Dirty Tricks for Higher Vertical

January 26, 2016 - By 

I’ve been called a wide variety of names over the past couple of years. These names have ranged from “guru” to “cheater.” Frankly, I don’t give a damn what people call me. The bottom line is that I get results with my athletes.

Some people admire this; others get jealous and choose to ridicule my methods. Some of my methods are mainstream and other times I have to dig into my bag of “dirty tricks” to get the desired result. Training athletes for the vertical jump test is no exception. I get more questions each week regarding the vertical jump than any other training topic. Most athletes seem to be obsessed with their vertical jump. This is where I come in.

Below you’ll find some of my favorite coaching “tricks” that I guarantee will improve your vertical jump. These underground techniques have helped over 2-dozen of my athletes jump over 35″ on this popular athletic test. Some may call these techniques trickery; others may call them smart coaching. Call them what you want, they work!

++++++ DIRTY TRICK #1 +++++++


This dirty trick works so well it gives me chills! Well, not really but it’s damn effective.

Have you ever noticed that the day after you’ve performed a lot of jumping that your hip flexors were sore? I’ve personally pulled hip flexor muscles while testing my vertical jump. What I eventually figured out was that the rapid, full body extension that followed the rapid descent into the jump was tearing them up. After further analysis, one could conclude that if these muscles were getting torn up, that meant that they were probably resisting the height of the jump.

Hopefully we’re all well aware that static stretching isn’t recommended before any explosive activity. Static stretching your hip flexors before testing your vertical jump is the exception to the rule! You see, since the hip flexors aren’t prime movers in jumping and they tend to resist our jump, the goal is to weaken them and put them to “sleep” before jumping. Static stretching accomplishes these goals. Static stretching your hip flexors will create less friction during your jump. Less hip flexor friction during your jump equals higher vertical jump heights!

Below is one of my favorite hip flexor stretches, but go ahead and choose your favorite and perform 2 sets of 20-30 seconds on each side.

NOTE: The hip flexor stretch pictured below is a great stretch to perform before squatting as well. It will help you get deeper into your squats as well as prevent getting pulled forward during squatting. Give it a try!


+++++++ DIRTY TRICK #2 ++++++


The flexor hallucis longus is the least known of all the “jumping muscles.” Don’t get me wrong, this muscle isn’t going to improve your vertical jump as much as well-developed hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors; but this is an interesting muscle that can make a noticeable improvement in your jumping ability.

The flexor hallucis longus originates on the lower two-thirds of the fibula and inserts on the distal phalanx of the great toe. It plantar flexes the foot and also flexes the great toe. These muscle actions are an integral part of the vertical jump as well as sprinting. Getting this often-overlooked muscle stronger can be that added inch on your vertical jump that you thought was impossible.

The best way to train this muscle in the weight room is by performing single leg calf raises while holding a dumbell. (See pictures below.) When performing this exercise, try to keep most of your weight on the big toe of the working leg.


Crunching your toes in your sneakers/shoes while at work or school is another “economical” way of strengthening these muscles. Try 3-4 sets of 20 reps. No one will ever know!

Crunching a towel up in your toes while watching TV or working on the computer is another way to train these muscles without wasting any extra time.

++++++ DIRTY TRICK #3 ++++++


Most athletes focus so much on the “jump” portion of jumping that they forget the importance of the descent of the jump. Through extensive research and observation, I’ve found that the speed of the descent is the most important factor in an athlete’s vertical jump height .

The bottom line is that the faster you can descend, the higher you will jump. Sir Isaac Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion supports this statement. It states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction . Knowing this, we can conclude that the faster we can descend into our jump, the faster we can take off. This translates into an explosive, jaw-dropping jump. Unfortunately, time and time again, I feel like I can go out to lunch and come back in the amount of time it takes an athlete to descend into his/her jump. If you want to jump through the roof, you must practice descending rapidly.

In order to perfect the descent, you must set up in the perfect position. Your vertical jump position should resemble that of an Olympic diver standing on a diving board. Your arms should be fully extended over your head, eyes looking upward to where you’ll be jumping, your back should be slightly arched and you should be standing on your toes. This position puts all of your muscles on stretch and sets you up for an explosive descent. Remember that an optimally stretched muscle can contract faster/harder.

Start the descent by throwing your arms down to your hips. As the arms fire downward, your head/neck will flex forward as your trunk and knees flex as well. In the bottom position, your hands should be slightly behind your hips, trunk flexed slightly forward and your knees bent at about 15-20 degrees. (Don’t get too caught up with the angle of your knees. Always remember that the angle of knee flexion is NOT as important as the speed in which you descend.) You are now ready to take off into a record-setting jump!

