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!


  1. Hey, I can't thank you enough for the motivation your blog provides me. It'd be easier if I had a comrade-in-arms in the neighborhood attempting the same thing with me, like a work-out partner, but knowing your blog is up is the next best thing. Keep jumping!

  2.'s all your fault that I even have a blog! So thank you! :-)

    That's one thing I should add to my list above. Doing the blog and posting the videos has helped keep my motivation going. I don't think I would have trained and continue to train as hard a I do without them.

    Looking forward to your next post! Keep training! Maybe someday we'll get the chance to play hoops. I make it to San Diego sometimes...that's where you are, right?

  3. I'm in Los Angeles but perhaps there could be an occasion to play some hoops at some point. Not until I'm dunking, too, though!

  4. That's a deal! I actually go to LA more than I go to San Diego. Have a brother there. When you are dunking, let's go to Venice Beach and hoop it up! I've played pickup there a couple of times...hard to get in the "real" games there though.

  5. would just like to note here do static streching AFTER a workout NEVER before :)

  6. @ Nikola - totally agree! static stretching is old school man. i am surprised anytime i see people doing that stuff before they play or workout. but great to do after a workout.

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  8. Great stuff and very inspiring at over 40 years old!! I was telling myself that my dunking days were over and Im only 29 ^^ Now I am totally motivated to workout again!!
    As I am a little bit of a Tech Nerd i have developed a website where you can measure your vertical jump height using video footage. It's basically the same principle as the IOS App "MY Jump" however it's totally free. Check it out and test your vertical jump under

    1. Sorry for slow reply! Your tool is very cool! I assume it would provide similar results as the jump mat I use to test my vert.

      BTW, the highest I ever jumped was at age I think you have many good dunking days ahead of you! good luck!