Nathanael Morton Jump Program Review Summary
Nathanael Morton Jump Program
Having personally combed through each of Nathanael Morton's jump programs, it's pretty clear to me that Nathanael knows his stuff...
Although the programs aren't perfect, they're still a fantastic, budget-friendly option for anyone looking to jump higher.
Smart programming with adequate rest and recovery.
Quick and efficient workouts.
Decent exercise variety.
Some of the more affordable programs on the market.
Does a decent job of explaining why we’re doing certain exercises.
Weight training programs don’t include upper body exercises – you’re forced to spend an extra $75 on a separate upper body program.
Submaximal jump session format is super confusing and potentially ineffective.
Formatting of program documents could be improved.
Nathanael Morton’s jump programs are a decent overall option for athletes of all levels participating in a variety of sports.
Nathanael Morton’s Jump Programs – Are They Any Good?
I recently combed through each of Nathanael Morton’s vertical jump programs to see just how good they really are.
I analyzed each program from top to bottom, scrutinizing the programming and periodization, information presentation, and how each program relates to one another.
Before I get into Nathanael’s programs, be sure to check out my full list of the best vertical jump programs of 2023.
I’ve made a series of notes about each of his programs below.
Beyond The Rim 1 (Bodyweight) Program Review
Beyond The Rim 1 is a 20 week bodyweight vertical jump program which I believe is Nathanael Morton’s best program – only you can no longer order it as the sales page doesn’t exist on his website…
While it’s a bodyweight program, Nathanael highly recommends having access to some dumbbells, resistance bands, some chairs/boxes, and a sled if possible.
You’ll also really benefit from having access to a wide open field or basketball court.
Beyond The Rim 1 Has A Solid Structure
This is a 6 day per week program and the structure is as follows.
Each of the workouts in this program are quite quick to complete compared to other programs (I’m looking at you Bounce Kit), so it’s not going to take all day to get through.
The program starts out gradually and builds in difficulty, which is great for athletes of all levels.
Phase Zero Focuses On Knee Health
One cool thing about BTR1 is the 4 week ‘Phase Zero’ which aims at helping you develop knee health so that your joints are ready to take on a full jump program.
This is a unique feature of this program and I believe it is super valuable.
I have no idea why you can no longer purchase the BTR1 program…
Format Is Easy To Understand
The layout of the program is pretty easy to understand, even though it’s just a PDF eBook.
Each of the exercises are hyperlinked to video demonstrations that Nathanael (or someone else) has recorded, so it’s easy to see how to perform each movement.
As you can see, each workout is fairly quick to get through, which is part of Nathanael’s “microdosing” approach which aims at doing the minimum amount of work possible to drive the adaptations we’re looking for.
I’m a big fan of this and I think many programs incorporate too much volume.
Some Exercises Are Too Difficult
One negative of Beyond The Rim 1 is that he uses exercises like pistol squats, which the overwhelming majority of athletes (especially ones doing a bodyweight course) won’t be strong enough to do.
This would be okay if he suggested alternative exercises, but none are supplied.
Upper Body Exercises Included!
This program is the only BTR program which includes upper body exercises baked into it.
BTR2 and 3 don’t include upper body exercises and so Nathanael is essentially forcing you to purchase the Upper Body Athlete program to go alongside it, if you want a comprehensive full body training program.
I suspect this is the reason you can no longer buy the BTR1 program – because he’d rather you spent twice as much money on BTR2/3 and the accompanying Upper Body Athlete program.
Obviously I could be wrong about this, but I can’t see why else he’d remove this program from the site.
Duration Is Too Long & Causes Conflicts With Sport
I think 20 weeks is an unnecessarily long duration as this will cause conflicts with peoples’ sporting seasons, forcing them to spend twice as much money to purchase the Beyond The Rim (In Season) program, just to get some advice on how to manage training during the season.
