The Top 3 Vertical Jump Training Programs in 2016
Just as people follow gym routines to get buff, vertical jump training systems focus on making you jump higher. They require you to be just as committed and consistent, but the reward is far more satisfying.
A couple of months lifting in the gym might see you lifting a few more pounds, but in the same time you could be jumping 9 inches higher and turning heads on the court. Not only that, you’ll gain incredible athleticism, bettering yourself in any physical sport like football, basketball, soccer or tennis. Which sounds more awesome to you?
Why They Work
- A focus on plyometric training, while also making sure you develop sufficient strength.
- Peripheral exercises to engage ‘secondary’ muscle groups. Your jump isn’t just about calves, quads and gluts!
- Optimized muscle growth scheduling. Don’t over-work or under-work muscle groups.
- Constantly switches things up to ensure ‘muscle confusion’. Prevents the dreaded plateau.
- Focus on jumping technique. If your running jump isn’t 5+ inches higher than your standing, you stand to gain a lot from fine tuning your run up alone.
- Proven results. Don’t make up your own half-assed workout plan and expect it to work.
Now, if you’re ready to go beyond just doing high-rep squats, calf raises, box-jumps and jump-rope, here are my top 3 recommendations, in order:
My Number 1 Pick: Vert Shock
If you’ve read my story, I’m sure you already know my answer: it’s Folkersystem Vert Shock. It worked for me, and it’s worked for thousands of others. There are other training programs worth your time (I’ll come to these later), but it covers everything more concisely and is in my opinion, the best presented.
The program was created by Adam Folker, who previously played college basketball at UC Irvine and entered the 2013 NBA draft. With his Marketing major, he has gone on to become the CEO behind Folkersystem, a business centered around Basketball training. For this program, he worked with Justin “Just Fly” Darlington, who shares his secrets to becoming the world’s highest dunker.
The 3 Phase Approach
The basic idea behind it is to ‘shock’ your system through its workouts to stimulate growth in the right areas – a technique that is already used in most bodybuilding programs. The program is split into 3 phases:
Phase 1: Pre-Shock
The first week of the program prepares your body to maximize the effectiveness of the Shock phase. It can add between 3-5 inches to your leap.
Phase 2: Shock
Six weeks long, this phase literally ‘shocks’ your nervous system into increasing your leap score. This is where the majority of your jumping gains will come from.
Phase 3: Post-Shock
The last week involves committing what has been learned to muscle memory. It is the most intensive week with only a day of rest.
Personally, I only managed to add around 2 inches in the Pre-Shock phase, but gained more than 6 inches over the duration of the Shock phase. I would also suggest not to skip the last phase, as this is where your jumping form is perfected.
Depending on how much you’ve trained previously, you’ll probably have a different idea of ‘how good’ this improvement is. Let me tell you, I might have thought 10 inches isn’t that much for a couple of months training before, but having tried and failed before, I can tell you it is a massive change in such a short time. Adam Folker suggests larger gains are possible, but to be honest I was pretty ecstatic ‘just’ to get the minimum guaranteed improvement.
In case you’re wondering…
The workouts don’t require your own equipment, which the other two programs require. If you do have your own equipment, and are desperate to put it to use, perhaps consider Jacob Hiller’s alternative which I review below. In any case, I should stress that it really isn’t necessary, and if anything it needlessly complicates things.
So there it is, my number 1 pick, Vert Shock. It’s worth mentioning that there is a 60-day money back guarantee. If for whatever reason it doesn’t work for you, they’ll refund you – no questions asked. They’re currently throwing in some bonus extras (4 Vertical Jump Killers, 5 Dirty Secrets To Jumping Higher, Weekly Check-Ins and Jumper’s Diet Checklist) which are pretty cool. 4 Vertical Jump Killers, which points outs bad habits that might be destroying your potential, is my favorite.
Also consider: Jump Manual
Full Review: Jump Manual: The VJD Review
Jacob Hiller’s Jump Manual is the most well known leap training program, and it guarantees to add 10 inches if you follow it to completion. I got this recently just to see if Jacob Hiller could offer additional tips, and I have to say there are many things I like about it.
Jacob is great at explaining ‘why’ you should do what you do. I’m not saying you necessarily need to know why doing a certain exercise is helpful, but it is nice to have that extra awareness.
The pacing of Jump Manual also feels more relaxed. It’s one month longer, and a lot of the exercises aren’t too tiring. There is a lot of stretching and traditional strength training exercises like deadlifts and hang cleans. Compared to the barrage of ‘explosive’ workouts in Vert Shock, it’s a little more easy going. If you are someone that is especially prone to injury, perhaps this is a safer form of vertical jump training.
Back to the Gym
The training incorporates a greater amount of weight training than other programs. This means two things. First, you need access to weights, be it through a gym membership or having your own weight training equipment at home. Second, it means you’ll learn a lot about weightlifting if you follow Jacob’s jump training. Not bad if this is something you’re interested in.
I got fantastic results without using weights, so they simply aren’t necessary. However I’m spending more time on the squat rack and using barbells and dumbbells these days to see if they can provide additional benefits.
You could argue that this is the most ‘complete’ vertical jump training course out there, because it has the biggest variety of exercises. However, I’m a results oriented person and the 12-week duration of the program seemed a bit long, compared to the 8-week duration of Vert Shock. As it’s the older product of the two, the presentation isn’t quite as impressive.
Unfortunately, since I got most of my gains through Adam Folker’s vertical jump training, I can’t say which is more effective with any real certainty. I would say that if you are starting from scratch and have access to weights, Jacob Hiller offers a solid alternative.
At the time of writing: There’s a fantastic offer where you can trial the program for $1 and only pay the rest later if you like it.
Also Consider: Become a Freak v3
My last recommendation is Adam Linkenauger’s Become a Freak v3. A 7-time ACC champion and Powerade National Dunk champion, Linkenauger is a serious dunker and his ‘Become a Freak’ series is highly recommended by many. Version 3 is the latest and like Jump Manual it is a comprehensive 12-week program.
I personally have not used the program: I feel like the programs above have given me more than enough material to work with, and I don’t want to get bogged down with new exercises. I have heard from people who succeeded with Become a Freak v2, and I have no doubt it is an effective program.