Note: The main parts of each of these illustrated answers have been extracted from the BoingVERT Philosophy Manual to a certain degree. They were then elaborated on as deemed necessary to further highlight our stance based on the existing proven scientific literature.
1. Can BoingVERT be done in season?
The BoingVERT Jump System could theoretically be used when an athlete is in-season. However, it may need to be modified slightly to ensure optimal recovery. This is due to the amount of jumping and overall stress that the athlete is likely to endure in both practices as well as during his/her athletic events. In addition, we must remember that the main goal of an in-season training program is to maintain one’s current level of physical prowess due to the nature of the goals of the season.Thus, changes to the overall training scheme (as far as the training goal is concerned) and acute program design variables (exercise choice, volume, intensity, etc.) should take place. Some phases such as the GPP, Force Absorption, and even the Acceleration Phase can be completed to a T as long as the athlete is feeling as though he/she can handle it. We must remember that at all times the working effect/movement pattern for an athlete’s specific jumping tasks are constantly changing. Thus, if the athlete is not performing deliberate and focused work on his/her jumping form and movement execution then different portions of the form/technique will begin to suffer and at the very least become suboptimal (due to movement compensations that will occur when playing and not controlling for specific tendencies). However, it’s important in-season (as it is at anytime really) to keep tabs on one’s self and not do too much. That point is going to be different for everyone based on individuality and one’s current adaptation reserves.All in all, an athlete would rather err on the side of caution in these situations and do less rather than more. That way, his/her body will have the ability to not only adapt and compensate to the stress of the training but also the practices and games he/she is participating in. Thus, we would suggest possibly decreasing the overall workload slightly for most athletes who are in-season. This could be done in either the # of sets that one performs of each exercise or changing the training frequency (possibly dropping a day from the training week which is especially necessary if the athlete is playing in 2-3 games in a week). In addition, we would also drop the use of the Depth Jumps in the Reactive Ability Phase. This exercise is extremely powerful but usually causes too great of neuromuscular stress to adapt properly to the stressors while an athlete is concurrently enduring the demands of a season.
2. How quick will I see results and what results can I expect?
Unfortunately, there is no way to answer these questions accurately. The answers simply depend on countless circumstances. Each individual who does the program will display a different rate of change, degree of change, and efficiency in responding to the program. These factors are based on previous training history as well as genetics and work ethic. Thus, some trainees will gain 3 inches while others may gain 10 inches. On a similar note, some who are relatively untrained will achieve results very quick due to their general weakness, training inexperience, and plasticity (i.e. changeability) of their nervous system while others who already possess a higher level of jump mastery will also have a more condensed room for adaptation and will have to be more patient when looking for results. This is simply the proven nature of the beast. In any event, we can tell you this: you WILL gain and get yourself closer to limits of your jump mastery potential. We can make this promise as the program is based on sound scientific evidence proven with every type of population sample. Quite frankly, any program that promises you a certain amount of inches in a given amount of time is simply lying to you in order to get on their good side. They don’t know how much you will gain; just like we don’t. But if you apply yourself with the deliberate action towards concentrated improvement in the BoingVERT program, you will be more than pleasantly surprised by the changes you make and the new heights that you are reaching at the completion of the program.
3. Why are there no weights involved?
One of our objectives with the program was that we wanted it to be able to be completed anywhere around the world even if the athlete didn’t have access to a gym or resistance training equipment. In addition, we believe that coaches and athletes alike often overemphasize the use of traditional strength training while participating in vertical jump enhancement programs. That said a certain degree of force development is obviously needed to reach your maximum jump potential. However, there are some other underlying factors and mechanisms at hand that are of greater importance than simply increasing one’s maximum strength levels. These things include attaining proper neuromuscular characteristics, increasing force absorption and reactive strength capabilities, and finding one’s optimal jumping technique and coordination. On a basic level, increasing strength will impact vertical jump performance positively only to a certain degree. As the athlete moves up the ladder of jump mastery and the movement is of more dynamic nature, maximum force development has less and less to do with the success that the athlete can see. This is why when watching the best jump athletes in the world you wouldn’t be overly impressed by the amount of weight that they can put on their back and squat with. However, you would be highly impressed by how quickly their bodies respond off the ground, how fast their approach and takeoff is, and how perfected their movement patterns are. Because of these things, we elected to focus on the attainment of the other heavy hitting components at hand as it pertains to vertical jump performance. Now, if someone has strength equipment they could look for ways to incorporate it but we doesn’t particularly believe that it is absolutely necessary.