++++++ DIRTY TRICK #4 ++++++


This is one of the dirtiest, sneakiest, and toughest exercises you’ll ever perform. It’s great for training the elastic component of your muscles along with the Achilles tendon.

I use 50-rep rhythm squats as a “peaking” exercise. My athletes perform this exercise once a week for 3 weeks before being tested in the vertical jump. The last “rhythm-squat” workout would be completed 4-6 days before being tested in the vertical jump. 50-rep rhythm squats would always be the first exercise of the workout. After a proper warm-up, you’ll perform one all-out set of this exercise. After this exercise is completed, I usually like performing another explosive exercise such as box jumps, push jerks, etc.

This exercise is done by performing 50 quarter-squats as fast as possible. Do the first 10 reps exploding onto your toes; then, on reps 11-20 keep your feet flat on the way up; explode onto your toes again while performing reps 21-30; keep your heels down for reps 31-40, and then finish the final 10 reps by exploding onto your toes again. It helps to have a partner count out loud so you can perform all 50 reps as fast as possible without breaking momentum.

I also like using a green Jump-Stretch band around the bar (see pics below) for two reasons: First of all, the band helps to accelerate the eccentric portion of the lift. This will further work the elastic component of your muscles and train your body to rapidly descend. Secondly, due to the explosive nature of the exercise, the bar has a tendency to bounce up and down on your cervical spine. This doesn’t tickle! The bands help to hold and stabilize the bar on your neck.


++++++ DIRTY TRICK #5 ++++++


Proper shoe wear just might be the most overlooked component of the vertical jump. DO NOT wear an old pair of running sneakers because you feel that they’re “broken in” and comfortable. This type of sneaker is the worstthing you can put on your feet when jumping! These “comfortable” sneakers actually dampen the forces that you put into the ground. This, in turn, lengthens the time that you spend on the ground. Picture that as you rapidly descend into your jump, the foot collapses slightly and absorbs force. This dissipation of force can reduce the height of the jump.

I have my athletes wear light sneakers with a rigid sole and maximal arch support. This type of sneaker supports the first metatarsal, which is crucial to your jumping performance. I have found that track waffles are the best shoes for vertical jumping. Waffles are firm and very light. This allows for a rapid descent and take-off with maximal support. I also recommend that my athletes purchase waffles that are half a size too small. This prevents their feet from moving around in the shoe. Remember that these shoes aren’t meant for comfort; they’re meant for a world-class vertical jump!

Hopefully, this combination of training methods and “tricks” will have you jumping so high that you can grab a dollar bill off the top of the backboard and make change before descending. Okay, maybe that’s a little too ambitious a goal. Still, using these time-tested methods should have you jumping considerably higher than your current best.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Linkedin
Share On Pinterest
Share On Youtube
Posted In:  Vertical
  • When I initially commented I clicked the “Notify me when new comments are added” checkbox
    and now each time a comment is added I get
    four e-mails with the same comment. Is there any way
    you can remove me from that service? Appreciate it!

    View Comment
  • At this time it looks like WordPress is the best blogging platform out
    there right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you’re using on your blog?

    View Comment
  • No matter if some one searches for his required thing, so he/she
    needs to be available that in detail, so that thing
    is maintained over here.

    View Comment
  • My spouse and I stumbled over here by a different website and
    thought I should check things out. I like what I see so i am just
    following you. Look forward to exploring your web page yet again.

    View Comment
  • Hello There. I discovered your blog using msn. That is a very well written article.
    I will make sure to bookmark it and return to learn more of your useful info.

    Thanks for the post. I’ll definitely comeback.

    View Comment
  • I was wondering if you ever considered changing the page layout of your site?

    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.

    But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people
    could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot
    of text for only having 1 or two pictures. Maybe you could space
    it out better?

    View Comment
  • I like it whenever people get together and share thoughts.

    Great site, stick with it!

    View Comment
  • It’s truly a nice and helpful piece of information.
    I’m satisfied that you simply shared this helpful information with us.
    Please keep us informed like this. Thank you for

    View Comment
  • I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice, keep
    it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your site to come back in the future.

    View Comment
  • I’ve read several just right stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for
    revisiting. I surprise how much effort you set to create this kind
    of great informative site.

    View Comment
  • These are really wonderful ideas in on the topic of blogging.
    You have touched some fastidious points here.
    Any way keep up wrinting.

