T Nation

Vertical: Just Doesn't Make Sense


I've read tons of articles that say vertical jump is directly related to speed and overall total explosiveness, but my question is why am I so dang slow when I have a 36 inch vertical jump ??? I'm 5'11 at a really lean 185 and I can throw down some pretty nasty dunks too ,I play wide reciver for out football team, while most of our reciveirs ran sub 4.6 forties I ran a 5.2, I also had better form then them because I've practiced using correct form.
My numbers are

185, really lean
15 years old
Squat- 300
Deadlift- 405
Powerclean- 210
Bench- 215


Viertical jump is a great way to measure explosive or speed-strength. Most great explosive athletes ive seen have a good VJ with their weight taken into acount and a good power clean. These measure how much force your legs/glutes can apply in a given amount of time. You really should check with your track coach. With your stats you should be faster.

At least youll have a hell of a take off. You may think you have good form but you may have a lot of wasted motion or energy, such as side to side movement, excess arm motion, ect. Vertical jump should be a good indicator of explosive leg strength, and really when your sprinting you are bounding (or alternating single leg jumps). improving your VJ usually improves stride length because you are bounding further. check with your track coach


In HS at 5'6" 185 lbs, I could dunk a basketball and my 40 was a 4.62. My best squat was 465 x 10. I also long jumped 21' 7".

My cousin at the same time was 5'10" and some change, 200 lbs and ran a 4.9 40yds. Couldn't squat worth a damn and his long jump was about 18 ft. BUT he could do almost any friggin dunk you could imagine AND could dunk from a step inside of the freethrow line.

Basically what I'm trying to say is that numbers in certain athletic events/performance are USUALLY good indicators of athletic performance in other areas but not always.

Sorry, here's my best example.
My little brother, in HS, at 5'10" 240 lbs of mush, ran a 4.9 40 and squatted in the 500's. Jumps like his feet have been nailed to the floor.


The vertical jump is a good indicator of, and directly related to, jumping. The vertical jumps that I train people with go a little beyond that. First, the vert is 3-4 steps then exploding upwards. Unless you can do the 40 in 3-4 steps, it won't directly relate. Indirectly, as you should have a powerful/quick start. Overall explosiveness, yes; sprinting, no.

Different muscles are used in different ways with the vert vs sprinting. The alternating one legged hops? Kinda, but not. Some of the reasons that your vert may be exceptional may include:
1) Rapid deceleration into take off position;
2) The quicker the SSC in deceleration, the quicker you "bounce" back in vertical explosion;
3) The major jumping muscles are found in your thighs (front and back), your butt, your erectors, and your lats, yes, lats: see #1 Above; and your shoulders.

Several of those jumping muscles are different for jumping when compared with sprinting. For example, hip flexors don't have anything to do, directly, with jumping, whereas, with sprinting, much more. Your erectors don't have much to do with sprinting, directly, but do with jumping.

The direction of the vertical jump is significantly different than the direction of the sprint, hence, different muscles and different motor skills.

Hope this helps. Any questions about jumping, don't hesitate to ask


no input ... only interest ...

i LUVS fried chx and watermelon ... still no ups

only kidding,
yer fav Bastage


Teedog, then what would you say I do to get as fast as possible?


Any chance you have short legs?


sorry to jack your thread, but my stats are:
18 yrs old
6 ft
195 ~10-12% bf
315 squat
425 dead
215 power clean

however my vertical is about 23-24 inches and though I have never tested my 40 time I am not very fast and would guess that it is over 5 secs. Anyone have any ideas for why I lack explosiveness? Thanks,


You say your running form is good but how about your starting stance? You're not using the "take a picture stance" are you?(this can take a lot off your time)

Do you jump better from a standstill or from a running start? If you do better from a standstill then your reactive strength might be weak, obviously your limit strength looks exceptional. If this is the case you could do plyometrics, sprints in themselves are a form of submaximal plyometrics.

