Q: If you're tall can you substitute single leg split squats instead of the squat to develop your lower body strength? Or can the deadlift be a valuable substitute for the squat?

A: I generally consider 2 mandatory type of lower body movements and those are some sort've compound pulling or posterior chain movement such as deadlifts, romanian deadlifts, good mornings etc, along with some type of squat or squatting variation. If you had to choose one or both I'd rather you squat. Unless your foundation is really strong you wouldn't want to totally replace squats with deadlifts. However, as a tall person you can definitely replace squats with split squats, lunges, front squats, etc.

Q: What is the true measure of a vertical leap. Does it require steps. Does it mean that you can stand flat-footed and jump straight up 42"? How is vertical leap defined?

A: The vertical leap is just a measure of how high a person can get off the ground. It can be measured in a variety of starts - flat footed, one step, 3 step runup, running start off a single leg, standing on a box and bouncing off the ground etc. It is usually measured via the reach method which takes the height a person can reach flat footed and subtracts it from the height they reach in a jump. The problem with this method is people cheat when they reach. It can also be measured by measuring how high the top of a persons head gets in a jump. That's the most accurate and my personal favorite because it's impossible to cheat if measured accurately. For example, I always got my measurements by taking my height and, standing flat footed, jumping up and tapping ceiling tiles with my head. I was fortunate to always have a bunch of buildings with tile ceilings nearby. :) At 5'9 I could jump up and knock up a 9'3 ceiling tile. Just make sure you don't attempt this with a hard ceiling or you'll knock yourself out!

Q: I have a question regarding the Q&A answer you wrote about Judging and Perceiving personality types. I wanted to know if you would be able to work on being more of a Perceiving type? By just playing basketball would I become a Perceiving type? I notice I make alot of turnovers based on my judgement. I think I am the Judging type, and since I'm a pointguard I would like to know how I could turn myself into a better playmaker by turning myself into the Perceiving type... What would I have to do...?

That's a good question and one that is difficult answer. To start off let's clarify what is meant by judging and perceiving. In my mind the main difference is judgers are "sequential" processors and perceivers are "parallel" processors. Judgers are like robots picking up information in sequential fashion. A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K etc. They tend to see and do one thing at a time which sequential processing, with considerable focus in a very organized and predictable format. They prefer planning and organization and work in predetermined patterns. Now that's all well and good as long as the pattern is predictable but what happens when instead of going A, B, C, D, E, F, G you have to go from A to E to B to F to G etc?? Hmmm

Perceiver's are good at parallel processing. They see things less clearly, but they see more of it and don't need things to be as clear. When you compare the two in sport, judging athletes attempt to see one part of their field of playing an EXACT organized fashion, whereas perceivers are content to see more things in an inexact way. Basically judgers think first...they ask how/why/what? And then they act. On the other hand, the actions of a perceiver occur before they ever have time to register a thought as to how/why/what. The pesonality differences between the 2 in my opinion also go a long way in explaining why many athletes struggle with classroom type work and why the smartest in the classroom are often not the best athletes. As you touched on, when tested using a Myers-Briggs personality questionnaire like you can find here, you won't find any NBA pointguards or NFL tailbacks who are judgers and I bet you also won't find many valedictorians who are perceivers.

Now anyway to answer your question. Can you make yourself more of a perceiving type? Well, you can't change your identity but you can improve your tendencies and learn to work with what you have. Many people say there's not a lot that can be done but I think you can providing you spend a lot of time (as in years) working in unpredictable patterns. For example, for someone like yourself I would suggest you spend much more time gaining skill through games vs gaining skill through individual and organized practice. You're probably already good at practicing alone and "organized" team activities because that's what your mind likes to do. But I'd say dump a lot of that out and spend as much humanly time as possible out on the court playing the point guard position in pickup games where the process is COMPLETELY disorganized.

When you find yourself doing things on the court without thinking and you have to ask yourself, "how/why/what did I just do?" - You know you're going in the right direction.

Q: I'm a former football player and avid lifter. I recently started running in an effort to get ready to go back into active military. I do not want to get real skinny and lose muscle mass. I realize i have to find a medium between running and lifting. I mean i want to keep my build and even add some size to make sure im still muscular and big, but of course I want to get good at long distance. Do you have any suggestions?

A: Really if you eat enough and do your lifting you don't have to worry about losing muscle mass. Runners tend to get skinny and soft for a few reasons. First, the people who are good at that stuff are naturally built that way for the most part. Second, they eat like birds and tend to be protein deficient. Runners actually have higher protein requirements then bodybuiders simply due to the fact that they burn so many calories. Next, they don't put tension on their muscles that gives their bodies any reason to hang onto that muscle. The last one you don't have to worry about because you're a lifter. Keep your protein and calorie intake up and do your lifting and you'll be alright. Back in the 60's and 70's Arnold and other bodybuilders used to run on the beach all the time and they didn't shrink up and blow away.

Q: I've heard people refer to the positive anabolic hormone effects of eating a caloric surplus and I was hoping you could elaborate on this.

Well anabolic hormones are "muscle-building" hormones such as insulin and testosterone. The difference in muscle size between a male and female can be explained by the differences in anabolic hormone levels. So can the difference in muscle growth between a steroid user and a natural trainee.

It so happens that increased or decreased food intake increases and decreases anabolic hormones respectively. That's why you won't grow if you starve yourself. In fact, the increase that comes from a caloric surplus rivals that of steroid users.

There have been a few studies looking at the limits of human ability to accumulate and carry muscle mass. Surprisingly enough, the group of athletes with the most muscle aren't bodybuilders, powerlifters, strongmen, or football players, but sumo lifters! Yeah they're also the fattest, yet underneath that fat they still carry more muscle mass then the other groups. How is it that a group who does almost zero exercise and does nothing but sit around and eats constantly in an effort to get fat accumulates more muscle mass then the other groups? Well, all the sumo wrestler desires is scale weight. Not only does all that food put weight on the scale but it stimulates anabolic hormones which also build muscle. That's why if you're 150 pounds right now and want to get to 250 lbs of muscle the quickest way to get there is simply do a few lifts a few times per week and eat yourself up to 400 lbs as fast as possible. Yeah you'll be fat and will probably look like crap but you'll still carry a lot of muscle.

The trick is to get the muscle building effects of food intake without getting fat. That's where the level of the caloric excess, quality of the diet, and exercise become important.

All the sumo wrestler cares about is getting as much weight on the scale as possible as fast as possible. But eating 500 calories above maintenance will give you the same positive anabolic hormone effects as eating 2000 calories above maintenance so there's no need for anyone to try and gain 10 lbs per week. Muscle can only be built so fast. When you're trying to gain muscle, be content with a 1-2 lbs per week increase in bodyweight, don't load yourself up on junk food, and stay active. That way you get the anabolic muscle building effects without most of the anabolic "fat building" effects.