Understanding how to modify a training program so that you aren’t overtraining during a grueling season is extremely important and there’s absolutely no information about how to do this in the BTR1 program.
If you buy BTR1 and BTR (In Season) you’ll end up paying closer to $150, which then makes this quite an expensive overall choice of jump program(s).
The Vert Code program by PJF Performance has a more detailed guide on managing training in-season and is only $85 and I think this is a much better choice than buying the BTRIS + BTR1 combo.
Solid Programming Overall
As a vertical jump coach, Nathanael clearly understands the components necessary to craft a well designed program.
The exercises are done in the correct order, deload periods are smartly placed, and it progresses over time in a smart way.
Beyond The Rim 2 (Weight Training Edition) Program Review
Beyond The Rim 2 is the next progression from the bodyweight program and now requires a weight room to complete.
While weights are included in this program, upper body training has been stripped out of it, which I can’t make sense of…
I think Nathanael does this deliberately to encourage you to spend more money on the Upper Body Athlete program, which I’m not a huge fan of.
This is a 22 week program that consists of 6 days training per week, with alternating major and minor workouts…
This setup is quite nice as you’re only really doing 3 difficult workouts per week. The minor workouts are effectively glorified active recovery days.
Having access to the following equipment is highly recommended for the best results.
Tons of Information! Too Much Info!?
Nathanael crams so much info into his programs, that you’ll find yourself scrolling through the document for 40-50 pages before you even get to the workouts!
Some of this info pertains to the principles of vertical jump training, but most of it is off topic.
There’s a full nutrition guide as well as some stuff on inspiration and books to read, which I don’t think need to be included in the program itself (could at least be included at the end as part of an index).
The vertical jump program which does the best job of structuring and organizing the information is the Vert Code programs by PJF Performance…
Nath, if you’re reading this, I’d suggest studying the way information is presented in Vert Code/VCE and look to emulate it in your own products!
In the PJF programs, each of the resources are filed away in a separate (yet easily accessible) folder, as opposed to clogging up the program itself.
1RM Testing Days
One interesting thing about BTR2 and 3 is that they include 1 rep max testing days, usually preceding a deload week.
I think this is somewhat unnecessary, but I actually don’t mind it…
It’s cool to be able to see tangible progress on important metrics (like limit strength) throughout a long program.
Week 8 sees us testing our deadlift 1RM and in week 15 we do our back squat 1RM.
Nath doesn’t really explain why we’re doing this testing or how important it is. In fact we don’t even do a single deadlift for the next 6 weeks after testing our 1RM, so how important is it really?
I think Nathanael should clearly state that 1RM testing is completely optional and give instructions on what to do if you choose not to do this.
Logical Program Progression
Towards the end of the program, we’re doing more concentric focused movements aimed at converting our newfound strength gains into vertical explosiveness.
This means doing more exercises like band accelerated vertical jumps, trap bar deadlifts, and power cleans.
This isn’t exactly rocket science, but it’s good to see thoughtful overall program design.
No Vertical Test!?
So we finally make it to week 22 and what do we do? You would think we’d be testing our vertical around this point to see how much progress we’ve made!
Instead, Nathanael has us resting as well as testing our deadlift and back squat 1RMs again…
It kind of goes without saying that you’d test your max vertical jumps after the program’s finished, but it’s not written in here anywhere.
Decent Program Overall
Aside from Nathanael’s decision to not include upper body training in this program, I think Beyond The Rim 2 is a very solid vertical jump program and a great option for anyone with gym access.
It’s a very logical next step after the bodyweight program and I think you would likely make fantastic progress if you did BTR1+2 over the course of a year.
Beyond The Rim 3 Program Review
This program goes for half a year in duration and unfortunately there’s no information on the sales page as to who it’s for or how it differs from the BTR2 program.
It simply says ‘this program should be done after BTR2’.
Having read through the program, the BTR3 program follows the exact same format as the BTR2 program, only the exercises are a little more advanced.