    View Comment
  • Hi! I’ve been reading your weblog for a while now and
    finally got the bravery to go ahead and give you a
    shout out from Austin Tx! Just wanted to tell you
    keep up the fantastic job!

    View Comment
  • I used to be able to find good info from your articles.

    View Comment
  • A person necessarily assist to make critically articles I’d state.
    This is the very first time I frequented your web page and so
    far? I surprised with the analysis you made to make this
    particular post amazing. Wonderful job!

    View Comment
  • It’s in reality a nice and helpful piece of information.
    I’m glad that you shared this useful info with us.
    Please stay us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

    View Comment
  • You really make it seem really easy together with your
    presentation however I find this topic to be actually one thing that I feel I would
    by no means understand. It sort of feels too complicated and very
    extensive for me. I am having a look ahead for your subsequent publish, I will try to get the hold of it!

    View Comment
  • I don’t even know how I ended up here, but I thought this post was great.
    I don’t know who you are but definitely you’re going to a
    famous blogger if you are not already 😉 Cheers!

    View Comment
  • It’s fantastic that you are getting ideas from this post as well as from
    our discussion made at this time.

    View Comment
  • Hi, I do think this is an excellent web site. I stumbledupon it 😉 I
    will return yet again since I saved as a favorite it.

    Money and freedom is the greatest way to change, may you be
    rich and continue to help others.

    View Comment
  • Thank you, I have just been looking for info
    approximately this subject for ages and yours is the greatest I’ve
    discovered till now. But, what concerning the bottom
    line? Are you certain concerning the supply?

    View Comment
  • Great blog here! Also your website loads up fast!
    What web host are you using? Can I get your affiliate link to your host?
    I wish my site loaded up as quickly as yours lol

    View Comment
  • Wow, amazing weblog layout! How long have you ever been blogging for?
    you made running a blog look easy. The entire look
    of your website is fantastic, as neatly as the content material!

    View Comment
  • Hello everyone, it’s my first pay a quick visit at this site,
    and piece of writing is truly fruitful in favor of me, keep up posting such articles.

    View Comment
  • Hi there great website! Does running a blog similar to this
    require a lot of work? I have no expertise in coding but I had been hoping to start my
    own blog soon. Anyhow, should you have any suggestions or tips
    for new blog owners please share. I know this is off
    subject nevertheless I simply had to ask. Kudos!

    View Comment
  • I have been surfing online more than 3 hours today, yet I never found any interesting
    article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me.
    Personally, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the net will be much more useful than ever before.

    View Comment
  • Excellent way of describing, and pleasant piece of writing to obtain data concerning my presentation topic, which i am going to
    present in university.

    View Comment
  • hello there and thank you for your information – I have definitely picked up something new from right here.
    I did however expertise several technical points using this web site, since I experienced to reload the site
    a lot of times previous to I could get it to load properly.
    I had been wondering if your web host is OK? Not that I am complaining, but slow loading instances times will sometimes affect your
    placement in google and could damage your high quality score if ads
    and marketing with Adwords. Anyway I’m adding this RSS to
    my email and can look out for a lot more of your respective
    interesting content. Ensure that you update this again soon.

    View Comment
  • Wow that was odd. I just wrote an very long comment but after I clicked
    submit my comment didn’t show up. Grrrr… well I’m not writing all that over again. Anyhow,
    just wanted to say great blog!

    View Comment
  • It’s an remarkable article in support of all the online viewers; they will obtain benefit from it I am sure.

    View Comment
  • Heya i’m for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It truly useful & it helped
    me out much. I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me.

    View Comment
  • Please let me know if you’re looking for
    a article author for your site. You have some really
    good articles and I think I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love to write some articles for your blog
    in exchange for a link back to mine. Please send
    me an e-mail if interested. Many thanks!

    View Comment
  • Hey there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The text in your post
    seem to be running off the screen in Safari.
    I’m not sure if this is a formatting issue or something to do with
    web browser compatibility but I thought I’d post to let you know.
    The layout look great though! Hope you get the problem fixed soon. Cheers

    View Comment
  • You really make it seem so easy with your presentation however I find this matter to be really one thing that
    I believe I’d by no means understand. It sort of feels
    too complex and very large for me. I’m looking ahead for your subsequent put up, I
    will attempt to get the hold of it!

    View Comment
  • Saved as a favorite, I like your web site!

    View Comment
  • Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published.

    Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

    Share On Facebook
    Share On Twitter
    Share On Linkedin
    Share On Pinterest
    Share On Youtube