Vertical Jump Experiment

Hi again @pushups50,

I know I spoke to you several months ago in a different thread, but not sure if I asked this and/or you answered:

How often are you jumping, ie a jump session? How many jumps do you perform in those sessions, how many jumps does it take you to get to your “max jumps” (peak vert), how many peak jumps can you get in (generally), after those peak jumps drop off - how many good jumps can you get in before your legs + nervous system die?

IMHO, you should probably be jumping “as often as safely possible”, with occasionally planned deloads to try and perform a true max effort (ME) jump session. So what I mean by “as often as safely possible”: The first thing you should probably do is try and pick a block size that you can consistently hit, this can be 7 days, 10 days etc. So, say you pick a block size of 7 days. Now, pick two days for ME jump sessions, let’s say Wednesday and Sunday. Next pick a few days for lifting, say Monday, Thursday, & Friday. Then, make sure to precede all lifting sessions with some form of “reactive work” (and even a dynamic warmup to improve flexibility/mobility prior to the reactive/lifting work), which could include plyometric-like exercises (pogo hops, double leg bounds, repeated tuck jumps, low box depth jumps) and/or light sprints (submax 100’s, 200’s, even 400’s). Conclude each lifting session with ~15 minutes of light flexibility work, while you cool down.

Monday - warmup, reactive work, lifting, flexibility
Tuesday - rest
Wednesday - warmup, ME jump session - 2nd most important session of the week
Thursday - warmup, lifting, flexibility
Friday - warmup, reactive work, lifting, flexibility
Saturday - rest
*Sunday - warmup, ME Jump session - most important session of the week

ME jump session: This is the most important tool in your training. This is where you progressively work up to max jumps. You then try to hit as many max jumps as possible, trying to PR the wrist/hands on the rim or a vertec etc. Once jumps start to drop off, continue getting in some good jumps until you experience further drop off or feel like you need to cut it due to safety. Rest between jumps changes as the session moves along. Rest between jumps leading up to a max could be around ~30-45s. Rest between max jumps should be about ~60-180s. Rest between the rest of the “good jumps” should be about 60s. Obviously we can go just by feel, but it’s just like lifting - if we want to hit several sets with a strength emphasis, we need to properly recover between sets - and in this case, jumps.

So that’s an example of how I personally like to structure things. One of the most important aspects of training is finding a rhythm and then squeezing every bit of gains out of that “pattern” over time. The whole idea of a routine like that, is to keep the “jump signal” strong throughout the week, using the lifting sessions to improve strength/weaknesses, using the reactive + lifting sessions as a tool to create fatigue, and then recovering/supercompensating from this fatigue by Wednesday & Sunday - our most important days of the week.

Those rest days should be just that, rest. We need them to recharge for Wednesday/Sunday. They could include some light walking or an active warmup + light flexibility at the end etc, just to get loose. But they shouldn’t contain anything fatiguing at all.

The lifting portion itself, for me, would normally be full body: lower (squat variation), pull (weighted pullups or db rows), push (dips or db bench), and then some assistance to improve some weakness (RDL’s and/or calf raises, plate swings).

After ~4 blocks, you could experiment with your “no lifting” idea for 1 week. So 4 weeks of something like that, followed by a week of only jumping/sprinting, maybe every other day. If somehow you’re PR’n like crazy, you could probably extend it out to 2 weeks. Then rotate through everything again.

For you, jumping is primary, lifting is supplementary. You’re going to generally adapt to one at the expense of the other. So if you have those priorities reversed (lifting primary), RFD may suffer. This is fine over a short block, but not consistently over many years.

I definitely wouldn’t cut out lifting entirely, especially if you enjoy it and/or play basketball. If you cut out lifting completely, you may or may not achieve your goal, but when you eventually decide to come back to lifting, you’re going to have alot more work to do - it’s better to just go into maintenance mode than cut it out completely.

So anyway, hope that helps a bit. That’s not a prescription, just some ideas based on my experience with vert training.

