Whenever you exert force and explosive moves, you must first have the “feel” of controlling and escalating the “force”. At first there is no feeling of it – you will strive to exert as much force as you can but somehow your body don’t seem to follow. It seems like the force that you were looking for is not in its vocabulary.
The same thing is true with me. I am naturally a short statured fellow (let’s face it!) around 5 foot five, or add a half inch upon waking up. I also have a short lower limbs and my torso naturally dominates the frame in comparison to my legs so for those reasons I am not too keen on jumping moves and sports that involve height like basketball.
But off course like any normal fellow, I admire those high jumpers like Spud Webb, Nate, and so on. So needless to say that I play basketball occasionally, this gives me the chance to see that I suck at vertical jumping.
Off course I didn’t know how to train for vertical jumping before besides jumping over and over again. But somehow I just couldn’t get that “feel” of exerting force at all. It is unlike the feeling of exerting force consciously when throwing a punch (which I am good at) but with jumping, NO! My legs and my body somehow feel like they aren’t programmed to do such tasks.
Fast forward to present day I began lifting again and this time doing some explosive and whole body moves regularly but not all that often nonetheless. I regularly do power cleans and I have somehow managed to increase the poundage after a few sessions. Aside from that I regularly deadlift off course which is undeniably my favorite lift of all time.
So here we are at the present day; I suddenly feel the urge to try to reach the ceiling of our house which is at around 9 and a half feet tall, and guess what – I was able to “feel” the force; I was able to actually command my body to exert explosive force upon jumping which made 9 and a half feet feel like a piece of cake (which only required a single step leap).
For some that might seem trivial especially to naturally gifted jumpers out there but for me it definitely isn’t! Like what I said before I naturally suck at verticals and then for the first time I finally get this different “feeling” of summoning force upon jumping and suddenly jumping began to “feel” the same way as throwing a powerful punch or bash.
And I don’t even do those vertical jump exercises seriously these days. Heck, I cannot even manage to do those daily depth jumps so why is did I suddenly develop the “mojo” for jumping?
Because I train like a bodybuilder?
Not quite! I have always trained like a bodybuilder, you know especially during college and it didn’t help at all with improving my shot put distances nor did it help my vertical.
Pure bodybuilding routines revolve mostly around time under tension, pumps, and inducing micro trauma. There is little to no need for explosive lifts. Nowadays I do regular power cleans and 5 rep (or below) dead lifts. Take note that those are only 2 power moves added onto my routine, I am sure the regular squats helped as well since I now do explosive squats. But keep in mind that the rest of my routine is basically “hyperthrophy-centered” and already it has primed my body to respond “explosively”.
So that is the proof that if you want athletic performance, you better be incorporating some explosive lifts (see: Olympic lifts) into your regimen. You can even insert one Olympic lift in everyone of your workout – just focus on exerting as much power and explosion as possible and that will already do magic. You can even do the 30rep workout wherein you will just try to complete 30 reps no matter how many sets it take, and you’re done for that move. Another plus is that these type of lifts will prime your body for greater testosterone production which will also help your “hypertrophy” goals.
Also keep in mind this principle of specificity in training:
The basis of a rational, intelligent, and logical approach to exercise or any other arena of human endeavor is the recognition that only the specific, appropriate knowledge can lead you to engage in the appropriate action required to achieve a goal.
Keep that in mind always.
By the way, if you are looking to build muscle and brawn, indeed you are at the right place since training for muscle size is basically the About Lifting forte. But if you are really serious about improving your vertical jump and want to add several inches into your vertical, do a slam dunk, at the shortest amount of time; then you must see Jacob Hiller’s Jump Manual.
Hiller is basically the MAN when it comes to improving vertical jumps. His book has helped a lot of people – including myself, since I only started to incorporate those explosion lifts onto my routine after reading his work. He also offers free initial tips on how to add an inch or two to your vertical right now (yes as in right now) on this page. Check it out. Eat your eggs, people!