Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Operation Tomahawk - Week 3 Recap

Week 3 of Operation Tomahawk is complete!

It wasn't the best week of training. I skipped one of my workouts and only got about 1/2 of another workout done. I also didn't stretch everyday. Sometimes things don't go perfectly. It often seems like there is just not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do. But, you just do the best you can and keep going.

I did play basketball yesterday and filmed a little in between games but I wasn't jumping that well. My back has been bothering me a little bit and just one of those days where you just don't jump as high and can't quite explain why. Sometimes it just happens that way.

So, I don't have a new video that I feel is worth posting this week. Instead, I'd like to share a video I sent to Jacob Hiller (creator of Jump Manual) that he posted on his YouTube account that compares my before and after results using the Jump Manual. In less than a week it already has over 1,000 views and some nice comments which is pretty cool!

 I will definitely post a new video next week! Thanks for reading and watching!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Operation Tomahawk - Week 2 Recap

Week 2 of Operation Tomahawk -- my 12 week plan to throw down a nasty two hand tomahawk dunk before I turn 40, has come and gone.

I got in all my workouts and started off great with my diet. But, the last couple of days I gave into some cravings (burger, cheese fries, milkshake, etc.). Sunday is my "free" day to eat whatever I want. And let's just say that Sunday came a little early this week! Oops.

My workouts went really well though. I set some personal bests on squats and deadlifts which felt great. I know I'm getting stronger. And stronger means I'm going to be jumping higher!

This morning, I played hoops and brought my video camera. My legs felt great and was really jumping well and also playing well. I didn't film very much as I was having so much fun playing. The basket felt huge and shots were falling. One of those days where you just want to play forever.

I threw down one decent dunk off the dribble and had a really nice lob attempt and was excited to see how they looked on video. But, when I got home to watch the footage those particular clips didn't get recorded somehow. So unfortunately, I don't have a video to post today. Really bummed.

I'm trying to limit playing to one or two days per week to give my body more rest. But, I may play again on Wednesday so I can get some footage.

Thanks & stay tuned!

Oh...one more thing...I'm pretty sure I can grab the rim with 2 hands off just one step now. I did a couple one step jumps and realized that I was probably high enough to do it. Can't wait to get back to the gym and find out for sure.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Jump Manual Tips & Tricks

Over the last few months, I've had several people ask me for tips and advice to increase their vertical and being successful with the Jump Manual. Here are some of my thoughts:
  • The Jump Manual emphasizes over and over that you are training explosiveness, not endurance. This is absolutely critical. Focus on this during every rep, every exercise, every time you workout. Never pace yourself in any of the exercises. Give everything you have.
  • Set specific goals with a deadline. For example, my goal is to dunk 2 hands by July 4, 2012.  Big goal with an expiration date. Provides tons of motivation. Write your goals down and put in a place you will see everyday.
  • Film your vertical jump before you start the program and then regularly during your training. Closely study the technique of guys who can really jump (Tdub, Golden Child, Jacob Tucker, etc.) and see how your technique compares to theirs. There is so much more to jumping than most people realize and you can learn a ton by watching other high flyers and seeing how your jumping style and technique differs from theirs. Adam Linkenauger and Jacob Hiller have some great videos on jump technique as well.
  • Be consistent. During my first 12 weeks of Jump Manual training, I think I missed 3 workouts out of 72 (12 weeks x 6 workouts per week = 72 workouts). The way you break down your muscles through the different forms of training (plyometrics, strength, CNS, etc.) and then re-build them over and over again through nutrition and rest is key. The order of the workouts and timing between workouts is important. You will slow down your progress if you skip workouts so that there is too much time between workouts or don't get proper rest so there is too little time between workouts.
  • Follow the Jump Manual program. Before I started the Jump Manual, I read that thing several times and had it with me when I would workout so I could re-read how to perform certain exercises to ensure I was doing them correctly. Some of the exercises are a little tricky and take time to learn. Print off a copy of the entire manual and take it with you. Make sure you understand how to do all the exercises.
  • Do the "Off-day Exercises". Based on some of the comments I've received, I'd be willing to bet that many people skip them. They don't understand them, think they are silly, or not that important. That is a huge mistake!
  • Do a dynamic warmup before each workout and finish each workout with static stretching. Get a foam roller and use it especially in your warmup. I used to see people using them and thought it was ridiculous but I am now a foam rolling addict. I use it everyday. Get one and incorporate into your workout.
  • Improve your flexibility. If you have bad flexibility (like I did), you will increase your vertical just by getting more flexible. Before I started Jump Manual back in April, I was about 6 inches away from touching my toes when bending over with my legs straight. No exaggeration. I can now touch the floor easily even when I'm not warmed up.
  • Have a protein shake or other quality source of protein (chicken, tuna, fish, etc.) immediately after each workout. For more details about what I'm eating, visit my previous post on Jump Manual nutrition.
  • Use creatine. I'm not a big supplement guy as I believe you can get most (if not all) the nutrition your body needs by eating healthy. But creatine works. I will use it for 3-4 weeks and then not use it for a month or so and then take it again for another 3-4 weeks. Great stuff.
  • Don't overtrain and listen to your body. Sometimes it's hard to tell the difference between being too sore to workout and the temptation to make an excuse to take the day off. If you are very active and already in good shape, it is unlikely you will need to skip very many days of Jump Manual training due to soreness especially if you are eating right, foam rolling, stretching, and getting enough sleep. But, listen to your body. Take a day off if you need to but don't look for an excuse to be lazy either.
  • Don't neglect your core. The Jump Manual has some great core exercises. Do them! 
  • Record the weights you lift during each strength workout. This has been one of the best things I've done. Every time I workout, I try to go heavier than I did last time. No way I would push myself as hard without having that information right in front of me. It's also really satisfying to see the progress. If you can keep yourself motivated, the more likely you are to stay on the program. 
  • One of the most important things to do is take advantage of the weekly coaching sessions that Jacob offers. In my opinion, this is one of the reasons the Jump Manual is superior to any other vertical jump program out there. During these online coaching sessions, I've shown Jacob videos of my squat form, my jump technique, etc. and he's been able to give me specific feedback that has helped tremendously. He's also taken the time to answer my questions and customize my workout to better suit my particular strengths and weaknesses. You also get to hear other Jump Manual users ask questions and share their experiences which has been beneficial to me as well. I can't say enough about how valuable the coaching sessions have been to me. And yes...they are free to all Jump Manual users.
Hope this helps. Post your questions, comments, and especially anything that has worked for you. I would love to pick up some tips and tricks from anyone else who is having success using the Jump Manual or another vertical jump training program.

