Have you got an important game in a week from now? Maybe you’ve got tryouts or a big volleyball tournament starting in a week.
Whatever it is you’re preparing for, if you need to be jumping your highest in about a week from now, I’m about to explain to you how to pull it off.
The key to jumping higher in a week is to reduce overall training volume to maximize recovery and to shift the training focus to highly reactive movements such as plyometrics while incorporating complex training.
Being able to peak your vertical jump before an important event is extremely useful as when you’re jumping your highest, you’re also running your fastest. You’re simply a better overall athlete.
Week Overview For Peaking Your Vertical
Here’s a rough overview of how I’d peak an athlete’s vertical jump where we want them jumping as high as possible come Sunday.
|Warm Up||Rest||Warm Up||Warm Up||Warm Up||Warm Up|
|Moderate Plyometrics Volume||High Plyometrics Volume||High Plyometrics Volume||Low Plyometrics Volume||Low Plyometrics Volume|
|Moderate Power Volume||Complex Training||Complex Training||Rest||Rest|
|High & Heavy Strength Volume||Rest||Rest|
Let’s break it down in a little more detail so you can understand why I’ve programmed the week this way.
- Monday – This day is going to be our final proper strength session where we’re lifting some really heavy weights. We’re talking sets of three reps on all of our big lifts like the back squat, smith machine Bulgarian split squat, hip thrusts, etc. Of course we start the session out with our plyometrics first, and then we’ll do a few power movements before finishing with this strength work. This is very typical of a workout where you’re incorporating all three kinds of exercises (plyos, power, strength).
- Tuesday – Honestly you could just rest for the remainder of the week and probably would be in excellent shape on Sunday. Rest is key. How much rest you need in a peak week will depend on how hard you’ve been training and for how long. For some athletes I’d have them rest 4-5 days and treat this as a bit of a deload week. For others who are recovering reasonably well, we’ll stick with 1-2 rest days since we’re tapering the training volume down a lot anyway.
- Wednesday – The focus for this workout is to get a ton of jumps in but to incorporate complex training and to focus on potentiating our jump work. This involves doing strength and power exercises followed immediately by a dynamic or plyometric movement, the goal of which is to trick our CNS into performing the plyometric movement more efficiently.
- Thursday – More of the same today. Tons of jumping and lots of post-activation potentiation work.
- Friday – Really starting to taper down the overall volume now. We’re basically treating this day as a rest day except we’ll do maybe 20 jumps total and then take it easy.
- Saturday – Exact same as Friday. Some high effort jumps but the primary focus is resting.
- Sunday – By now you should be able to jump as high as you possibly can at this point in time.
Understand Your Situation
The above schedule is for someone who has absolutely no other commitments as far as physical activity goes, but has been training hard for the past 4-5 weeks. For most people, this won’t be the case.
Let’s say you’ve got a basketball final coming up in a week. Chances are if you’ve got a grand final on the weekend that you’re going to be participating in some sort of training session throughout the week. Likely multiple. If this is the case, you have to remove a ton of the above training volume because the priority is recovery.
The Secret Ingredient Is Rest!
There’s a reason why powerlifters take it easy the week before a meet. The same goes for arm wrestlers who want to be their strongest for a match – typically they just rest for a good week prior.
If you’re a basketballer or volleyballer and you want to be jumping your highest in a week from now, the single best thing you can do is rest. Especially if you’ve been training hard up until this point.
Give your body a chance to heal. Give your adrenal glands and endocrine system a chance to rest. Let your nervous system recuperate.
Do plenty of foam rolling, get a massage or two, eat well, and nail your sleep every night. Even if you only do those things, you’re going to see really great results.
Peaking Your Vertical Jump
Let’s take a look at some of the general principles you need to be aware of if you’re looking to peak your vertical jump in the near term.
Heavy Plyometric Training Focus
The focus should always be on doing as much jumping as possible when we’re on the home stretch. The concept of specificity plays a large role when we’re so close to our objective. If you’ve got a big volleyball tryout in a week, where they’ll be testing your spike reach, it makes a lot more sense to be doing a ton of running vertical jumps than it does heavy back squats.
Usually with advanced jump athletes we’ll have a long-term approach to training that’ll involve several phases. We’ll start with several weeks of hypertrophy work to get bigger and put some meat on our bones. We’ll follow that with 4-6 weeks of a strength phase which is where we’re trying to become as strong as humanly possible.
After that we’ll begin working on rate of force development with a power phase. And finally we’ll reach the plyometrics phase which is where we’re mainly concerned with doing highly explosive movements to train our CNS and muscles to use those strength gains in the sport specific movement of the vertical jump.
Naturally, if you’re a week out from needing to jump your highest, you’re automatically in that reactivity phase where your primary focus is jumping tons and increasing your springiness as much as possible.
Complex Training & Post-Activation Potentiation
Complex vertical jump training is just stacking those aforementioned plyometrics with strength or power exercises.
An example would be performing a set of really heavy back squats, resting for a few minutes, and then performing a set of maximum vertical jump attempts. This is called post-activation potentiation and is one of the most effective ways to train your nervous system to become more efficient at jumping.
In a typical workout if we were to train strength, power, and reactivity all on the same day, we’d start out with the plyos, follow it by the power work, and then finish off with the strength training. But when we’re doing complex training, it requires us to marry these exercises together so we’ll be frequently switching back and forth from reactivity and strength/power throughout the session.
Leverage Adrenaline To Excite CNS
Have you ever wondered why you seem to jump your highest in the warm up before a massive final? The stands are packed, the atmosphere is electric, and you’re really fired up.
Adrenaline is one factor that will increase your vertical jump immediately regardless of how well you’ve prepared. I mentioned earlier the importance of rest and how you want to avoid adrenal fatigue so that you can be as fired up as possible when it comes game day.
If I’m about to attempt a personal record deadlift 1RM, there is no chance in hell I’m making that lift without the right music playing. I even have a separate playlist for 1RM attempts! I’ve tried maxing out with no music in the past when my headphones were broken and I couldn’t even get the bar off the floor!
The same thing goes for vertical jump testing. If you’re about to approach that vertec in a dead quiet gym with no one around, you’re simply not going to jump as high as you would if Through Fire & The Flames was blaring through the speakers and your entire team was hyping you up!
Take a look at this environment for some inspiration and try to recreate a similar setting when you need to perform at your best.
Warm Up Properly
Warming up prior to a max vertical jump test is really important and people often make several critical mistakes.
You absolutely must avoid static stretching for any period of time over thirty seconds. Static stretching reduces muscle stiffness and it’s that stiffness that allows us to generate force. A dynamic warm up is far superior.
But the best possible warm up involves using a dynamic warm up combined with some weighted jump work for the potentiation benefits.
Be sure to check out my full article on how to warm up to maximize your vertical jump.
In a nutshell, the best thing you can do to peak your vertical jump is allow your body to rest. Once you understand that, you can optimize your training to squeeze out some extra inches by including complex training while focusing primarily on plyometrics and explosive movements.