Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Supplement Craze...sigh.

Great workout this morning at my work gym…man it’s great when you have all these tools at your disposal with no distractions except for the pressure of getting it done in 30 minutes tops before taking a nice cold shower in the locker room and suiting up for work. A great workout and pretty intense that’s for sure. Felt really good though...and I didn't feel up to working out this morning but I did.

Anyway, here’s what’s on my mind this morning…

I always seemed to be intrigued on the benefits of supplements from “Buff Man” magazines…I mean do they truly work? I have a friend who uses some of those weird powder stuff quite a few times…ever heard of NOS? NO Explode? I don’t know…it never really donned to me of any type of benefit – plus they are pretty expensive I understand. $100.00 for a container of powder which may or may not result into any gains whatsoever….Gulp! I don’t know about that. If I were to shell out that much money…1st thing that comes out of my head is diapers and baby milk!!!!!!

I’ve been asked on occasion if I’ve taken supplements. I won’t deny it. I have in the past but nothing in recent memory. Nothing more than a few fat burners in the past and protein powder but that’s about it. I’ve even taken Creatine once many, MANY, MANY years ago where that was the craze in the 90’s and I believe still is into the 2k’s. What is it that makes people buy these things anyway? It has to be aggressive advertising on fitness magazines and people buying into it. But really, it is beyond me.

Let’s not even talk about steroids…

Anyway, I could use that $100 on more important things like gas money these days, paying off a few bills, save up on some nice workout gear…or again – diapers and milk. :)

Anyway, I’m a firm believer now more than ever that we are what we eat. Sounds pretty straightforward doesn’t it? But I think it’s true.

As long as you know what you’re eating – dude, you can be anybody you want. So why the need for supplements when you can get all that from food?

Cavemen were never on supplements but they sure did look ripped didn’t they? So why is the fitness industry making us buy into the supplement business…

Not saying supplements are bad…I'm just one to never be a firm believer of them.

Go natural.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Through the roof...well, not exactly.

Another late blogpost. Anyway, great game tonight at the open gym. 6 on 6 (coed) and had a blast. 5 kills tonight! Whoohoo.

Just got done with icing up the knees and foam some blogging. :)

As I mentioned previously, happy with my jump so far. 26 inches...maybe even higher. Did some plyo's and jump drills at the park today. My knees have been feeling really good but again there have been times when they feel like crap. Been able to do some sprints (aprroximately 50 yards) on the small grass soccer field which was a nice change up for me as it was out in the open on a nice, warm southern california morning.

Took a nap from 1-3 pm. Gave the boys a good tub bath. Then it was volleyball at 6 to 9 pm.

Finally figured out my schedule here and I think it should work.

As far as training goes..I did some TT bodyweight circuits with a 50 lb weighted vest yesterday which had me sweating like a pig. Today it was plyo's and jump training after dropping my kids off to school at the nearby rec. Tested my jump on the 10 foot rim again and just about 2 1/2 inches short from touching the bottom of the rim (the rim is about 2 inches thick from top to bottom.) I am almost there. Slowly but surely...

Playing volleyball tonight there was one play where I hit the ball pretty good that it bounced off the defenders dig (he was in good position to make a great defensive play I might add). Interestingly enough, it went a good 25-30 feet up into the ceiling rafters. But whats funny about this was - the ball never came down as it hit a small bolt in the ceiling and we all just heard nothing but a hissing sound while the ball was stuck in the ceiling. It was a pretty good Tachikara indoor ball too!! I felt sorry for the young girl who owned it as she was nice enough to let us use her ball tonight as the parents were already talking about having to get a new one for her on the sidelines... :(

In this odd case, I guess not everything that goes up...comes down.

Luckily everybody who came to play tonight had our own balls so mine just happened to be the next up. Luckily I brought him home in one piece. :)

As in life...always aim high. Always keep finding ways to reinvent yourself and you just won't lose in fitness, sports and in life. You may feel you've reached certain goals but once you do reach them - don't think about stopping! There will be peaks and valleys...but keep finding other ways to continue moving on.

