So you're in! You decided to make a serious effort at a jumping focused, comprehensive training program. You're going to correct movement impairments, warm up appropriately and practice technique, and do plyos to amp the brain for explosive movements. In addition, you're going to hit the weights to gain strength and lean body mass or to maintain lean body mass while you lose body fat.
All this leads us to point 9 in our 10-point jump training series:
9. STOP with the overkill
My guess is that you are going to over do it. You won't over train because you're stupid, but because we all tend to fall into the "all or nothing" and "more is better" traps. We go all out gung-ho. We improve for a while and then hit a wall or get injured.
So this is a reminder that it's far easier to overdo it in the short term than it is to practice long term, disciplined moderation. There's magic in the rhythm of hard work, rest and recovery. Except for flexibility work and corrective exercise, everything you do should pass two tests:
Is this activity helping me to get stronger and bigger - or- maintain lean body mass?
Is this activity teaching my brain to utilize my body explosively?
Again, there are two typical patterns here:
A big guy or gal wants to lose ten or twenty pounds. So they start running three days per week along with higher rep weight training, you know, for toning. All the jogging teaches their brain to be efficient more than explosive and cuts into recovery from weight training. If you don't believe that too much cardio is counterproductive, go ahead and try to argue with these guys or those guys. Or try doing a lot of cardio and adding serious weight to the bar on squat and dead lift days.
Thin folks need to ask themselves or their coaches why they are supposed to be doing mile (and longer) runs in the off season. Is it so they can eat more? How are you supposed to add muscle with all the practice and other demands? Why are you always running bleachers? I'm not saying bleachers are easy, but they effectively conditioning the brain and muscles for small, high rep single leg leaps.
But instead, the big guys and gals would do well to remember that trying to train your way out of poor eating habits is always a bad idea. The thin athletes need to hit the iron brutally hard at regular intervals, do limited but intense sprints and plyos, and otherwise rest, rest, rest.
The bottom line is that you won't reach your ultimate potential for jumping if you're chronically overtrained, spinning your wheels instead of following a focused progression toward strength and power. You're not going to be able to fit in a lot of traditional cardio. You're going to have to get your calorie control and endorphin rush elsewhere, like plyo jump/sprint circuits!
If you think a runners high is nice, you've never tried heavy 20 reps squats
or nasty "core" finishers to your weight training sessions.
And lastly, lastly regarding improving your jump:
|Poor genetics for jumping.|
No, this is not where I tell you some secret on how to improve your genetic potential, which was set long ago. Yes, genetics do dictate our ultimate potential. But I'm pretty sure that potential is overrated.
Everyone has potential. But how many people get even close to their genetic potential in any given area?
You're potential to be awesome is plenty good enough. So what's the use in worrying about genetics? Please don't read about all these modifiable factors and instead of going out and doing something, sit around complain about the one factor that's out of your control?
So there's your second warning: about how lame it is to pull the genetics card.
You know that 9th grader who can almost dunk? Sure, he has good genes. But he also has probably grown up in a supportive environment and jumped and reached and fell ten thousand times in his youth before finding a passion for basketball and training his ass off in the last few years. And with a little luck, no fitness folks have had the chance to make him work on his "cardio base" or some other fictitious load of crap.
So good for him.
Trust me, a 6'2" 35 year old guy doesn't suddenly force his will into basic gymnastics due to good genetics.
And a tuck jump over 5'. Yes, adding credentials for this series.
And you? Your video, next? You may not dunk. Or flip or clear 5 feet. But maybe you'll do far more. Who knows?
The only thing I can guarantee is the joy and satisfaction of the process. The goals and mini goals, the disciplined effort, the sweat, the risk, the victories and defeats, the planning for next time. That will keep you ticking, inspired, with a healthy mind and (usually) healthy body.
And that's meaningful.
- - - - -