There’s absolutely no mucking around in this program as we dive straight into some advanced movements on day 1…
Needless to say, this is not a super beginner friendly program.
There’s more giant sets and French contrast training in this program and you can tell that this program is targeted more towards athletes who have already been training for a while (i.e. having done BTR1/2).
Nathanael reaches deep into his bag of tricks for this program and uses some pretty advanced programming.
Joint-Angle Specific Training
One of the techniques you’ll see a lot of focus on in this program is joint-angle specific training, which sees us lifting in a highly jump specific manner.
You also see a ton of this in the Vert Code programs, but rarely in many of the other jump programs, which tells me NM really knows his stuff!
Lacks Alternative Exercises & Original Exercise Demos
Would be nice to see some alternative options for exercises like band accelerated vertical jumps if you don’t have a power rack or anywhere to perform these.
It also seems as though Nathanael got a little bored of recording his own video demonstrations during this BTR3 program as we’re starting to see many exercises link to random videos on YouTube.
This is problematic because if the owner of those videos deletes them or makes them private, you’ll have to hunt around for demos and hope that the video you find does a decent job of explaining the movement.
No Upper Body
We’re still not seeing any upper body exercises in this program which I think is pretty bad, considering it’s a half-year long program.
You’ll end up looking like this guy if you just do BTR2+3 for a year…
Neither of the sales pages for BTR2/3 tell you that upper body training is not included in the program, nor do they even suggest you should pair them with the Upper Body Athlete programs.
This is pretty poor form in my opinion.
If you’re not going to provide upper body training, at least be up front about that in the description of the product!
If you actually want a full workout program which includes lower and upper body training, you need to purchase Upper Body Athlete 3 which is the sister program for BTR3.
I don’t have issue with doing things this way, but the sales copy needs to be more clear about what you do and don’t get in each program.
Beyond The Rim (In Season) Program Review
Knowing how to balance your vertical jump training with a full basketball/volleyball/other season is really difficult and most athletes end up massively overdoing it.
Most athletes exist in a constant state of fatigue and aren’t jumping anywhere near as high as they should be because they’re overtraining without even knowing it.
There is a huge need for athletes to understand how to get this right, especially when we’re talking about 20+ week vertical jump programs that are bound to conflict with other sporting commitments.
Some Good Information But Misses Certain Important Concepts
Nathanael does a solid job of explaining what things we need to do differently in-season, such as reducing plyometric volume and focusing primarily on high intensity strength training.
I would however have liked to see him discuss the value of heavily focusing on concentric movements, particularly on game day.
Concentric movements tend to do significantly less damage to our muscle tissue but still stimulate our central nervous system just enough for us to maintain/increase strength…
Instead he uses movements like RDLs and SL RDLs which are super eccentrically taxing… I think his exercise selection could be improved somewhat.
While Nath does a good job of cutting out extensive plyometrics, and including some high intensity strength work, he seems to have forgotten to include any ‘max intent plyometrics’.
Something like the occasional box jump would be FANTASTIC as it’s a purely concentric movement, low impact, yet still checks the box in terms of ‘max intent plyos’.
Even just a few depth jumps scattered throughout the program would help us cover all our bases here!
Program Includes Upper Body Movements
Interestingly, Nathanael has decided to include upper body stuff in this program, despite not doing so in his BTR2/3 programs.
Intensity Is Too Low?
I could be wrong about this, but I don’t see the point in doing 5×3 reps at 50% 1RM…
The idea of strength training in-season is for us to maintain high intensity while keeping the volume low.
Nath prescribes back squats varying in intensity from 50%-65% of 1RM, and I think this is simply not going to accomplish much.
I would much rather see us lifting at closer to 65-75% 1RM here in order to drive the strength adaptations we’re after.
Is An Entire Program Really Necessary?
I think a simple guide on in-season training would have been sufficient, as opposed to a full ~20 week program.