Who knows...maybe that ball may be flat on the court tomorrow morning for all I know. But that shouldn't stop us from playing!

Til next time!

Train smart....

~ Andy

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Morning Ramblings

After a great workout today...I woke up to look up some very nice before and after pics of some contestants at the 2nd Turbulence Training Contest which you can view by clicking here.

I must say, you will find very inspiring people at the site. The hardwork and the accomplishments they've achieved is something remarkable. These people are very inspiring and the results do show the hard work and effectiveness of the TT programs. I sincerely hope that after their 84 days that their motivation to move on are as strong as ever!

I'm sure it will be!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Progress Report

Ok...2 weeks into my program so far and doing really good. Less soreness to areas I haven't really focused on prior to starting up volleyball again and I'm pretty happy with the progress. What a fun addicting sport volleyball is and it's a great outlet for me other than routine of working out everyday which is a great habit for me.

We are definitely creatures of habit aren't we? :)

What's great about playing a sport of any kind is that your training now becomes more specific to what you want to accomplish: strength, power, flexibility, agility, endurance. Interestingly, I've even been able to do some exercises that prevent injuries while in the game as well...alot of stuff I took for granted. Stretching has definitely given me a new meaning. Being able to feel out some lingering issues I have personally, I've been able to educate myself further that these can be corrected to a certain degree with proper exercises, stretching and adequate rest.

Did a measurement on my vertical the other day and based on what I did after 5 attempts, I gained another inch on my running vertical which is good. So that comes to 26 inches total. Not bad.

Got up at 5:30 this morning. Since yesterday was a day off for me and nothing really scheduled until tomorrow - I did a modified TT home workout of body weight routines and a core training circuit which was pretty good. For intervals I did KB high pulls with KB squats for 6 cycles to finish it off. Finished the entire routine in less than 40 minutes and that was it for that.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Early Morning Gym Crowd vs the Everybody Else Crowd

Late blog post...

It was my turn today to bring the boys to their summer pre-school class today and with the free time I had and with Grandma taking care of the little one - was able to put in a late morning workout at the gym.

I'm a morning guy...I work day shifts, I sleep at night. I'm a morning guy. Now I am one that doesn't believe that working out early in the morning is the best time to workout but it's what works for me and the best time that allows me to really have that time to myself to train without worrying about other things as the day progresses. It's always the first thing I do when I get up (most of the time). It's habit but because of time restraints and schedules, I don't mind doing them late in the morning or early evening for the most part. If at work, I'll even do it on my lunch break when pressed for time.

Now, I normally don't look around my gym to see what's going on but coming in this morning there were three ladies near the vicinity I was working out at and was very impressed with their routines. Saw some hardcore supersetting of upper and lower body and it was very rhytmic and systematic. There were no wasted minutes and the rest periods were just about right. Couldn't help but notice that they had really good form throughout and seemed like they knew what they were doing which was impressive to say the least. Anyway, it seemed like a good 30 minute workout but what shocked me was after such a great workout which I thought was finished - they proceeded on and went to the incline bench and started doing incline barbell presses with no plates supersetted with bench dips. Hey, it's all good and all that but I didn't quite understand the logic of wanting to do this superset when they obviously looked fatigued out as it was.

Working on my military presses at this point in time - I saw a trainer just zoom right past me. Looking at the mirror, I saw one of the girls just barely getting the bar off her chest (I swear - obviously she was preventing if from falling on her for about 5 seconds. Looked like she was force repping here but with no spotter?). Great thing the trainer, who was busy with a client (who apparently had his client do db curls on a BOSU at this time) - had the awareness to run over there in the nic of time. What surprised me was the other 2 girls at this point were chattering with their backs turned and forgot about poor girl #3. I was so impressed with these girls but after seeing this...Mmm...not good.

