vertical jump training

Vertical Foundations Book Review

Written by Jack Woodrup for

Regular readers of will be familiar with Joel Smith from's excellent understanding of what it takes to help an athlete jump higher.

If you are a fans of Joel's work (and if you want to jump higher you definitely should be) you will also be very excited to know that he recently released a new book all about vertical jump training. The book is titled Vertical Foundations. Here is our review.

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Vertical Foundations: What It Isn't

Before I go into what is in the book I thought I should point out that Vertical Foundations is not specifically a vertical jump program. There is no gaining 8 inches in 10 weeks guaranteed, and no claims of Joel accidentally discovering any 'secret' jump training techniques.

That said the book does include some training programs for athletes to follow depending on their preferred style of jump, and they are very sound programs, but this isn't the main focus of the book.There is a lot more included than just that!

Vertical Foundations: What It Is

What Vertical Foundations is then is one of the best books I have read explaining exactly what goes into developing a great vertical jump.

Joel discusses at length the role that various training methods should take in an athletes program if they want to maximize their vertical jump. He discusses in detail how to employ strength work, plyometrics, and technique work into your training, and exactly what sort of emphasis should be put into each of those methods.

Why You Should Buy Vertical Foundations

There really are a lot of areas covered in Joels book, but if there was one area that really stands out as making it worth purchasing, it is the sections on improving your jumping technique.

I have not seen any other vertical jump resource as comprehensively address the various factors that impact the different jumping styles (standing, running, single leg or double leg takeoff) as Vertical Foundations. Better still, Joel provides a lot of very practical and useable technique cues and pointers that you can easily implement into your jump training to help improve your jumping movement.

And herein lies the real value of the book in my opinion. When most people start training their vertical jump they usually make some pretty good improvements just from doing basic power exercises (strength and plyometrics), however once those athletes get past the beginner stages, the biggest thing holding them back is almost always their jumping technique.

In fact with my vertical jump coaching customers I would say that after they have developed a reasonable power base from their first 2-3 training programs, improving their jumping technique becomes the most beneficial thing they can do to continue to improve.

What Else Is Covered

The book isn't just about improving technique though, it also examines the role of the different muscle groups in producing horizontal and vertical power, the role of the stretch shorten cycle and how to improve your ability to use that to your advantage.

Another aspect of the book I loved is how it is constantly stressing the need to actually get out and be jumping. I get a lot of young athletes emailing asking me questions like how high they could jump if they could squat 2x BW, and it seems to be forgotten that jumping high is not a pure strength movement, but one hat heavily involves elastic qualities as well.

Joel does a great job of explaining that strength work, and indeed even many jumping drills, should be considered supplemental to the actually working on your maximum effort jumping. This is a point I couldn't agree with more, and as mentioned, it is an important message that is reiterated throughout the book.

Vertical Foundations is a terrific read full of great research backed training. Joel does a great job of explaining what makes up a big vertical jump and how you need to direct your training to achieve that.

If you are interested in grabbing a copy of Vertical Foundations (and if you are interested in increasing your jumping ability then you should DEFINITELY be interested in reading this book), you can order a copy at Joel's site:

Vertical Foundations

**Please note, this is not an affiliate link and I make no money off any sales of the book. I recommend it to you because it is a truly fantastic resource for any athlete looking to jump higher.

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Ground Contact Time - An analysis of the role ground contact time has in plyometrics.

The Best Vertical Jump Exercise Ever- What is the best vertical jumping exercise you can do?

Jumping Technique Tips - Practicing your jumping technique is vital if you want to maximize your vertical jump. If you aren't you could be leaving easy inches on the table.

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