Nathanael already has 3 other vertical jump training programs that span for 20+ weeks, so are you supposed to just stop in the middle of BTR2/3 when your season starts and switch over to the BTRIS program?
It would make a lot more sense to simply provide a list of principles on how to modify your existing program to ensure you get through your season without your knees turning to dust!
The PJF Performance Vert Code programs do a great job of summarizing everything you need to know about jump training in-season in a single 15 minute video.
It’s also quite a bit more comprehensive than the principles outlined by Nath at the start of the BTRIS program too.
Indestructible Knees Program Review
I could tell from Phase 0 of Beyond The Rim 1 that Nathanael knows his stuff when it comes to knee health.
Clearly a disciple of Ben Patrick, Nathanael Morton has put together some great information regarding reducing and eliminating knee pain.
It’s a 5 phase program which requires you to pass a knee ability test in order to progress from one phase to the next one.
This program is well structured and would be a great starting point for anyone suffering with patellar tendinitis.
I wonder if the Beyond The Rim 1 program was discontinued because it includes a similar knee strengthening program that NM has essentially transferred into its own program?
What I Liked About Nathanael Morton’s Jump Programs
There’s plenty to like about Nathanael Morton’s jump programs, so let’s go through some of the highlights.
Good Focus On Rest & Recovery
Compared to some other programs on the market that tend to overdo it, Nath incorporates a good amount amount of rest, recovery, and prehab work.
He understands the importance of deload periods and encourages you to listen to your body.
Appropriate Amount of Speed, Agility, & Quickness
These programs have, I believe, the perfect amount of speed/quickness/agility training baked into them.
Some programs incorporate virtually none of this type of training (Bounce Kit) and others seemingly overdo it (Vert Code).
I think the BTR programs absolutely nailed it on this front!
Quick & Efficient Workouts
This is my favorite thing about Nathanael Morton’s jump programs – they’re very deliberate, to the point, and don’t take all day to complete.
The primary exercises he chooses are so effective that you don’t need a whole lot of supplementary exercises that cause your workouts to drag on forever.
If you can get in and complete a fantastic workout in just 40 minutes, this allows you to shift into recovery mode faster than someone who’s training for 90+ minutes per day.
He Has You Practice Jumping Off Of ALL Approaches
Along with the Vert Code programs, Nathanael Morton’s programs also encourage you to actively practice jumping from both the left/right and right/left approach.
NM’s programs also include single leg approaches which is obviously beneficial for basketball, but perhaps not completely necessary for all athletes (volleyballers specifically).
Many jumping athletes have horrific muscle imbalances – so putting a focus on balancing out not just our strength work through unilateral training, but also our plyometric/jump work is really smart.
What I Disliked About Nathanael Morton’s Jump Programs
There’s a few things about the Nathanael Morton jump programs I personally wasn’t a fan of…
Jump Sessions Are Super Confusing & Potentially Ineffective
About once a week, Nathanael prescribes a “jump session” which involves lots of jumping at varying levels of intensity…
The format he’s used in the program is very confusing and there’s several comments on the demonstration video from people who are also confused.
Formatting aside, I also don’t see why we’re being told to jump at 50% of our maximum. This seems extremely counterintuitive and I would love to hear NM’s explanation for this.
The first jump session where we’re encouraged to jump at 100% intensity is in week 19!
If we want to get better at jumping really high, we should practice jumping really high, not at 50% or 75% of our max.
Jumping high is all about neural adaptation where we need to force our body to recruit motor units quickly.
I’m not aware of any literature that suggests submaximal jumping would better accomplish the adaptation we’re looking for here.
There’s plenty of opportunity for rest and recovery in NM’s programs, so it’s not as though weekly jump sessions at max intensity would be overdoing it.
Formatting Of Document, Namely Text
I don’t know why Nathanael thought it would be a good idea to write in all caps for the BTR3 program, but it’s seriously difficult to read!
