Jump Training Program

Dr. Mackarey's Health & Exercise ForumBasketball season is coming soon and preseason conditioning has begun. Every kid who has ever donned a pair of basketball shoes has dreamed about the thrill of jumping high into the sky toward the hoop to dunk a basketball. Yes, even those of us at 5 feet 8 inches and below can dream. While it is safe to say that not everyone is capable of such a fete, it may be in the realm of possibilities for many. Many youngsters have benefited from expert instruction and training to get the most air out of their body and improve their odds.

Gil “Rise” Thomas is a dunk coach from Los Angeles. He is jump training specialist who has trained high school and college basketball and track athletes to jump higher and farther for the past 15 years. The level of progress one can expect to make is base on height, weight, body fat, body frame, and athletic ability. To add perspective, the average vertical leap in the NBA is 28”. Michael Jordan, at 6’ 6” tall, had a vertical leap of 46” while Allen Iverson, at 6’in height, weighing 165 pounds, with less than 6.% body fat, jumped 44 inches off the ground.

Program To Improve Jumping (Modification of Rise Thomas & Dunk-Master)

***NOTE: The Dunk-Master Program is 6-7 days per week with jumping rope daily. However, this author has serious concerns about overuse injuries to the knee such as patella tendonitis “jumper’s knee” and recommends a 4-5 day per week workout. Also, this author does not recommend this program for those over 35 years of age and to pay attention to your knee pain and ice after exercise. If knee pain persists or worsens with this program, contact your physician of physical therapist for advice.

  • Lose Weight/Lower Body Fat
    • Get under 10.% for a male, 15.% for a female
    • Coach Thomas recommends the South Beach Diet but any diet high protein with moderate/minimal carbohydrates will do
  • Work out – 4-5 days per week
  • 2 Days Weight Training (Monday & Wednesday): Full lower body program with concentration on:
    • Squats – barbell on shoulders and bend to 45 degrees
      • 15- 20 reps with ¼ body weight
      • repeat 10 reps with 20-30 more pounds
      • repeat 8 reps with 10-20 more pounds
      • repeat 6 reps with 10 more pounds
      • repeat 6 reps with 10 more pounds
      • repeat 4 reps with 10 more pounds
    • Jump Squats – jump straight up from a squat position as far as you can return to a squat position with light dumbbells in your hand.
      • 4-5 sets of 8-10 reps
    • Modified Lunges (Bulgarian Squat) – lunge forward with your front leg up onto a 12 inch platform.
      • 3 sets of 8-10 with a moderately heavy dumbbell in each hand. Then repeat 4 more sets with 10 more pounds each set.
    • Step –Ups – with a barbell on your shoulders step up onto a platform 18 inches high. 3 sets of 10 reps. Start with light weight and add 10 pounds each set
    • Hamstring Curls – 15 reps at moderate weight, 12 reps with 10 more pounds, 10 reps with 10 more pounds and 8 reps with 10 less pounds than last set.
    • One –Legged Calf Raises – 4 sets of 10 reps. Start with body weight and add 10 pounds per set.
  • 2 Days Jumping Drills (Plyometrics) (Tuesday & Thursday)
    • Equipment:
      • Jumpsoles ($70) – a jumping training device that forces you onto your forefoot for a spring loaded position to strengthen your feet and ankles and to develop power transfer from your trunk and legs to the floor.
      • Hypergravity Weight Belt ($125.) – a belt that can add 20 pounds in 2 ½ pound increments to improve strength during dumping drills.
      • Power Wheel II ($50.) – a wheel shaped weighted disk used to improve core stabilization and strength.
    • Exercises: ** All exercises performed using Jumpsoles for first 2-3 weeks. Then, add Hypergravity belt adding 2 ½ pounds per week.
      • Squats – 3 sets: 1 of 30, 1 of 25, 1 of 20
      • Step –ups – as above
      • Lunges – as above
      • Skipping – 3 sets at 50 yds
      • Two-Legged Hops (Frog-Style) – 3 sets at 40 yds
      • One-Legged Hops – left and right – 3 sets at 40 yds
      • Vertical Jumps – 2 sets of 15, 1 set of 10
      • Knee-Tuck Jumps – 1 set of 10, 1 set of 15
      • One-Legged 12 inch Bench Hop-Ups – 3 sets of 10
      • Depth Jumps – Jumping down from 12 inch bench – 3 sets of 10
      • Depth Jump – as above with exploding straight up upon landing — 3 sets of 10
      • Uphill Sprints – 30, 60, 90 yards
      • Sit-Ups – using Powerwheel or Medicine Ball – 3 sets of 20
  • 2 Days Jumping Plyometrics (Alternate 2 days Tues/Fri or Tues/Sat or Thurs/Sat)
    • Speed Ladder
    • Ankle Skips
    • Knee Raise Skips with arm swing
    • One-Leg Hop 
    • Standing Long Jump
    • Resistance Jumping – using tubing or bands tied to floor to belt
      • 10 jumps max height from full squat
      • 20 quick jumps from ¼ squat
      • 10 jumps max – no resistance
      • 20 ankle jumps – no resistance
    • Platform Jumps – 12 –18-24-30 inch platforms
      • 20 two-foot hops to each of 4 platforms
      • 2 sets of 10 to 30 inch platform
      • 8 jumps alternate platforms
    • Jump Rope – with Hypergravity Weight Belt – 20 pounds
      • 150 two-legged jumps
      • 75 one-legged jumps on each leg

Good luck with the program. While you may notice some progress in 6 weeks, it may take 3 months to reach your goal. Email me with your results.

** For more information about the program and products: 1-800-586-7872 or www.jumpUSA.com
Read Dr. Mackarey’s Health & Exercise Forum – every Monday in the Scranton Times-Tribune.
This article is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. If you have questions related to your medical condition, please contact your family physician. For further inquires related to this topic email: drpmackarey@msn.com
Paul J. Mackarey PT, DHSc, OCS is a Doctor in Health Sciences specializing in orthopaedic and sports physical therapy. Dr. Mackarey is in private practice and is an associate professor of clinical medicine at The Commonwealth Medical College.