Q: I am confused about the difference between the pure quickness aspect of the nervous system which you say is highly genetic and relatively untrainable vs. the power aspect of the nervous system which you said is more trainable. When refering to the pure quickness side of things such as hand speed, reflexes, and activities with little force requirements, are you saying that the speed is mainly determined by how fast the impulse travels from the motor neuron to the muscle cells once the motor neuron is activated to fire, and that in power activities requiring a blend of force and speed it is about how fast one can activate as many motor neurons as possible to fire an impulse regardless of how fast that impulse reaches the actual muscle cells? In other words are you saying that there is a difference between speed of recruitment which is more trainable and speed of impulse transmission which is more genetic? If so, does the transmission aspect just determine how fast one will initiate a movement in response to stimulation, while the speed of recruitment will determine the total magnitude of external acceleration which is what power activities require?

A: I think you're understanding things quite correctly. Quickness is mainly determined by how fast the neural impulses travel and power is determined by how many motor units fire and the amount of protein contained within them (size of the muscles) in relation to the bodymass. There's no need to overcomplicate things however.

All that you need to know is that there is difference between the MAGNITUDEof recruitment which is more trainable and SPEED of impulse transmission which is more genetic. Movements that measure pure speed of impulse transmission tend to recruit far less motor units and performance in these tasks is highly genetic. For example, typing on the keyboard as fast as you can requires good impulse transmission so it is prone to some genetic succeptibility. Even though it requires pure speed and quickness the total muscle involvement (motor unit recruitment) is quite low. Try to bang the hell out of the keyboard with your fingers and you increase the number of motor units firing. Those who are the fastest typers may not have the "most powerful" keystrokes. Those who move their hands the fastest may not have the most powerful punches or be able to throw the ball the fastest. Those who move their feet the fastest lying on their back may not be the fastest sprinters standing up moving their bodyweight down the track. The list goes on and on.

What happens when a muscle motor unit is recruited is highly trainable and is basically what I refer to as "horsepower". A muscle motor unit is recruited by the nervous system and fires. The amount of force exerted depends on the amount of protein contained within the muscle cells....get bigger and stronger muscles and more force is generated when a motor unit is recruited.

The last line you wrote was pretty much spot on but the way I see things it should read like this:The transmission aspect just determines how fast one will initiate a movement in response to stimulation, while the speed of recruitment, magnitude of recruitment and amount of protein contained in the muscle cells recruited, will determine the total magnitude of external acceleration which is what power activities require.

I play basketbal and Im wondering how one can improve basketball speed aside from doing plyos and weight training. Since the basketball court is around 30 yards or 94 feet only, what parameters do you use when doing sprint training? Should you limit sprints in the 10-30 yards range?

That's a good question. I would spend about 70% of my time working on distances from 10-30 yards and the remaining 30% out to 60 yards.

The top speed sprinting is done for this reason - although you won't ever hit top speed on a basketball court, the higher your top speed is the easier anything less then that becomes. Who stands a better chance of running the faster 20 yard dash, the guy who sprints 7.5 seconds over 60 yards or the guy who sprints 6.5 seconds over 60 yards?

Hey my friend is 265 lbd and is 6 ft tall. He cant touch rim he is 4 inches away. Do u think if he did your program he would be able to dunk. How much would he gain. What are average gains. He jumps off of 2 feet but wants to jump off of one can your program do this and teach him to jump just as high off of one foot as he does with 2.

For your friend at 265 lbs if he's only 4 inches from touching the rim then it should be a fairly simple process to get him dunking. The key thing with him is gonna be getting his bodyfat in check...the increased activity fromt he programs will get him in shape and the nutritional strategies he'll learn in the Body Comp basics bonus will give him all that he needs. It's not surprising to see a guy like that put 6-8 inches on their vertical jump in a month of training, providing they get their weight down a bit.

As for averages it totally depends on the level of athlete and their experience. Would you expect a 32 year old professional athlete with 17 years training experience to respond the same to training as a 14 year old novice trainee? Would you expect a 4'11 200 lb guy to respond to training the same as a 6'4 160 pounder with legs like an elephant?

The idea is for EVERYONE to be able to advance regardless of age, experience, training history etc. and to make the process predictable. In other words, instead of wondering about doing plyometrics, powerlifting, weighted vests, isometrics,special diets or whatever other bullcrap training methods there are you should know exactly what it is you need to work on in order to advance. Is it your strength, is it your reactive ability, is it your bodyfat level?? That's why the Vertical Jump Development Bible has so many different programs, tests, etc. so that one can be assured they are doing a program that will work for them.

As for the unilateral jump it responds to training just like the bilateral jump.

Hope that helps!


Q: I saw your article about isometric training but I wanted to know about this athleticquickness program. Do you think it's any good for increasing explosiveness?

The website to this program is athleticquickness.com

Well some resistance is better then no resistance but the only way this program works is via increasing resistance. It's kind've like if you were in prison and didn't have access to weights. Sure, you could do a lot of things with a towel but it still wouldn't be as effective as lifting some weights or lifting your own bodyweight. So, for the most part it should come as no surprise that this program is just another gimmick.

Now let me rant a bit. I'm sure some people are going to make some miniscule gains off this type of training. But how are they creating those gains?? What pisses me off about gimmicks like these is people read stuff like this and think the bands are creating some magic strength quality that wasn't there before. The truth is the only possible thing Isometric band tension could do is increase the maximal strength of a given muscle. So we can determine that athletic quickness works because it uses bands to increase the strength of a muscle. Now ask yourself. "Ok these bands increase the strength of a muscle. Is there anything else that increases the strength of a muscle???" There sure is. Is there anything else that increases the sterngth ofa muscle better then bands?? Yep. The shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line. If you want to get stronger there are much more direct ways to do it then elastic band training.

This is how any program should be evaluated.

First ask yourself what is trying to be accomplished with a given routine or systme of training? Then ask yourself if the routine and exercises are doing the job for accomplishing what's needed. The same thing works when designing a program. First I look at an athlete and I'm going to determine where he's at. Then determine what he needs. Then come up with the "tools" to direct him to those needs. The exercises are only tools. Using elastic bands to build strength is like using a fork to dig weeds out of your garden. Yeah you can do it but it sure as hell ain't optimal.