A couple yards away, there was Mr. Beefcake doing DB Flat bench presses with probably over 100 lb Db's. Who could not have noticed this guy's presence? This guy was ego lifter extraordinaire exhibit A to the highest power. I would see this guy at each of his last repof each set just literally throw the DB's on the floor with total disregard of the safety of himself and other patrons at the gym. I saw him throw DB's almost 3 feet away and rolling even further away from him. What's concerning about it is he looks around all over the place, then bends over to pick them up - with one hand! The back, Big Guy...the back.

Now the guy right behind me. Now again, all this happened within a span of 10 minutes which really surprises me because I never see this with the morning crowd I've been accustomed seeing every morning I work out. Totally different beast's scary. Anyway, this guy was pressing about 105 lbs on the incline BB press bench. No spotter in sight - I see from the mirror the barbell slowly tilting to one side, his arms now shaking here, quickly falling back down to his chest - so I drop my DB's and I help the poor guy re-rack the weight back. I asked him if he was alright and if he needed a spot to let me know - he smiled, said "thank you so much.". Whew. This was another accident waiting to happen. What's equally weird about this is, he takes the weight off of one side and leaves the other plate on the other side and walks away and then goes to the flat bench? I don't get that either.

Bottomline, we all go to the gym to do one thing - better our health, to better our lives. We may see strange things going on in the gym..but respect them regardless. There's no perfect, cookie cutter program for all. Not all goals are the same as others but respect the uniqueness of each individual. What worked for some may not work for all. Always lend a hand when needed and as much as I saw alot of motivation from them I still reserve some respect for them altogether for their desire to really push the ticket: but always know your limits and always practice safety. There's nothing wrong with wanting to better themselves via working out...but always practice safety.

Anyway, took a nap in the afternoon, got up at 5pm - ran 2 miles on the treadmill and some pick up volleyball to end the day. Fun game today...but I'm beat.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Attention: Home Gym Enthusiasts!

Working on a home gym is a work in progress for me. So about a month ago I found an interesting link on home gym creation on the web. There’s a very nice gentleman named Joe Stankowski who created a website called . This guy is a personal adviser for Men’s Fitness magazine and is a really great guy.

Want to save some money and make your own home gym with the least amount of financial means possible? Check out the site!! This guy’s got great tips and is a must read! It’s got great stuff for the Home Gym enthusiast and great for people who just believe in low budget, high effect approach to training.

Happy reading!

Something is always better than nothing at all.

Man...I love circuits but I don't know about this particular workout this was a weird one. It was amusing to say the least. As I'm still working on reading up on my program here and typing it up as a hand carry guide soon - I'm still managing to get routines in regardless.

Having had done some extra cardio work yesterday evening after a pretty good Magic 50routine by Ross Enamait that morning -and with no plans of doing a workout today per se...I got up late this morning for work just a bit cob webbed and short on time. So I sipped a little coffee this morning to get me up (don't do this normally) and thought of a quick body weight circuit (I love circuits).

So I put the bad tasting coffee down, went upstairs and pulled this circuit off (no warm up. My cheap home made coffee took care of that for me...hahaha!):

4 circuits
Chin ups x 8
Decline Push ups x 15
Jumping jacks x 15
2 handed 35lb KB swings x 10
verry Low Step ups on an 8 inch stool (8/side)
Last 2 circuits: added 35 lb kb rows (8/side)
Mountain climbers/Cross body mountain climbers/Bicycle crunches/Hip Thrusts (10/10/10/10)

Whoa...this workout was done in less than 12 minutes I think. I didn't have a timer and solely based on reps but I knew I started this at around 5:50 this morning and ended at 6 am or a little after. Hardly any rest periods really yet it felt really good. Took a shower and it was off to work.


Sunday, July 20, 2008


Again, if you want to lose the fat, look good for the summer and enjoy your life again - you have to check out Craig Ballantyne’s Turbulence Training website by clicking here. I owe Craig a lot for all that he’s done and I hope if anyone else is reading this to give his program a shot. You’ve got nothing to lose but that unwanted belly fat. Plus they are safe and effective too. Check it out and tell him I sent you!

