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Hoop Dreams: Improve Your Vertical Leap

Posted in: Articles by ProSource, Featured Content, Training Articles | Mar 20, 2010

Hoop Dreams: image Grow Those Stubborn Calves and Quads (and Enhance Your Vertical) with  this NCAA-Quality Lower-Body Workout.      

Does the 2010 NCAA Tournament have you wishing you could play above the rim? You may not achieve the lofty heights of Michigan State's Durrell Summers or Kentucky's John Wall, but this "mad hops" workout can help elevate your game nonetheless.

The month of March is upon us, and that means one thing. No, not meaningless spring-training baseball, or rising hopes that the cold winter weather is finally about to break. And we're not referring to St. Patrick's Day either (although we're certainly not against hoisting a frosty green brew or two in honor of our favorite patron saint of Ireland).

Nope, as rabid sports fans everywhere know, this time of the year is revered for March Madness, the hallowed moment when 65 teams enter the fray, and only one leaves victorious, the true champion of the college basketball universe. Who's best? The Kansas Jayhawks? The Duke Blue Devils? The Wofford Terriers? Well, the slim chances of that last team aside, we do get to find out, fair and square. There's no wishy-washy, muddled college football ending here, where every squad great or inferior gets a chance to go out a "winner," as if it were nothing but a grand T-ball tournament. (Hey, maybe they shouldn't keep score, so as not to offend any of the delicate player psyches.)

For those of us with rooting interest - or at least an interest in a little extra spending cash and a year's worth of bragging rights - it's time to do our research (eenie, meenie, miney, moe), fill out our brackets, and watch in anticipation as those picks crumble in a triumphant, smoldering mess by the first Sunday.

Well, whether you win the office pool or not, this year, you can come away from the Madness with more than just a bracket smudged with hot wing sauce and scribbled with circles and x's, at least if you like ballin' in your driveway or at the local gym with your friends. How about using the opportunity of watching the NCAA's best hoopsters as motivation to improve your own game?

Will you be dunking in no time on a 10-foot rim, posterizing your friends and donning a Superman cape to go with your sweet Dwight Howard jersey? Probably not. But some extra spring in your leap can make a difference as you glide down the lane for a layup in your weekly pick-up game - and can lead to an afternoon of fun when you drop your outdoor rim to the nine-foot setting for a little front-yard dunkadelic display. (Hey neighbors, you’re welcome!)

Replace your regular leg workout with this more dynamic, plyometric-infused routine. You can do it once or twice a week, your choice, but make sure you space the workouts at least two to three days apart.

To make sure you're making progress, we recommend measuring your vertical, either with a reach-and-jump board (if you have access to one at your local health club) or by using chalk and a wall. Stand next to a wall and reach up, marking as high as you can reach; next, leap and make a mark as high up as you can. The difference between the marks is your vertical. (Your leap will fluctuate, so don't get discouraged if it dips ...and be sure to always measure at the same time of the day, either before or after the same workout each time or on your off-day.)

Superset #1 Barbell Squat 
Hack Squat 
20, 15, 12, 10
20, 15, 12, 10
Superset #2

Smith-Machine Upper-Half-Rep Squat
Full-Depth Jump Squat   
12, 12, 10, 10
30 seconds per set
Superset #3
Barbell Step-Up 
Box Hop

12, 12, 10
30 seconds per set
Superset #4
Romanian Deadlift     
Lying Leg Curl
15, 12, 10
12, 12, 12

Standing Calf Raise  
Calf Hops                                                             
Deep Stretch on Raised Step or Block      

25, 20, 15
30 seconds per set
30 seconds per set


Instructions: Do all the weight movements except the Romanian deadlift explosively on the positive portion of the rep, and more slowly on the negative, taking up to four seconds on the eccentric portion. (Do the Romanian at a steady, even cadence on the positive and negative portion of the rep.) Increase the resistance set to set on each weight-bearing move, and rest one to two minutes between all supersets and tri-sets.

For added work during the week, add a jumping session either before or following another weight or cardio workout. In that one, incorporate leaps in multiple directions up on a bench or box, backwards, sideways, diagonally and forward.



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Disclaimer: The articles featured herein are for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Specific medical advice should only be obtained from a licensed health care professional. No liability is assumed by ProSource for any information herein.

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