QUESTION 1: “So when it comes down to the essence of training for vertical jump, could it be summarized as shown below?

Step 1. Get stronger (with Squats & Deadlifts)
Step 2. Stop lifting altogether & Get faster (with Sprints & Jumps)
Step 3. Rinse & Repeat

Or is this formula too reductionist?

…With these details in mind, I was wondering if it would be okay to follow the formula above, or if you would still prescribe your Jump Science 2.0 program.”

ANSWER: “Yes, that’s roughly the formula once an athlete has established proper flexibility and mechanics, and an acceptable strength level. Step 2 relies on some details of step 1 and details of the athlete. Athletes with higher strength levels and athletes who are fatigued are more likely to have success with complete cessation of lifting. In many cases it’s a good idea to continue explosive lifting as a way of maintaining power.

Squat and deadlift are the primary drivers of actual changes in athleticism through strength, but they do not adequately address structural integrity in every muscle. That’s where the other exercises come in. Lunges are not likely to make you a better athlete by themselves, but they will structurally strengthen the rectus femoris and adductors to a greater degree than squats alone.

Yes, you can follow that formula. JS 2.0 (Levels 2, 4, 6) is an example of how to do that.”


QUESTION 2: “Also, it seems you have been experimenting with different sets & rep schemes for your strength phase. For example I believe you posted on instagram or facebook that you have been squatting and deadlifting for 1 rep max for 6 days a week? So the second question is,

Were you able to find a sets & rep scheme that you believe is the most effective/efficient in producing strength gain that fits well with your “long-term development of athleticism” structure? I wanted to ask you this question because you always emphasize that athletes should not fall in love with weight training, and I’m definitely guilty of that (I’m your Johnny Strong, except I’m not that terribly strong either).

Should one be more aggressive and squat and deadlift for 1rep max for 6 days a week for a certain amount of time? Or is that just a temporary measure for a quick strength gain?”

ANSWER: “The big picture matters more than the little details. For example, sets and reps are not that important, but total training stress is. I have always found that higher volume lifting works really well when you first start. Over time I definitely gravitate toward higher intensity and fewer reps, but you really don’t have to be picky on that. Quality movement and consistency and taking care of your body are far more important than how many reps you use. As far as fitting into the periodization method, to create fatigue, gravitate toward a combination of intensity and volume. Like heavy sets of 5 or 6 are brutal.

The max or near max 6 days per week is something I have done twice in the past for 3 weeks to create a little fatigue intentionally, so I could take a break and overshoot a little bit. I didn’t get stronger while doing it. The most recent time I did it, I did get stronger and hit records in all my lifts. (my best guess as to why it worked this time is eating more.) I still took a break, but I really wasn’t fatigued, so it’s not a long break. That approach is useful, but it’s just one option, not necessarily a superior option. I only do it for 3 weeks, because I do fear slipping into Johnny Strong mode. In this recent bout my squat and deadlift improved much more than my hang snatch and hang clean, so the adaptation I got was largely not carrying over to more explosive things it seemed.

1. Get stronger.
2. Get explosive.
You’ll learn the details of what works for you with experience. “