One other thing, Charlie Francis has said in one of his articles how relaxation is the key to speed. Also Rooney or Defranco mentioned how athletes seem to run their fastest at an 85% perceived exertion rate. Maybe you are just tensing up to much when you run the 40.

Anyway, I hope this helps



My highest jumps come from just standing there, taking one step foward and just jumping, I can probabbly stick half of my arm in the rim when I do this.


It sounds like you have a balance between limit strength, explosive strength, and reactive ability. Kelly Bagget calls it static-spring proficiency.

I have to agree with you it doesn't make much sense that your 40 would be that low.

You didn't answer my other two question, what about those, and what priciples is your technique based on.


My starting stance is just getting into a crouching possition and one arm cocked back and the other on the ground. Then when it starts I move my arms as fast as possible along with my legs, I try to lean foward but I always end up standing straight up throughout the run and I try to run as loose as possible.

The other reciveris just stood at the starting line and ran as fast as they could when they heard the signal. I really don't get it all, my football coaches put me in the game when we run fade routes because of my jumping ability, but I dont play alot in any other situations because I have trouble getting open because of my speed. or lack of speed.


maybe, you just need to work on more specific training for football. For example the best olympic lifts aren't going to be the best wide receivers. You have an excellent foundation, so maybe you just need to polish your abilities for football.

On your actual 40 time Joe Defranco mention that the top exercises he liked for first step quickness were

step ups

all deadlifts

bulgarian split squats

forward sled dragging

I would highly recommend that you go to elitefts.com and ask Joe or Martin or James about your predicament(in the Q&A section give them specifics and they will able to better answer your question). They would know a whole lot more than me and maybe they have seen athletes in your situation before.

Keep working hard



rate ability...

you lack it..time to get it :slightly_smiling:


Anyone here besides me train on the SuperCat??


I bet I know why your fourty time sucks. With all that explosiveness you wont have a problem in the start like people are saying. Atheletes who could jump but not sprint fast that I played with always had short strides. Its been proven that stide lenth speeds you up or slows you down as much has anything. To see, have someone count how many steps you take in a fourty then count one of the faster kids steps or look on internet for usuals correlating with time. If your taking to many steps = stride to short. Solution; get felexible(dynamicly), train hamstings, do running drills to lengthen stides(look on internet fo examples).


Shouldn't we know who you are then???

Because with those kinds of internet numbers, you'd be an all american athlete in real life.


Don't forget the difference between the long and short stretch-shortening cycle. The long version (countermovement jump) actually correlates more with slighter longer sprinting distances, while the short version (bounce drop jump) correlates best with shorter sprints. Just something to consider.

Oh, and guys who can jump but can't run aren't that uncommon. Improving running mechanics and structural balance related to the stride can make a huge difference.


I was waiting for someone to make such a comment. I have NO reason to lie and believe me, the numbers were accurate. I don't know why people always have to hate on the player but...

MAYBE it's because I left out the 10+ years of gymnastics, soccer, baseball, and swimming I did growing up. MAYBE it's because I got lucky genetically and, multiplied by hard work/variety of different forms of athletics, I was able to acheive those numbers. Maybe it was because of the 200 newspapers I delivered everyday from age 10-15 and walking up flights of stairs 2 by 2 and sprinting the rest of the way so I could deliver them before the businesses closed for the day.

I'll admit, I was faster, stronger, more athletic, in better shape, in HS. I hope to achieve somewhere near those numbers again.


The biggest thing I have a hard time believing is that you squatted 465 for 10 reps at a little bodyweight of 185 lbs.

That puts your max, RAW, somewhere between 550 and 650, which means you ARE probably the strongest person EVER in the squat in the history of high school athletes at that bodyweight, possibly any bodyweight under 250 lbs.

Yeah, I believe you. Hahaha!

I never knew delivering newspapers lead to a big squat.

How's that smith machine working for you? If you add up 4 1/4 squats does that equal 1 full squat?