Michael Jordan Vertical Jump Training with Jordan's Former Trainer

February 1, 2005 | Featured in the February 2005 Issue

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Rookie of the Year:1985 … Played in 13 NBA All-Star Games … Winner of 6 NBA Championships … Earned 5 Most Valuable Player Awards … NBA Slam Dunk Champion:1987 & 1988 … “and only ONE trainer …"

The words scroll by at www.attackathletics.com, the Internet home of the renowned Hoops Gym and Tim Grover, a near-cult figure among the NBA's elite players, as the world-famous slam-dunking superstar displays his prowess on the screen. Figured it out yet?

Tim Grover has been the exclusive trainer of Michael Jordan—yes "the" Michael Jordan—since 1989. Recognized as the "trainer to the pros," Grover has worked with tons of NBA superstars from other all-time greats like Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon and Scottie Pippen to rising stars like Dwayne Wade. Grover has even trained greats from other sports, including Alex Rodriguez and Simeon Rice.

What does all this have to do with you? Grover's company, A.T.T.A.C.K. Athletics Inc., revealed all its tips and lessons in a book published a few years back, "Jump ATTACK." The book was called "The most advanced and complete publication on 'how to increase your vertical jump and explosiveness' ever published." If you haven't read it yet, don't worry—we've got the inside information on "Jump ATTACK" and Grover's innovative training methods for improving Jordan's vertical jump.

You might find Grover's basketball training philosophy unique because his main training focus is injury prevention. What about explosive power, strength and endurance? "We don't care how high a guy jumps, how fast he runs or how well he shoots the ball. If he can't stay healthy, he is not going to do himself or his team any good," answers Grover. Of course, Grover's programs improve explosiveness, speed and basketball skills, but if you don't have your health, you don't have anything—injury prevention is the foundation.

With that foundation established, you need a Jordan-esque vertical. A vertical that can help you get off your shot, get to the basket and get double-digit rebounds. But the vertical goes beyond game situations. According to Grover, "The vertical is an assessment of athletic ability. There is a correlation between how high you can jump, how fast you can run and how quickly you can move laterally. The muscles that are used in a vertical jump are used in these movements." In other words, a good vert equals a good athlete.

If you want to be a better athlete, then improve your vertical jump. We know. It's not that easy. And according to Grover, most programs that claim to increase your vert are bunk. "Most programs don't work because they don't address the biomechanics of jumping and how to take the weight training and plyometrics and translate it to athletic movements," he says.

How is Grover's program different? "The other programs focus on either weight training, plyometrics or stretching. In order for it to be a successful program, you need to combine all three, and we combine the three in our program."

This philosophy of Jordan's vertical training, which is explained in "Jump ATTACK," incorporates extensive sequence training, which is a method of training that involves weight training, plyometrics and stretching. "When you combine the three together, we are actually training the mind and body for the muscle to work the way it is supposed to work in a game because now it knows why it is doing the weight training, plyometrics and stretching," Grover says. If you want to "train like Mike," here's a sample sequence Grover provided for you to incorporate into your training program—but if you want more, you'll have to get a copy of "Jump ATTACK" from www.attackathletics.com

Michael Jordan Vertical Jump Training

Perform 1 to 2 sets of the following sequence, twice per week.
As you progress, advance to three sets twice per week. Do not over-train! Take it from Grover: "The sequence is so intense that your muscles need at least two days of recovery in-between. If you were to do this sequence on a Monday, you would not repeat it until Thursday or possibly Friday. If you perform this sequence three times per week, you will do more damage than good." Alter some aspect of the sequence (the exercises, the amount of weight used or the rest time) every four weeks. If you are not comfortable with the back squat, perform a leg press movement instead.

Weight training exercise:

Back squat for 30 seconds
Grover's comments:
"We don't use reps, we use time. It's not about how much you lift. It is all about how fast you can move the weight.
Rest: One minute

Plyometric exercise:
Squat jump for 6 to 10 reps
Grover's comments:
"Place hands on the ground between legs and jump up from this position. Explode using your arms. When you come back down, explode as quickly as possible back up. Spend as little time with your feet on the ground as possible. Go for speed and height."
Rest: None

Stretching exercise:
Standing quad stretch for 30 seconds

Rest: Three minutes then repeat the sequence

Tim Grover ’s Top 3 Training Tips

  • It is not the amount of weight that you lift; it is how quickly you lift it.
  • On the plyometrics, it isn't the height that matters; it is the amount of time that you spend on the ground.
  • Stretch, stretch, stretch.

Give Grover's sequence training a try, and if your thirst isn't quenched get a hold of his book to really take your training to the next level. Grover's slogan is "Even the best athletes can get better." So, if you are looking to improve your athletic performance, Grover just might have the program for you.

(STACK Note: Remember, when attempting to improve your vertical, there is no quick fix. Be wary of programs that claim to increase your vert by 12 inches in six weeks. According to Grover, increasing your vertical "takes time, effort and dedication.")

Related Exercises

Back Squat
Squat Jump
Standing Quad Stretch
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