Good luck!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Operation Tomahawk - Week 1 Recap

I had an AWESOME first week of "Operation Tomahawk" which is my 12 week plan to be able to do a two-hand tomahawk dunk before I turn 40 in January.

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that I completed 12 weeks of  Jump Manual training back in July and reached my goal to be able to dunk. While that was pretty cool, it left me wanting more.

After taking a few weeks off, I restarted the Jump Manual in combination with Freak Jump Technique and got about 3 weeks into it and unfortunately lost my motivation and started missing most of my workouts and eating really bad. But, that is over. I'm totally focused again and will do what it takes to reach my goal to dunk like this (okay...that might be a stretch but I'll do my best!).

So this past week, I got in all my workouts. I ate pretty much perfectly. Stretched everyday except one I believe. I did play basketball twice instead of once. So hard for me to skip morning hoops! My intention is to only play once a week to help my body have a little more recovery time. It was a great first week and can already feel a difference. It reinforced to me how important your diet is and how much better you feel when you're eating right.

I'm thinking about filming some of my workouts to show some of the exercises I'm doing. If you think that would be beneficial, post some comments below. If I get quite a few people saying they are interested, I may take the time and effort to put something together. We'll see.

This morning I played hoops and didn't play that well but I had a pretty good dunk so I still came home in a good mood.

Thanks for watching and reading!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Operation Tomahawk - starts tomorrow

I didn't want to post my last video. Nothing but crappy dunks or missed dunks. Watching it was frustrating and frankly kind of pissed me off. But, some good has come out of it. I'm fired up and ready to go to work.

So tomorrow, I'm starting my second round of Jump Manual training over and calling it "Operation Tomahawk". I have just a little over 12 weeks until I turn 40 in January and want to be able to throw down a two-hand tomahawk dunk before that happens. I'm estimating that I need another 4 inches on my vertical to be able to do that.

4 inches in 12 weeks? Doesn't seem like that much. But, I know this will not be easy. What am I going to do to pull this off?

First, I'm going to change a few things for this round for training. I'm going to play basketball just once a week instead of three times per week. Getting my workouts in for the last several weeks has been hard and often I've opted to play basketball instead of doing my training. I also think having a little extra rest between workouts will help.

I'm going to post a video every week (most likely Fridays) for the next 12 weeks as this really helps my motivation. Knowing I'm going to post a video each week pushes me to train harder as I want to see progress. The mostly positive comments and "likes" I've gotten on my YouTube videos have also been very rewarding and help me to keep going.

I'm also going to hold off on Freak Jump Technique training for the first 6 weeks. It doesn't take that much extra time, but it has felt a little overwhelming trying to do both jump manual and freak jump technique. I just want to focus on jump manual for these first 6 weeks and then the last 6 weeks, I'm going to add back in Freak Jump Technique.

I'm also going to make sure I get in my stretching everyday. I hate stretching and so it's easy to make excuses or procrastinate. But, the little things like this make a difference. I'm going to need every inch I can get so can't neglect flexibility anymore.

Finally, I'm going to be super strict on my diet. I've been eating too much fast food and other junk lately. No more of that nonsense. Going to get super strong and ripped during these next 12 weeks. Would like to see my weight be 165-168 lbs (I'm currently 172 - 175 lbs depending on the day) and drop my bodyfat % down as well. Not sure what it is right now but would guess around 10%? Would like to be 6% or so.

So...Operation Tomahawk. You and me. See you tomorrow.