4. Will this help me if I am a one-foot or two-foot jumper?
The program is the most well rounded jump program on the market and attacks all jump styles to a nearly equal degree. That said as we highlighted repeatedly in the BoingVERT Philosophy Manual, different jump-tasks themselves will require different and very specific contributions from each of the muscle groups that are stretching and shortening in order to produce each respective movement action. On this note, definitive studies have taken place at this point, which address the need for different practices to be taken in order to enhance your specific jumping style (i.e. applies not only to bilateral vs. unilateral but also vertical vs. horizontal tasks). This is the widely accepted SAID Principle, which stands for Specific Adaptations to Imposed Demands. In a nutshell, this simply means that our body will only adapt to the stimulus to which we place on it. If we were to only perform exercises in a bilateral fashion, only the bilateral (two-foot) jumpers would see the results. One of the main objectives of the BoingVERT Jump System was to make you a better all-around jumping athlete. This is why you see a wide variety of jumping drills and tasks utilized throughout the program.
5. Can I do any upper-body training while doing BoingVERT?
You can add upper bodywork into your overall training plan if it is something that is important to you and/or your sport requirements. Of course, it has also been shown in research that the upper body and specifically the action of the arms during jump movements can help increase one’s jump performance anywhere from 5 to 20%. Thus, we often get the questions stemming from this: if vertical jump tasks have that much influence from the upper body, then why doesn’t the BoingVERT program give us any prescribed upper bodywork? Well, it’s simple: knowing that many trainees often have a limited amount of time each week to devote to training we decided to focus on the heavy hitting components and mechanisms at hand. There is only so much training time in a given day or week and we elected to directly impact those joint areas and muscle groups that have huge contribution to jump performance enhancement. You might be thinking to yourself that the 20% that we just mentioned above is a lot. And we won’t argue that. That is why when you read through the exercise descriptions or watch the exercise demonstration videos, you can see the emphasis of the arms in all the movements that we have one perform on a regular basis. This type of action should always be emphasized. And simply by focusing on what your arms are doing during these movements, one can see direct carryover into increased jump performance and for most jump-specific athletes this specific emphasis will be enough. However, many trainees are accustomed to performing more traditional bodybuilding-oriented upper body exercises. This is usually not advantageous to jumping performance and can sometimes greatly inhibit jump gains as the body can only possess so much in the form of current adaptation reserves. Again though, if upper body training is important for one’s sport movement actions or if the athlete simply wants to look more jacked while they are in the dance club, then go ahead and curl away. However, if you notice yourself starting to get fatigued from the overall central nervous system stress levels, you would be best advised to drop the extra upper body work first if your true goal is jump performance.
6. Can I add stuff into the program, such as jump rope, extra core workouts, etc...?
You can add those as extras but you must remember that any additional stress that the body isn’t capable of adapting to at the moment will quickly lead you into a stagnant and ultimately overtrained state. In addition, it should be noted that the BoingVERT Jump System is just that; a comprehensive system that is designed to incorporate everything you need in a scientifically-planned and sequential fashion in order to achieve your optimal jump performance mastery. Trust us: just follow what we prescribe and you will have all that you need to be walking the sky.
