Q&A With Jacob Hiller – Tips From A Vertical Jump Master

Hey Guys, I haven’t updated my blog for a while and it’s time I gave you something. This is an interview I found with Jacob Hiller, the author of the Jump Manual program. In this interview he talks about some really important things and he gives out some gold nugget tips in between. Be on the look for those.

Enjoy.

The Interview

Q: Give us a quick overview of who you are.

A: My name is Jacob Hiller, I help people jump higher, run faster and basically be more athletic. Most people know me for my book The Jump Manual. I work mostly with basketball players but I have worked with athletes in other sports as well. Long before I created the jump manual I was working with different players and athletes worldwide.

Previously I was a professional basketball player, I still keep my vertical leap to over 40 inches and I’m just obsessed with getting people explosive as possible. My background is I’ve tried everything when I was a kid and it didn’t work in time.

At high school I’ve done basically every program on the planet. On my second year in college I actually figured out how to do it and I got my vertical to 44 inches, I kept training and I eventually played pro basketball at Mexico and ended up writing a book about how to do it.

The book took off and as you can see we had a lot of success with the jump manual.

Jump Mistakes

Q: What’s the biggest mistake people make with their vertical jump?

A: I think it’s the training protocols that they use. For example, a lot of training protocols like the previously most popular program on the market (Air Alert) would tell people to do repetitions of up to a 100, 500 and even 1000 reps. And when you’re doing thousands repetitions like that you’re training your endurance, you’re not training yourself to become explosive.

jumping-endurance
#1 mistake – training for endurance

If you want to be explosive you have to do very low reps at a very high intensity. I recommend that you don’t go over 8 reps and everything should be at its most explosive. Think of it this way, a sprinter would not train his sprinting speed by running a marathon, for the same reason, a jumper should not jump thousands of times for a long period of time, otherwise he’d just be teaching his body to jump low over a long period of time.

For this reason you need to construct your jump training workouts so that every time you train you’ll reach your maximum explosive levels. Every repetition matters, quality is what counts here, not quantity. Training the right muscles is very important too, but as I stated earlier the biggest one mistake is training for endurance.

Jump Exercises

Q: What are the top 3 exercises for increasing your vertical jump?

A: You have to understand that jumping higher is mostly about 3 things.

First of all, you have to have enough strength or else your body thinks you’re heavy. If you’re not strong your body is weighting down on you and you’re not light on your feet.

Second of all, once you get strong you need to become quick. There are many strong guys out there who can’t move their muscle quickly. You want be strong as well as quick. When you’re strong and quick then you’re explosive.

Thirdly, you’ve got to have a technique and coordination. You want to be strong and quick, but strength and quickness are going to be applied to a specific movement. If you’re not able to apply that strength and explosiveness to the specific movement, it’s not going to do you any good.

strength-quickness-coordination
We need to have it all

If your body is not coordinated, you could have all the strength and quickness necessary, but you won’t be able to apply it to a specific movement. For working on your strength, I have a special exercise which I call the Joint Specific Squat and that’s when you use the exact angle that you would jump with as your squatting angle. There are lots of different types of squats but not all of them fit for jumping higher. Therefore, I would say squat is the top exercise but not just any squat, since some types of squats would not help you at all.

At #2 I would put jump squats. This exercise is when you’re actually getting off the ground, you land perfectly and you jump back up in the air.

At #3 would be a plyometric exercise related to the sports specific movement.

With these 3 exercises you’re covering a lot of ground.

Your training economy, i.e. how much time you can train each week will open room for you to do all the best exercises. This is the most recommended way. Find out everything you can do, and do all of those things. Once you have those down, you master those exercises and movements, and continue to make progress.

Nutrition

jump-start-diet
Jump start your body with the right fuel

Nutrition is very important for boosting your vertical jump, it can be a Make or Break thing. Perfect nutrition won’t get you a vertical, but it will support everything you do, or otherwise undermine everything you do.

Good nutrition has to be there in order to jump higher, it will help your muscles grow faster and it will help your nervous system react more quickly. Hence you have to have the foundation of a good diet and nutrition. In my jump manual I have an entire division dedicated solely to the topic of nutrition because I’m a firm believer of ‘you are what you eat’.

Stretching

Stretching is another important thing for a lot of reasons. But first thing’s first, it’s really good for your ligaments and it’s really good for your joints, tendons and muscles. By stretching your muscles, you’re teaching your body to go through a full range of motion, you’re getting better muscular quality, your blood flow is improved and you’ll even get injured less frequently.

Overall you need to know that stretching helps you have a better tissue quality. Like I said before, stretching is very important, especially for injury prevention. Stretching alone is not going to get you a 40 inch vertical, but it will support you on the way there.

stretching-for-jumping
Yep, I’d say that’s important

Q: If you had to give just 1 tip for people to increase their vertical jump, what would it be?

A: I would say this:

  1. Get strong
  2. Get quick
  3. Get coordinated

Yeah I know… that’s 3 tips, but a lot of people get focused on I’m gonna become super flexible or I’m gonna do these splits or I’m gonna do just squats…I’d say screw all that.

Get strong in the right joint angle, do plyometrics for the same joint angles and get your technique proper. It sounds oversimplified but the key takeaway from this is do the big things, don’t just focus on the minutia stuff like getting strong on your toes or other BS tips around the web.

Q: If someone does weight training and has a lot of muscle mass, will it increase or decrease his vertical leap?

A: If you train properly you’ll build functional muscle mass. For every pound of muscle you put on, you’re that much stronger. The extra weight from the muscles is actually giving you more horse power. For example, if I you had a car with a 6 cylinder engine and I gave you an 8 cylinder engine, you’ve got 2 more cylinders now. Although those cylinders make your car weigh more, they also give you a whole lot more power.

However, If you’re training improperly you’ll just get nonfunctional muscle mass and that will slow you down. There’s also a threshold for how much muscle you actually need before you start to become too heavy. Once you cross that threshold you will no longer benefit from the extra muscle and it will actually do you more harm than good. You see, too much mass is not good vertical jumping and for this reason you don’t see bodybuilders with a 50 inch vertical.

vertical-jump-bodybuilder
No bueno for jumping higher

Q: Last tip for helping people boost their vertical? What to focus on, what to avoid?

A: Avoid extremely high repetitions, training to fatigue or focusing too much on only diet/supplements. Remember to focus on the big rocks, move the big things, if you’ll get that going on enough time then you’ll see a lot better results.

For more information on Jacob Hiller and his jumping manual checkout the homepage.

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