Q: I just got done reading The Vertical Jump Development Bible and it's great. I have a question though. I am a girl and was wondering if the strength assessments and tests are the same for a girl as they are for a guy.

A: That's an excellent question. Men are usually stronger then women but that's mainly because men have more muscle and less fat. If you take a given amount of male muscle and compare it to the exact same amount of female muscle there is only a 10% difference in maximal force capacity. Therefore, a 120 lb woman at 20 % bodyfat should be as strong as a 100 lb male at 10% bodyfat or thereabouts. For the squat, I'd shoot for 120% of your bodyweight instead of 150%. Here's something else you can use. Try to get into the "great" category on the major movements.

Women's Strength chart

As for the reactive vertical jump tests, I recommend you use a lower box of around 10-12 inches.

Hopefully that'll allow you to determine what you need.

Q: I would just like to know what the differences are in terms of muscle growth stimulation between doing a workout consisting of 10 sets of 4 reps at 85 percent of maximum or vs. 4 sets of 10 reps at around a load of 70 percent of maximum.

I have heard that keeping volume or total time under tension constant, the heavier weight stimulates better growth, but my question is what role does the amount of time taken to achieve that volume play in the whole process and also how does each style influence sarcoplasmic to sarcomere hypertrophy? In other words, although I might be able to achieve the same 40 reps with an equal amount of total time under tension with the heavier load, it would take longer due to a lower time under tension per set as well as the need for longer rest periods.

With the lighter weight, I would achieve a greater time under tension per set and probably wouldn't need to rest as long between sets either. The heavier weight would definitely stimulate more sarcomere growth, but is it equally as effective for sarcoplasmic growth? Also, is the training variable called density the term used to refer to the total volume achieved per unit of time? If so, this is what I am talking about. I hope that made sense.

That's a good question. On paper theoretically 10 sets of 4 with 85% of your max should stimulate more growth then 4 sets of 10 with 70% because the total reps are equal and the heavier load should stimulate more growth. Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple.

First of all, muscular fatigue and metabolic disruption is very important to the muscle growth process. This is directly impacted by the amount of work you do in a given time period, or density. In fact, a lot of evidence is coming out that seems to support the contention that fatigue is more imortant then absolute tension for stimulating muscle growth. The basic tenet is that repeated muscular contractions with at least a minimal amount of tension (load), performed over a brief period of time, (density), produce a sustained disruption of electrochemical homeostasis characterized by the intracellular accumulation of calcium and sodium among other ions. This ultimately results in not only a humongous pump and painful feeling but ultimately fiber hypertrophy.

Therefore, 4 sets of 10 reps lifted in 5 minutes might very well stimulate more growth then 10 sets of 4 reps lifted in 20 minutes. People seem to vary in what they respond best to. Also, you can just lift 5 lb weights and create a lot of fatigue but that won't do much for muscle growth. There is a given minimal level of tension that is necessary. A weight's generally gotta be around 60% of your max to do any good. You lift a heavy enough load enough times in a certain amount of time and you create increased levels of calcium and other ions in the muscle. The muscle adapts to better deal with that state you create. The process of doing more work in less time is called "density", or work per unit of time.

If you're after hypertrophy above all else, I recommend you incorporate both. Do your heavy work with long rest intervals at the beginning of the workout and finish your workout up with lots of sets using very short rest intervals.

A sample chest workout over an 8 week cycle would look something like this:

Heavy Tension movement

1 A. Bench press - 3 x 8 week 1 & 2, 4 x 6 week 3 & 4, 5 x 4 week 5 & 6, 6 x 3 week 7 and 8 (2 workouts per week - load increases each week, the 2nd workout each week is 10% lighter then the first, reps decrease every 2 weeks, total reps stay relatively constant - full recoveries are used - failure isn't a goal)

Density movement

2A. pec flye (or other chest isolation exercise)- 4-5 sets of 5-8 reps with 15-45 second rest intervals between sets. Start off with 45 second rests, progress to 15 over the course of the cycle. Sets resemble "mini-rest-pause sets". The goal with the density movement is turning the muscle into a fatigue wasteland)

As for sarcomeric vs sarcoplasmic growth, it's an over-rated talk. Anytime you grow muscle and eat enough carbohydrates to fully restore glycogen you stimulate both. Strength coaches often rag on bodybuilders or anything related to sarcoplasmic hypertrophy saying it's non-functional mass. The sarcoplasm can only get so big around a given cell. The size of the actual protein "sarcomere" in a cell sets the limit on how much sarcoplasm is around that cell. Thus, sarcoplasmic growth can add a wee bit of size and put the finishing touches on a muscle, yet, for the most part what you see is what you get. Muscle is muscle. Yes, a muscle can grow to accomodate increased glycogen storage (sarcoplasmic hypertrophy) the harder you train it or the more density you use, but that's a positive thing and actually helps strength because it provides additional tissue leverage. That's largely why creatine makes people stronger.

The main reason bodybuilding training doesn't stimulate the same quality of strength gains is because the nervous system is constantly fried from all the volume in typical bodybuilding schemes and, unless you practice lifting very heavy weights, you don't get really good at lifting very heavy weights and, for the reasons I covered above, there's more to stimulating muscle mass then just performing sets with the heaviest load possible and bodybuilders do what works for them.

Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is basically just glycogen and creatine storage. The greater your training density and overall volume the more your muscles adapt to store more glycogen and creatine. Unless you give your body a reason to store excess energy substrates (glycogen and creatine) by training with a fair bit of volume and a lot of density, it won't. Thus, it's really not that pure strength trainers have "functional mass" that bodybuilders dont, it's that bodybuilders have something that pure strength trainers don't - and that is that extra glycogen and creatine in the muscle stimulated by their high volume workouts. Those workouts are not necessarily optimal for great displays of strength. The one I described above is designed to accomplish both. Maximum strength and size.

Q: Hey im thinking of purchasing your new vertical jump bible. Im just wondering do you think it could take a 5"8 160 pound guard with a 25 " vertical to be dunking by October 2006, If I train super hard with your program?? Also are you 100% sure this is the best vert item on the market? How come on your website u use the same template as many other vertical advertisements?

Good to hear from you and thanks for your interest in my book. Not everyone at 5'8 is capable of dunking so I can't promise you anything. It's definitely possible though and training smart goes a long way. Anybody can train hard but training smart is much more difficult. You'd probaby need a 8 inches minimum, depending on your arm length. I don't know your history or your individualities so you might improve 8 inches in a month --- or it might take you 2 years....too hard to tell. And who knows, you might shoot up another 6 inches in height! What I can do is teach you how to get the most out of your abilities and how to make the process predictable as well as provide you a roadmap of how to accomplish what you want. Read around on the site and then ask around and see what other people are doing with the information on here.

You gotta learn to think in terms of "correct training principles", not "programs", "workouts" or "systems". You can make anything work as long as you understand the principles. As for the salesletter template for the book, I either had the choice of laying everything out there like that and explaining what is offered or just having a simple order form with no information and having to answer countless questions each day from people asking me "what all is contained in your book?" :)Not that I mind answering questions or anything. People have told me there's already more information contained in that simple page then is contained in most other complete books, programs, and resources, that they've seen. I really don't know because I don't pay attention to anything else out there on the subject unless someone writes in and shows me something and I don't see anything I'd recommend that is specifically geared towards vertical jump improvement. I hope that makes some sense.

Feel free to drop me a line if you have any other questions and let me know how you progress if you decide to get the book!


Q: I read some of your articles and came up with this program for myself.

monday and friday

jump squats

3x3@70%, 3x3@50%, 3x3@30%,

squats 5x5@85%

hangcleans 3x3@85%

deadlifts 5x5@80%

leg press 3x5

On wednesday play basketball

Is there anything I left out? I know many dont reccomend leg presses but I think they are a good for building absolute strength.

A: You can definitely work with that routine but I wouldn't approach it exactly like that. First off, shitcan the leg press. It won't do anything but drain you. You probably knew I was gonna say that though. :) Ok, here's an example of how you can set it up.

Phase I - 4 weeks

Day 1

Jump Squat- 3 x 3 @40% of max squat, 3 x 3@ 20% (perform these with a focus on "diving down" into a 1/4 to 1/2 squat and quickly rebounding out as high as possible)

*hang clean - 3 x 3 @85%

Squat- 5 x 5 @85% (try to increase the weight or reps each week- work up to a set of 5 using several warm-up sets and then maintain the same weight for all 5 sets. You might only get 2 or 3 reps on your last 2 sets. when you get all 5 sets of 5 increase the load the next workout - make sure you're doing a true butt nailed to the floor full squat)

leg curl, glute ham, or romanian deadlift - 4 x 6-8

Day 2

*hang clean - 3 x 3 @85%

Jump Squat with pause 3 x 3 @ 40% of max squat, 3 x 3@20% (perform these by lowering into a full squat position and pausing for 3-5 seconds before each repetition)

Deadlift- 5 x 5 @85% (try to increase the weight or reps each week- work up to a set of 5 using several warm-up sets and then maintain the same weight for all 5 sets. You might only get 2 or 3 reps on your last 2 sets. when you get all 5 sets of 5 increase the load the next workout)

bulgarian split squat or lunge- 2 x 6-8

leg curl or glute ham - 2 x 5

* = optional

After this 4 week phase take a recovery week where you eliminate the heavy squat and deadlift but keep everything else in place. Then move onto phase II.

Phase II - 3-4 weeks

Day 1

Depth Jump - 6-8 x 3 (use box heights of 18 inches to start - Only increase the box height if your technique feels perfect, smooth, and quiet)

Squat - 3 x 3 @ 80-85%

leg curl, glute ham, or RDL- 3 x 5

Day 2

Depth jump - 6-8 x 3

Deadlift - 3 x 3 @ 80-85%

bulgarian split squat or lunge - 2 x 5 per leg

After this 3-4 week phase rest completely for 1 week, retest, and start another cycle. You oughta see some nice gains.

What you're doing here in the 2nd phase is pulling back on the volume and intensity of the strength work so that you can intensify your reactive work. The squats and deadlifts in this phase are just maintenance work so that you maintain your strength. Nothing hardcore. This is a mild example of conjugate loading. Strength and strength-speed focus in phase one, reactive focus in phase 2 with maintenance strength work.