I mean, I think you can probably improve your vertical some in a month. I think, though, that for most normal people who aren’t teenagers who are trying out for their basketball team, who don’t have all that time on their hands, I think there’s a much saner way to go about it, where you’re steadily improving your vertical over a period of time. You know, there’s a lot of this kind of slightly crazy, kamikaze, self-improvement type of thing, whether it’s trying to jump higher or do anything else. I’m sure those things work to some extent, but it’s not the way I would have wanted to go about it.
Secondly, in addition to the rate of force development, the size of the force itself produces a negative feedback effect on vertical impulse, because higher forces lead to faster accelerations, which in turn reduce the time spent producing force before take-off. This is *partly* why drop jumps tend to involve higher forces, shorter ground contact times, and yet similar jump heights to countermovement jumps.

Finally, to make things even more complicated, it is likely that the roles of the lower body muscles may differ according to if: (1) the jump is maximal or sub-maximal, (2) long-term training has occurred, and (3) the individual has a “hip-dominant” or a “knee-dominant” technique. Indeed, the vertical jump is more dependent upon the hip extensors in maximal jumps, compared to in sub-maximal ones. And after long-term jumping training, the increase in the amount of work done in the jump by the hip extensors is related to the increase in height, while the increase in the amount of work done by the knee extensors is not.


Like Todd and me, Nicholson was a two-foot jumper, and he echoed what Todd had told me was another flaw in my technique: “Your next-to-last step has to be a lot bigger. That big leap forward with your right foot—your penultimate step—that’s what allows you to explode off the ground.” To demonstrate, Nicholson sent me a video of Carter’s performance at the 2000 NBA Dunk Contest, which was a bit like showing a Monet to a finger painting kindergartner and saying, “No, like this.”
Muscular strength and explosiveness must be developed in conjunction with flexibility if the athlete is to maximize the jumping ability and reduce the risk of injury to structures such as the Achilles tendon and knee ligaments. Flexibility, when achieved through focused stretching programs, will serve to increase the range of motion in the joints essential to jumping: the ankles, knees, and hips. A common muscular deficiency that plagues athletes who require well-developed leaping ability is a lack of flexibility and resultant strength imbalance between the quadriceps (thigh) muscles and the hamstrings, the pair of muscles responsible for the flexion and the extension of the knee. Proper stretching will assist the athlete in the maintenance of an approximate 3:2 ratio in the relative strength of the quadriceps to the hamstring. When there is a significant deviation from that proportion, the knee and the muscles themselves are at greater risk of injury.
I mean, I think you can probably improve your vertical some in a month. I think, though, that for most normal people who aren’t teenagers who are trying out for their basketball team, who don’t have all that time on their hands, I think there’s a much saner way to go about it, where you’re steadily improving your vertical over a period of time. You know, there’s a lot of this kind of slightly crazy, kamikaze, self-improvement type of thing, whether it’s trying to jump higher or do anything else. I’m sure those things work to some extent, but it’s not the way I would have wanted to go about it.
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To start the test, you need to stand with your right side against a wall. If you have access to a chalk board or a vertex (the measuring tool used by biokineticists), it makes this easier, however, you can use an outside wall. For the first marking, stand in your training shoes with your right hip against the wall. Reach up with your right hand to touch the wall at the highest point possible (while keeping your heels flat on the ground). Mark this point with chalk, as this is your “standing height.”


A second, more efficient and correct method is to use an infrared laser placed at ground level. When an athlete jumps and breaks the plane of the laser with his/her hand, the height at which this occurs is measured. Devices based on United States Patent 5031903, "A vertical jump testing device comprising a plurality of vertically arranged measuring elements each pivotally mounted..." are also common. These devices are used at the highest levels of collegiate and professional performance testing. They are composed of several (roughly 70) 14-inch prongs placed 0.5 inches apart vertically. An athlete will then leap vertically (no running start or step) and make contact with the retractable prongs to mark their leaping ability. This device is used each year at the NFL scouting combine.

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