Anyway, took Saturday as a rest and recovery day. Last week’s workouts involved a lot of squats, power snatching and split jerk exercises, core training...and plenty of volleyball all last week. Very intense but not very regimented training in the weight room but the focus here was getting leg strength, overall explosiveness and power so it did require longer rests. I’ll admit, my knees have been so-so here so as I’m giving them time to heal up (I honestly think it’s patellar tendonitis. Haven’t had formal diagnostic testing to rule this out but based on what some Doctors with whom I work with - and them manipulating it, it looks to be just that apparently)...but as the knees are slowly becoming better and the pain more tolerable, I’m gradually getting a good feel on how to approach my training program here shortly. Not that I should stop playing volleyball because I know I am physically capable to do so but I won’t kid myself here either. I played volleyball 3 x this past week and I’m realizing that may be a bit too much on the knees so I may cut back to 1-2x week again. I have to give those knees some kind of rest. So I may take a whole week off this coming week but might be hooking up with a friend I met at the rec last Friday so we may do Tuesday this week for some court drills, sparring and fine tuning some techniques.

Worked til the late evening and still managed to watch the Dark Knight with the family for the last full show (surprisngly the boys were just as involved in this great movie than we were). The late Heath Ledger is definitely an Oscar nominee with his performance in this movie. So sad thinking about his passing a few months ago. Rest in peace Mr. Heathe Ledger.

Favorite Joker quote in that movie:
"This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object." - the Joker.

Hands down the best Batman movie ever made in my opinion.

Fast forwarding to today..Got up at 10 am this morning (long day yesterday), managed to loosen up my knees with a good warm up and finished off the workout with some stretching and foam rolling. Did some basic plyo work (most of this is done with playing volleyball anyway) and some shoulder rotation exercises (laying down on side and externally rotating each arm with a DB handle with no weight). After a good 10 minutes of that, I did Ross Enamait’s Magic 50 routine with the use of a 35 lb Kettlebell but with some extra work done on top of it.

Warm up (plyos in here as well):
Standing shoulder rotations
Lying external rotations
Plyometric pushups
2 leg hops (variations of side to side/front to back)
Low step ups
1 legged deadlifts with 5 lb DB plate swing at the up movement.

Did 5 cycles of the following circuit:

KB snatches 5 on each arm
KB High pull with KB swing 5/per arm
Burpees 10 reps
Rest 60 seconds and repeated for 4 more cycles

Ab circuit (1 circuit):
Ab curl ups
X body mountain climbers
50 regular crunches

Volleyball swings with ball a Tm Volleyball Pal for (right arm swings only here. Focusing on range of motion and technique) 10 minutes. No jumping movement here.

12lb medicine ball 2 hand throw with both legs elevated approximately 12 inches off the floor 25 reps/each set for 4 sets

After this post, will be taking this afternoon to type up a word format of my workout routine and schedule. Should be fun.

Have a great Sunday....

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Great workout today!

Feeling strong today! Got up early this morning for some reason (excitement of hitting the squats today??). Was at the gym at 5 am and cranked out another very intense but awesome workout today before heading for work.

Got up to 245 lbs (3 reps) on the Olympic Bar Squats (no knee braces). Might have been able to go up to 270 maybe even back up to 295 on a 1 rep max today but I'll work my way up back there gradually. Most I've ever squated was 295 lbs. Plan is to progress up to there soon and work on leg strength and power.

Happy with my running vertical as of late on the volleyball courts this week. Feeling my legs are getting really strong as evidenced with my play last Monday and Tuesday night so I'm happy about that!

Stay strong and train safe!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Motivation and Habit

Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.

The road to fitness is an ongoing, never ending cycle and certainly isn't an easy one for anybody regardless of fitness level or accomplishment and it shouldn't be and if anyone said that it was "easy" I would honestly find that really hard to believe from anyone. I've seen it happen and still see it happen - how we start strong and sputter down the spiral of disappointment. Unless it's an injury that's hampering you, never be disappointed in yourself if progress is staggered so you decided to hang up the gloves, you ate a little more than you should and ruined your diet, can't find the time to work out. Make yourself some doable and realistic goals for yourself and do your best to stick to it as best you can. Learn new things but educate yourself constantly. If you were to stick to the same routine everytime...who wouldn't get bored or lose motivation from that? That's why fitness program experts such as Craig Ballantyne constantly push program variation every 4 weeks. So always try to understand why you're doing them as opposed to just doing them. The more educated you are the better you're off.

Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm. No matter how you go about it: enjoy it and have fun. And as you have fun with it, it gradually becomes a part of your daily life...a good habit to last you a lifetime.

Again, motivation is what gets you started and it's something that I'm constantly looking for but it's habit that keeps you going.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Getting Back Into the "Swing" of things

Been a hectic week last week with the kids starting a mini pre school this summer at the rec. Something new and something my wife and I (as parents) are finally coming to grips with. Kids having seperation anxiety is tough to deal with but we were assured by our teachers that by next week things should be ok. Good thing the twins have each other...

Anyway, updates...workouts have been pretty intense and still make the time to get them done in an otherwise fairly busy workweek last week at home and at work. As I've stated before, sports specific training is the approach here this next month while still working on cutting up a little more in the process which does mean getting my nutrition down a bit more strict here. Goal is not necessarily getting massively big...but more fined tuned towards strength gains with the legs but with a different approach that suits my personal needs at this point. One goal of mine is getting my vertical improved in 4 weeks time.

Other than being a busy bee all week, I still manage to get my workouts in (it's already habit for me no matter what). It's almost like if I don't get some kind of workout in - my day just doesn't feel right for me. Knees have been bothersome a little last week and have rested them out and stayed away from the courts since last Monday. Ice, rest, anti inflammatories, braces, stretching (I've been doing alot of foam rolling of my glutes down to very top of my knees. There is a band around the hip area that seems to really be stiff - causing alot of this tolerable knee pain I've been dealing with. Foam rolling is GREAT therapy for that)'s almost 2nd nature for me now. MOst of my weight training was from push pull movements of the upper body and one day solely focused on working my legs (posterior chains - glutes/hams/calves) and alot of core training sessions the entire week. I approached a helpful friend of mine via email who I found was a great resource for me about sport specific training and am taking some of his suggestions to heart.

I even did a kettlebell/heavy bag workout last Saturday that was pretty fun with my 45 lb KB in the garage.

Summer has been great and I feel the energy to keep going at it! A little off from traditional workouts I've been accustomed to doing but I think this will indeed benefit me with what my goals are at the current time.

So it's back swinging again tonight at the rec with some volleyball and maybe another swing at it Tuesday and Friday night. The weather in So Sal is just too nice out there right now to be staying at home!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Things You Can Find at Your Community Rec Center or YMCA

I live in a suburb of San Diego in a city called Chula Vista. It's about a 20 minute ride from downtown San Diego and an up and coming city with potential. Since the real estate boom hit in the mid 90's and early 2k's...the need for public parks, businesses and schools have been booming over the last 15 years. Where I live at, there are about 4 different community parks that have been established. We are centrally located near the US Olympic Training Center, a big lake, a mall and tons of bike and run trails. Currently Alex Spanos owner of the San Diego Chargers is already discussing with our local city officials of a potential relocation with a new state of the art Chargers stadium at our bayfront.

After my early morning workout at 5:30...I managed to go home, take a nice cold shower and get ready for the many tasks on schedule for the day. My wife and I brought our twin boys to their 2nd day of prep school yesterday morning. We both managed to be off and I was just as excited as they were (let alone realize how hard it is to get them up and ready for school...what a task!).

You'll be shocked to find what you can find at your local rec center/s. Since there are so many of them around our neighborhood, this particular one we went to was our 2nd time to be there but our first time to see what they offered. They have open volleyball on Tuesday nights (Mondays are at another center and Fridays at another center).