From what i’ve seen online, one of the biggest issues most people seem to have, is not understanding the fatigue/supercompensation effect of training sessions. If you were to completely abstract away the actual lifts being performed & how they are performed, and instead looked only at the fatigue that was created in the individual, we’d probably have a better idea of how to more efficiently improve performance. Because in this abstraction, all we care about is creating fatigue, recovering from fatigue, and taking advantage of the supercompensatory effect in our most important training sessions - usually those with the most (or direct) correspondence to our goal event. In this respect, performance training becomes less about the actual exercises themselves, and more about how training sessions are performed & strung together in order to pull the metaphorical band back on our supercompensation slingshot, and then how we leverage these supercompensation effects over time to slowly adapt (and thus improve) or peak for a competition.


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And aren’t some of those kids better at basketball? Just sayin’.

It seems like you’ve spent a lot of time training like a powerlifter - with the goal of having a big squat, even running Smolov when you were like 14 - while hoping a big squat made you a better basketball player instead of training optimally for a basketball player. Ever heard how the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? That’s kinda where you are.

What’s your power clean? Have you ever snatched, one-arm snatched, or done swings? Those are a few exercises that can actually transfer directly to explosive speed and jumping ability.

Several people in some of your previous threads have recommended Thib’s Athlete Lean, Athlete Strong program, and pretty much every time you say it looks like a good plan. Have you ever run the program as-written for 4 weeks straight?

Speaking of CT:

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And yet, the thought has never occurred to you that if you’re grinding hard on every set, that this might not be the optimal way to train for a primary goal of dunking a basketball (or, more broadly, increasing vertical jump and sprint speed)?


That’s why I created this post in the first place.

Slow twitch fibres are also highly resistant to fatigue. Notice that marathon runners don’t have huge legs, while other athletes such as sprinters are significantly more muscular. Muscle fibres need to be fatigued to stimulate hypertrophy. Fast and slow twitch fibres exist on a spectrum, it’s not as simple as just two different types. It might be hard to recruit the fastest-twitch fibres without working up to a 1rm, and it’s not necessary to do so.

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Maybe you’ll find anecdotal evidence more helpful.

I can dunk flat footed (no running start) at 6’ and a 72.5" wingspan.

More explosive pulls, much more upright on squats, treat jumping like a lift and progress on it in a linear fashion.

As for basketball skills, I scored three points in two years in Rec. League as a child. I am not good at basketball.


I’m 6’4" and change, 220 ish lbs, 6 '7-8" wingspan. My best vertical test is 30 inches which allows me to touch 11 foot from a flat footed jump. I suck at squats but I love pulls and seem to do okay at them.

This is an issue of fiber recruitment. Compensatory acceleration solves it. Drop sets are for fatiguing the slow twitch fibers(that’s the theory and common belief. I don’t really care for them).

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Yes, many of those kids are better at basketball. That wasn’t the point of that sentence. I’m just trying to figure out the true answer. It just feels like the more I learn, the more things contradict each other.

Contact info?

Muscle fibers also generally need a sustained caloric surplus as well as the proper nutrients to hypertrophy. The marathoners vs sprinters debate is usually flawed because it often fails to take into account the massive difference in energy expenditure/refueling between these types of elite athletes. All i’m adding is, most of these middle to long distance runners are extremely thin, but that’s mostly deliberate as well as an adaptation to very high volume of work without overeating. It benefits them to be lighter, they usually eat diets high in carbs & low in protein, most of them don’t lift at all, and pretty much all of them actually “sprint” in some form - intense speed work sessions. So most of these guys who are “rail thin” at the elite level are still capable of dropping very impressive 200m & 400m times, they are crazy fast. They do speed sessions that typically include things like 20 x 200m, 20 x 400m, 20 x 1km, etc.

If you took two average joes, put them on the same marathon routine, but put them on different diets: one maintenance, one overeating, i’m sure you’d see hypertrophy as well as fat gain (and a drop in performance) in the latter experiment. There’s actually several articles on weekend warrior women who get fat/balloon up, as they get into marathon training. They expend all that energy and then eat it all back in some multiple, and become huge.

Also, if you look at the prelims during these championships or you look at D1-D3 schools etc, you’ll see tons of skinny 100m sprinters. You’ll also see some pretty “jacked” decathletes and such dropping very impressive middle distance times.

I definitely agree that max velocity sprinting will give you more potential for hypertrophy than middle/long distance, but you still have to eat to grow.

Just a quick 2 cents.


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Can I have your contact info