Weight Training
For increasing vertical jump, I recommend eight "core" lifts: three lower-body lifts, two torso exercises, and three shoulder lifts. If you're a devoted "iron-head," feel free to add other lifts of your choice (leg extensions, leg curls, calf raises, etc.), but recognize that those lifts are ancillary at best. The meat-and-potatoes of increasing your vertical jump are in the eight lifts below.

You'll notice that the three lower body lifts (dead lifts, power cleans, and squats) involve a "work-up" one day a week. In a "work-up," you do fewer reps in each successive set (10, 8, 6, 4, 2, 1, ?) while increasing the weight each time. The set of one should be 100-105% of your maximum lift; for the final set reduce the weight to about 70% of your maximum and do a set "to failure." This work-up, done one day a week, will rapidly increase your maximum weight for each lift, which means more speed and power. Don't worry about doing work-ups with any of the torso or shoulder lifts; many of the muscle groups involved are too fine and susceptible to injury.

To increase your arm-speed, spend another 20 minutes in the weight room and add lat pull-downs, bench press, triceps curls, and two or three rotator cuff exercises to your workout.

To get the most out of jump training (and to avoid over-training and burn-out), you should "periodize" your workouts at both the macro- and micro-levels. At the macro-level, for instance, you might divide the calendar year into five major training periods:

  1. Two months of "base" training (no workups, no high-impact plyos)
  2. Two months of "medium intensity" training (some workups, high-impact plyos once a week)
  3. Three months of "high intensity" training (weekly workups, high-impact plyos twice a week)
  4. Four months of "in-season" training ("base" lifting and plyo schedules)
  5. One month of post-season "recovery" (low intensity cross-training)
Each major training period should also be periodized (hence, the term "micro"-level). During the medium intensity block, for example, you might build in intensity for three weeks, then take a relatively easy week before starting another three week cycle. This sort of periodization at the monthly and yearly levels gives your tissues the recovery time necessary to grow stronger and remain healthy.

**Speak with your weight room supervisor or a licensed trainer to learn the proper mechanics for all of these lifts. Also speak with your physician before beginning any weight or conditioning program.

Weight Workout
(three days per week during off-season; two days per week during season)
  1. Good mornings -- (lower back) 3 x 15.
  2. Dead lifts -- 5 x 5 two days a week; work-up one day a week
  3. Power cleans -- 5 x 5 two days a week; work-up one day a week
  4. 1/2 Squats -- 4 x 8 two days a week; work-up one day a week
  5. Front raises -- 4 x 10 (anterior deltoids)
  6. Side raises -- 4 x 10 (lateral deltoids, traps)
  7. Rear raises -- 4 x 10 (posterior deltoids, triceps)
  8. Abs -- 3 x 20 weighted crunches or hyperextended situps (a lot of weight coaches don't like hyperextended situps because they are hard on the lower back)

Technique page

Plyometrics page

Main Jumping page

Updated August 2000.

Copyright 2000 by Tom Wilson. All rights reserved.
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