Interview with Jacob Hiller: How to Get A 40″ Vertical Leap FAST


Hey Guys, I haven’t updated my blog for a while, and it’s time I gave you something.

This is an interview I had with Jacob Hiller, the author of the Jump Manual program.

In this interview, Jacob talks about some really important principles when it comes to increasing your vertical jump, and he gives out some excellent gold nugget tips in between.

So listen carefully and write down notes.

Here it is.

Coach Hiller Vertical Jump Q&A

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

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’ve 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 as explosive as possible.

My background is, I 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 got my vertical to 44 inches.

So I kept training, and I eventually played pro basketball in 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.

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

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.

When you’re doing thousands of repetitions like that, you’re training your aerobic endurance… you’re not training yourself to be explosive.

#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 mistake is training for endurance.

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

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 weighed down, 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 muscles quickly.

You want to 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 the strength and explosiveness to the specific movement, it’s not going to do you any good.

We need to have it all

If your body is uncoordinated, 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 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 three 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.


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 it.

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 The 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 is another important thing for a lot of reasons.

But first thing’s first – It’s really good for your ligaments, and it’s 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.

And like I said before, stretching is very important, especially for injury prevention.

And while stretching alone is not going to get you a 40 inch vertical, it will support you on your way there.

Don’t underestimate the power of stretching

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

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 angles, do plyometrics for those 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?

If you’ll 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 horsepower.

For example, if you had a car with a 6-cylinder engine, and I gave you an 8-cylinder engine – you’ve got two 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 for vertical jumping, and that’s why you don’t see bodybuilders with a 50 inch vertical.

No bueno for jumping higher

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

Avoid extremely high repetitions, training to fatigue, or focusing too much on just diet/supplements.

Remember to focus on the big rocks, move the big things – if you’ll get that going, you’ll see a lot better results.

For more information on Jacob Hiller and his Jump Manual, check out his official website.

Last Updated on by Matthew Godley


10 years ago, I've set out on a quest to dunk a basketball on a 10-foot rim. In order to achieve my dream, I decided to use The Jump Manual program. After having tremendous success with it, I made the decision to help others by turning this website into a useful resource for anyone seeking to jump higher. Learn more about my vertical jump evolution here.

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