7. What kind of cardio should I do?
The BoingVERT Jump System advocates against the use of cardiovascular endurance training done concurrently with the training protocols that we advise throughout our program. Cardiovascular training will often drastically hamper the training adaptations that we are attempting to elicit through our specific protocols. However, when jumping high is the ultimate goal, the importance of relative power output cannot be overstated. Thus, achieving an optimal body composition is a key part of ensuring that the highest levels of relative power output can be realized. If you feel as though your body-fat levels are too high (usually above 10-12% for males and 16-18% for females) for optimal jump performance, then you obviously need to burn more calories than you are consuming. An efficient way to do this is through the use of cardiovascular endurance training. But because of the detrimental effects that this type of training can have on vertical jump performance, we will advise you to wait to begin the BoingVERT Jump System until you have lost the desirable amount of body-fat to put you in an appropriate body-fat range. Thus, you should instead use the time until that point to focus on losing your excess body-fat through a combination of cardiovascular endurance training and diet restriction. This is not often the answer that many trainees want to hear (as most often they want to begin the program immediately) but ultimately you will be better served to target these qualities in this sequential manner. When selecting cardiovascular endurance methodologies nearly any mode will count (brisk walking, elliptical, bike, stair-climber etc.) as long as you raise your heart rate above approximately 60-70% of your maximum heart rate for an extended period of time. Upwards of 45-60 minutes on most days of the week is usually sufficient when fat loss this is the desired goal.
8. If I do not have a bench or box, what other things around the house/gym can I use?
Obviously, having boxes/apparatuses of various heights represents the most optimal situation. However, if you don’t have access to benches or boxes to utilize for the Shock-oriented exercises (Altitude Drop and Depth Jump variations) then obviously you will have to improvise and adjust as necessary because we definitely don’t want you missing out on the powerful adaptations you can receive from these types of training tasks. Of course, you could look for different things around your house to utilize; namely chairs, stools, or even tables of various heights or possibly even stairs. As you look for alternatives, be sure to not only use your imagination but also place a premium on the safety of the apparatus. Whatever you use should be stable, sturdy, and balanced as it is worth risking injury to perform the exercise unsafely.In addition, for those types of movements, the BoingVERT Jump System training prescription also calls for the use of an apparatus that you can use to monitor your actual jump performance through the jump heights you are attaining. Of course, many people don’t a Vertec (or similar measuring device). Again, modifications will be needed here, as it is an important variable when we look at the auto-regulation of your specific training program. You can look to jump next to a wall (though not always the best case scenario) or set-up something hanging that you can touch. Don’t forget that even a simple basketball hoop/backboard can easily serve this purpose. If you have absolutely no way of monitoring your optimum height attained after performing depth jumps or other types of exercises then we would suggest you go with the height off of something you can find where you still feel very reactive during the execution (i.e. where you are jumping both high and fast off the ground). However, you should always err on the side of caution in that you would rather be using a box that is too low versus one that is too high as the box that is too high will only require too long of ground contact time, submaximal corresponding jump heights, and ultimately less reactive ability (not to mention that it would also greatly increase the risk of injury).
9. Are there any supplements that you recommend?
To start, we must remember that supplements are made to be just that; additional and extra on top of one’s diet. They are not made to replace any aspect of your nutritional plan. There is simply no single replacement for a solid and well-balanced nutrition plan that focuses on adequate levels of carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and hydration. In addition, it’s worth noting that many supplements have been shown to be nothing more than complete garbage and have zero positive ergogenic effects on the body or its performance. However, a few supplements have been proven to be effective and safe in relevant populations to the individuals likely to participate in this program. That said if you are under the age of 18, you should NOT consume any product like this, as safety and efficacy of these supplements have not been shown in your age group. Overall, any individual considering the use of supplements should speak with their physician or a registered dietitian to see if its use is right for them.The two main supplements that have been proven in scientific research to have ergogenic effects as well as be safe are creatine and caffeine.Creatine is easily the most widely-studied supplement ever on the market. It has been shown to increase muscle mass and strength during bouts of training and reported to improve exercise capacity in high-intensity exercise protocols. With enhanced muscle mass/strength as well as increased exercise capacities also results in increases in overall force production and output, which theoretically could result in greater jump heights and capacity.Caffeine is a naturally derived stimulant that is present in many forms of energy drinks and other supplements (obviously it can be ingested in sodas and coffee drinks, as well). It is clear that caffeine can positively affect body composition and energy expenditure. It also has been shown in research to have some positive effects on some anaerobic training tasks (jumping is anaerobic). It should be noted however that some sport organizations have threshold levels of caffeine in order to pass their doping drug tests so it’s up to the athlete to be knowledgeable about this risk before consumption.
Click on the grasshopper for some more info on jumping.