Obviously this is a pretty small criticism, but it would be an easy improvement if it were fixed.
Some Missing Links & Lack Of Personalized Video Demos
Some of the video demonstration hyperlinks are missing throughout each of the programs, which means you have to find demos yourself.
People will often demonstrate exercises in different ways and it’ll be difficult to know exactly what the best way to perform a jump-related movement is without someone telling you directly.
Depth jumps, for instance, can be performed multiple ways and people often don’t explain which way is optimal for which types of athletes.
Some videos linked to random YouTube videos of other people doing demonstrations which will eventually lead to dead links from content being deleted.
Missing Some Information & Context
The BTR3 program has almost no information in it whatsoever.
It jumps right into the Day 1 exercises without giving any context for why the program exists or what to expect.
The BTR1 and 2 programs had 40 pages of superfluous content and the BTR3 program was completely void of any additional information…
What if someone buys the BTR3 program exclusively? They have no context for what’s going on.
More information is needed on each of the sales pages.
Who Is Nathanael Morton?
Nathanael Morton is a vertical jump coach who trains athletes to jump higher.
It’s quite clear to me that Nathanael is up there as one of the more knowledgeable coaches when it comes to jump training, not far behind guys like Paul Fabritz, John Evans, and Chris Barnard.
I’m a big fan of Nathanael’s eagerness to learn and grow as a coach and I think he’s definitely established himself as an authority in the vertical jump training space.
I would rather buy a vertical jump program from a coach like Nathanael who has clearly demonstrated a deep knowledge of the science of vertical jump training, as opposed to athletes with freaky vertical jumps like The Lost Breed who lack the skills to impart their knowledge onto others.
How Does Nathanael Morton’s Jump Programs Compare To Other Vertical Jump Programs?
I believe Nathanael’s programs are decent overall options on the current market.
They’re slightly more expensive than I would like at $75 and it seems as though you’re expected to buy 2 programs to get access to upper body training…
Although I do believe there are better options on the market, such as the Vert Code programs by PJF Performance, Jump Manual, as well as the coaching from THP Strength and Overtime Athletes, Nathanael Morton’s BTR1/2 programs are right up there with the next best options.
Who Should Do Nathanael Morton’s Jump Programs?
Since Nathanael does a pretty good job of explaining why we’re doing things a certain way, I think he’s a solid option for beginners who have little to no experience with jump training.
If you’re just getting into lifting and/or vertical jump training, I think Nathanael’s programs are a good match – although it’s a shame you can no longer buy the BTR1 bodyweight program outright…
The BTR1/2 programs have tons of theoretical information in them that’ll help educate you about the principles involved in jumping higher and becoming a better athlete.
For this reason you might be better off getting the Vert Code bodyweight program and then switching to BTR2 once you’ve built that foundation and are ready to hit the weight room, should you choose not to do Vert Code Elite.
The PJF Performance programs, despite being quite advanced, are also extremely beginner friendly.
Basketballers are of course going to be a good fit for Nathanael Morton’s programs, but I think they’re even better suited to go with any of the PJF programs, namely the Mac McClung Jump Program as it’s super specific to that sport.
If you’re a volleyballer or track and field athlete, I think NM is a really good fit. There’s a good amount of unilateral jumping incorporated into NM’s jump sessions which will benefit athletes favoring the single leg jumping technique.
What’s The Verdict?
Overall I was pretty impressed with Nathanael Morton’s vertical jump programs and I strongly recommend the BTR1/2 programs.
Presentation is a little rough around the edges (compared to PJF) but still significantly better than the old school programs.
If you end up going with any of Nathanael’s programs, you likely won’t be disappointed.
Nathanael Morton Jump Program FAQ
As I start to see more questions being asked about Nathanael Morton’s jump programs, I’ll be updating this FAQ section.
Does Nathanael Morton Offer Refunds?
Nathanael offers a 30 day money back, no questions asked, guarantee on his vertical jump programs.