I have now completed the first seven beginner's level workouts of the Strength Shoes
training system, and my vertical leap has increased exactly...zero inches. If you're male, I don't have to tell you how chilling the words "zero inches" can be. Bummer, huh?
But not exactly surprising, either. After all, I wouldn't expect to add an inch to my biceps -- or even a fraction of an inch -- only seven workouts into a beginner's bicep training program. And the Strength Shoe program is pretty clear: The purpose of the beginner's level is to prepare you for the intermediate level, and therefore results may be limited (or even non-existent). So all I can do is keep on keeping on.
Patience is the critical component of any training program. Rome wasn't built in a day, right? Hell, a McDonald's Playland isn't even built in a day. But there's a very strong temptation to overtrain. You know, increase the number of repetitions I'm doing, do extra workouts, install some cyborg implants
, or whatever. However, based on everything I've been reading, that's the worst thing I could do. Okay, that's not technically correct...there are many worse things I could do (cross the streams
, eat broken glass, clean all the bathrooms in Grand Central Station with my tongue, etc.). But overtraining, in almost any area, usually leads to injury and muscle degradation. In fact, some of the plyometric literature I've read explicitly states that overtraining can not only hamper results, it can actually takes inches off
of my precious vert. Wouldn't that
However, while I can't jump any higher today than when I started, I can tell you that I have seen a general improvement in my balance and agility. Which is something, I guess. Also, and I might be imagining this, but I seemed to have more thrust on my last couple runs. Oh, and in my ability to kick myself in the ass, which is a skill that could come in handy at almost any time.
In the meantime, I've been trying to read as much as I can about plyometrics. The best of what I've discovered so far is The Vertical Jump Development Bible
by Kelly Baggett. As far as I can tell, Baggett really knows what he's talking about. The VJDB is stuffed full of Mighty Science, which -- even if you can't understand all of it -- feels very comforting. Kind of like when the voice-over guy in the Viagra commercial says that some erections may last up to four hours. Anyway, the VJDB helps you analyze your jumping ability (to determine what kind of jumper you are) and provides a variety of customized workouts based on your athletic aptitude and physical needs. The programs are roughly 16 weeks long and use a large variety of exercises. Every exercise is illustrated and described in detail, which is nice. And most of them can be done in the privacy of your own home.
I'm not trying to pass judgement on my Strength Shoes program before I've even finished the beginner's level, but if I had to choose a system in a pinch, I'd choose The Vertical Jump Development Bible. And I will be using it if the Strength Shoes fail me.
Labels: plyometrics, White Man Jump Challenge