugate Training.

How Your Write The Training Program

…determines if the emphasis is geared toward increasing Limit Strength, Power and/or Speed.

Synergistic Strength Training

Research has demonstrated Conjugate Training (training different type of Strength in the same program is…

“The whole is greater than the part,”

Synergistic is like adding 2 + 2 and getting 5.

Dr Michael Zourdos’ Research

Zourdos’ (Powerlifter) research determined greater in Strength Training is elicited when Conjugate Training is incorporated Limit Strength, Power and Hypertrophy in the same training cycle.

This experiment will try to see whether or not strength can be maintained while the body learns to use how the strength quicker. Strength will be maintained by doing 3x3 squats @88% 1RM at a frequency of once a week, while plyometric sessions and sprints will be done a few times a week, along with low impact basketball skills training. The goal is increase vertical jump and sprint speed.

Your Program

You have a very good understanding of this.

You’re program is Sound.

You should also consider implementation of some Power Movements such as Jump Squat with load of between 10-40% of your 1 Repetition Max; Power is best developed with load of 10 - 40% of 1 Repetition Max.

Olympic Movement are some of, if not, the most effective for increasing Power.

Trap Bar Jumps produce Power Output similar to Olympic Movements; something to consider.

This article does an excellent job of breaking down the most effective Training Percentage to elicit the development of different type of strength.

Kenny Croxdale


#17

Just let the guy try his program!!! Some of you might remember that this has been a topic of concern for @pushups50 for awhile now. I’m glad to see that he’s starting to absorb some of the advice and information that he’s received on here.

There’s a lot of good information here… and some educated (ish) guesses. The last post pretty much covers all of the scientific stuff. As someone who has taken the NSCA’s CSCS and TSAC-F exams recently (ish) I can say that the muscle fiber discussion is somewhat relevant to the topic, but pretty limited to what was discussed by @KennyCrox (very minor changes based on the type of training).

There is some minor changes from one type of fiber to another but it’s not drastic. This is true for any fiber type and applies to all of us. No one can put a number on it but I’d guess that if a guy was a 50/50 split of slow and fast twitch fibers, then maybe he could move to 55/45 or 60/40 depending on the training.

And for @chris_ottawa, slow twitch muscle fibers actually respond to weight training first and are the first to hypertrophy. That’s why you see articles and training programs that mention using intensification techniques such as rest/pause, drop sets, etc to reach failure and hit the fast twitch fibers.


#18

Lol I’m not trying to be like a know it all but I grind bad on every set. Always have.





#19

Good stuff in there. You know I was also told that maybe I should completely cease lifting and solely focus on sprints and plyos. I kind of want to see where this goes first, because for me I find that I lose strength really fast. I remember once going a month without lifting and losing about 15% of my max squat.


#20

I guess that was weird how I put that. I meant that while strength training is still fast twitch dominant, the speed is still slower than sprinting and jumping. But this also explains why strength training in untrained individuals can result in athletic gains. I remember that once I was able to squat around 275lbs I had gained like 6 inches from where I started. But then the gains hit a wall, but I didn’t know any better so I kept going, building it even further beyond, to where I’m now past twice my bodyweight for a 1RM but I still haven’t progressed much. I wish I would have known then.

But with strength training, it will always be necessary to raise the athlete’s athleticism once they are at the maximum amount of speed they can be at that particular level.

But for me, since I get beat by defenders 24/7 and get dunked on a lot by people that I’m a lot stronger than, while being unable to dunk at all, I assume that I have not come close to realizing my true athletic potential at my current strength level. Think about it. I haven’t legitimately stopped strength training, not even for a deload, in about a year. I haven’t even gained vertical that much during this time either. I can only imagine how athletic I could be at this level now.

I’m also gonna be putting in some flexibility work too.