There were outside basketball courts, a few tennis courts, a small grass soccer ball field with bleachcers, tons of playgrounds. Inside there was a table tennis table, a workshop room (where our kids were), an indoor basketball/volleyball gym that can take 3 open full volleyball courts (much like the other gym that I go to). Surprsingly this particular gym was to be closed from the hours of 12 noon - 3 pm for the USA Junior Women's National Volleyball Team practice. While we were outside checking the scenery, I was wondering why I was seeing all these men dressed with University logos on their shirts such as from the Texas Longhorns, Washington, Iowa and USC. So I approached one of them and asked them about their visit. They were actually college coaches and scouts! Whoa...I was at awe. Took a few pictures as a souvenir and was able to watch some of their practice drills which was pretty cool.

Anyway, before wife and I and our little 1 year old were out and about the rec just enjoying the scenery taking pictures of our little boy as we were waiting for the boys class to finish. As my wife went to fill out some registration forms, I went out to the basketball court area and wanted to do a little gauging as to how my vertical jump compares to a 10 foot rim. So I took some videos for fun. I was in pants and the shoes I was wearing are from Nike called Nike Free...very good shoes for various activities such as running but not necessarily for jumping. One thing for any type of have to have the right pair of shoes. In this case, I don't think I did but again I was expecting to even be attempting this to begin with.

Here's the link. Notice how my belt is starting to stick out here at the end of the video.

I want to someday do it like this guy: link.....or maybe this guy: link.

I may also want to point out a pretty interesting benefit of your local rec center: you may find a workout gym! Yup! It may come with a price but for a measely $28.00 every 4 months how can you go wrong? Definitely worth it compared to what I pay for at a commercial gym no doubt. Only downside is they operate from 8am to 8:45pm. Since I've always been one to them early in the morning...I probably wouldn't mind considering doing them after work for the price.

Here's a few other pics taken while the USA Junior team was up setting prior to their drills. Other than Chargers football, the San Diego Padres, the Los Angeles Lakers...volleyball (and surfing) has to be one of the hottest sports out here.

Bottomline: YMCA, your local rec center, even at a amazed at what you can find that's reasonable and will keep you fit.

Let's not find excuses...let's find solutions!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

An Inspiring Video of the Wonder Twins

Wow...I'm a huge youtube guy. There is so much that can be found on that website that can suit one's personal interests, self motivation and for the benefit of self knowledge through cyberspace all within reach of your's incredible.

Anyway, I found an extraordinary video last week or so ago on some twins that are about my size with a passion to one day dunk a basketball on a 10 foot rim. One young man was 5'7 and the other was 5'8. You can really see the dedication and desire to be able to reach the rim and they did...I can see the closeness these twins have with themselves to achieve this...constantly pushing themselves "above the rim."

Talk about finding my motivation...they certainly found their's. In themselves.

This video is so inspirational. It's proof that these young men prove a point here and did just that via video to the naysers who said they couldn't do it. Talk is cheap. Just do it. What else can I say but let their actions speak louder than words.

I'll call them the "Wonder Twins" in hopes that one day my own twin boys will be able to do just as these young boys: to want something so bad and have the passion and motivation to get it. Juan: if you're reading this, brother and are watching the video: STAY STRONG and always BELIEVE.

Few pics to post for the day here as well. Never really took shots from my back so I I took one tonight.

Til next time!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Measuring the Vertical Jump from Wikipedia

I've been fascinated with the goal to improve my jumping abilities lately. Here's a great article from Wikipedia on the vertical jump that I actually picked up on last month but would like to share it in my blog. Some of it has some edits in there referenced by me. Here's the article (enjoy!):

Vertical jump
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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This article does not cite any references or sources. (May 2007)
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unverifiable material may be challenged and removed.
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Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2006)

Vertical jump is best described as the ability to raise one's center of gravity higher in the vertical plane solely with the use of one's own muscles.

In other words, vertical jump is a measure of how high an individual or athlete can elevate off the ground from a standstill. (my initial youtube version is wrong as I have a 3 step approach to it but I intend to use this method for personal use. Andy)

The vertical jump test ultimately determines how "athletic" a considered athlete really is.

Contents [hide]
1 Places where vertical jump measurements are used
2 How to measure vertical
3 Common misconceptions about vertical jump
4 Increasing vertical jump
5 External links

Places where vertical jump measurements are used
Usually, vertical jump measurements are used primarily in athletic circles both to measure performance and as something athletes brag about among themselves. The most common sports in which one's vertical jump is measured are track and field, basketball, football, and volleyball, but many sports measure their player's vertical jumping ability during physical examinations.

How to measure vertical (other than the approach with my jump...the logistics are still the same)
The simplest method to measure an athlete's vertical jump is to get the athlete to reach up against a flat wall, with a flat surface under his feet (such as a gym floor or concrete) and mark off the highest point he can reach flat-footed.(this is referred to as "standing reach"). Then, instruct the athlete to take several jumps from a standstill, marking off the highest point he can reach. Next, measure the distance between the two. This is the athlete's standing vertical jump.

The method described above is the most common and simplest way to measure one's vertical, but other, more scientifically accurate methods have been devised. A pressure pad can be used to measure the time it takes for an athlete to complete a jump, and then using a kinematics equation (h = g*t^2/8), the computer can calculate his vertical jump based on the time in the air. Using this method, an athlete can "cheat" by pulling his/her knees up to extend hangtime.

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 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 comprised 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.

Common misconceptions about vertical jump
(This is so me right here! DOH!!!! - Andy)
The most common misconception about vertical jump is that the measurement displays the athlete's ability to elevate off the ground from a run-up, contrary to from a standstill. The effect of this misconception is that many athletes will quite grossly inflate their vertical jumps. Also many athletes have learned to "cheat" the existing systems. The vertec can be cheated by not reaching as high on the initial measurement commonly referred to as "shrugging your shoulders". Jump pads can be cheated by lifting your knees, or even hanging on to them until the very last moment. Since jump pads rely on hangtime, they are easily cheated.

Increasing vertical jump
One of the most frequently asked questions in the athletic world is "How can I increase my vertical jump?". A higher vertical jump has obvious advantages in several different kinds of sports such as basketball and volleyball.

There are many different aways to increase one's vertical jump, with much controversy on which method is the most effective. What follows are scientific and physical breakdowns of how to improve the height of one's vertical jump.

A more scientific breakdown of vertical jump is required to comprehend methods to improve performance.

Vertical jump is a measure of how far off the ground one can elevate one's own body using only the power generated by their muscles.

In physics, power can be computed using the following formula :

Power = Work / Time

In relation to sports, power is better described by the equivalent expression:

Power = Strength * Speed

Therefore, to increase power (and consequently vertical jump), an athlete must train to improve both strength and speed. (edit - sounds like Ross Enamait!)

Strength can be increased using traditional strength training, with emphasis on the posterior chain (or "p-chain") which consists of the hamstrings, calves, lower back and glute muscles. (which is precisely the only reason why I add a few extra exercises with my workouts! ~ Andy). Studies have shown that the majority of force generated during a vertical jump is generated by these muscles, and most importantly the quadriceps which are not part of the p-chain but rather the anterior chain.

Therefore, arguably the two most important max strength lifts for improving vertical jump are the full back squat and the deadlift.

Speed in the vertical jump is a measure of how fast one can exert force. In the vertical jump, there is a very short time period in which force can be generated to use in a vertical jump(0.2s). Hence, it is very important for an athlete to be able to exert the maximum force possible in the shortest amount of time. Speed training reduces the "time" portion of the power equation, resulting in more overall power.

Speed training consists of two elements: Plyometric exercises (exercises which allow you to absorb the more energy during the countermovement, or eccentric contraction, of an explosive movement such as jumping or sprinting) and explosive training such as jump squats or power cleans.

An important fact to note is that plyometric and explosive exercises are not necessary until an athlete has built up a fairly strong strength base (commonly set between 1.5 and 2 times an athlete's bodyweight in the full squat and deadlift exercises). The reason for this is that even if the time portion of the power equation is reduced significantly, the overall power will still be a lower number if the force portion of the equation is neglected.

Flexibility of the Achilles Tendon has also been known to increase the vertical jump of an athlete. Caution must be used, though, since tearing of the tendon can occur.

Exercises used by professional trainer Joe DeFranco

Toe curls (I do this at work)
Box squats with resistance bands
Static hip flexor stretching (TT)
50 rep "rhythm" squats
Snatch Grip Deadlifts (rosstraining)
Depth Jumps (jump drills)
Reverse Hyperextensions
Dumbell Swings (KB Swings for me. - Andy)
Bulgarian Split Squats (TT)
“Pogo Jump” Warm-up (rosstraining)
Trap Bar Deadlifts, off a 4” box
Standing Backward Medicine Ball Throw
Power Clean/Power Snatch (rosstraining)
Weighted Ab Work (ross/tt)
Push Jerks
Vertical Jumps (Jump drills!)
Flexibility (achieved through stretching) also increases the vertical leap. (I've been doing some semi-yoga lately, as well as dynamic warm ups. Got to maintain flexibility! Just not as long as the 1 hour yoga stuff! That's hard!)

There are many vertical leap enhancement programs available on the internet. You should be wary about the programs claims before buying and do your own research. An informative review site like can be helpful in making your decision by giving you information that is not available on the program sites themselves. (In hindsight...don't get tricked into anything that doesn't seem right to you in any type of fitness program. Always educate yourself before trying a new product!).

Sunday, July 6, 2008

My first Vertical Jump Posted on Youtube

Here's my latest video upload on a jump I did at home. Nothing really and this was done really just for fun...simply wanted to see how high I can jump for self improvement if you will. It was done at home and used the vent on the wall as a target if you will. I measured it at 9'2" high from where I touched it. I'm 5'7 1/2". I hope to reach the top of that vent in the near future.

We're off to the Del Mar County Fair in a few here...need to change into some clothes!

Have a great Sunday!

Here's the link

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Moving On and Staying Strong!

Don't know what it is mentally right now but ever since my friend suffered an injury last week, my life perspectives have changed so much as I try to put myself in my good friend's shoes. Nothing like life and death here but things always seem to pop in my head, like "what if that was me?". Would I not only be able to continue my fitness journey...but I'd be so confronted with different life challenges everyday til I get better. Fitness is a priority for me but I mean, there's just so many other things in life that take priority as well like work, family - it's hard to imagine myself in a situation like that that could set me back big time. I look at my knees as I type this and I'm just grateful...really grateful right now.

What if that was me? It's hard to think about the "what if's"...have to stop thinking that way and just keep on pushing here...

Workouts have been consistent which I'm thankful for. It would be so easy to just to take a few weeks off but I don't intend to (it never really crossed my mind). Most likely at a temporary maintenance phase physique-wise at this point being it summer and all and just trying to get better at my volleyball game so I noticed I've been taking things rather more cautiously in the weight room (maybe too overcautious's just not me.). Still hitting it intensely but the mental part really has been bothering me as of late. Sometimes I just can't seem to get it out of my head.

I don't know how to explain the feeling. It certainly isn't's more like a weird type of "fear" of suffering an injury like my friend did in the weight room for some reason. You just really have to experience something close and personal to realize how traumatizing an injury like that can be. Been approached by a few patrons at my local gym the past few days and they've asked how he's doing and it's just hard to really talk about it. I get the same questions at work too from friends asking the same thing. Sigh...him being a good parent, a hard worker, a good example for his friends and family - it's definitely one tough pill to swallow, man.

I hope and pray for his speedy recovery every single day. Not being overdramatic, but I'm sure if I stopped this now and got all depressed about it, he would just be as bummed. Gotta keep pushing...gotta keep staying focused and keeping things in proper perspective here everyday. Just keeping the ball movin...

Got my Pro Form stationary bike today and have it set it up in the garage. Very nice piece of equipment which I will definitely use to my advantage. Situated it next to my heavy bag, KB's, 25 lb DB's (all my weights are stored upstairs) and treadmill so this is perfect for me as far as interval options. Love the options it has and the magnetic resistance makes for a smooth, quiet ride.