mario bros

The White Man Jump Challenge continues. I'm now one week into the Advanced Phase of the Strength Shoe training program and the net gain to my vertical leap is currently at just over two inches.

I know. It seems like a rather modest gain for almost two and a half months worth of three-days-a-week workouts. But it's a gain nonetheless. And I have to tell you, even though I'm only jumping a couple inches higher, the training has improved my game in ways that I didn't originally anticipate. I haven't measured my foot speed, but I can tell you that my first step is faster and I'm breaking to the hoop with greater force and authority. Some of that is psychological -- I've become more aggressive off the dribble to test the results of my training -- but some of it is physical as well. I'm getting by and around people easier than I was. I'm finishing stronger.

The funny thing is, my game had been regressing for some time without me realizing it. That is, I had been shooting from distance more and more and driving less and less. Naturally, I had been making excuses for the change in style -- the lane was too clogged, the floor was too dusty, my defender was just going to foul me anyway, etc. -- but in reality I had lost a step and simply had no idea. I wasn't really choosing not to drive. I couldn't. Not as often or as easily, anyway. But now I'm getting that quickness back. I have to admit, that has me pretty juiced up. (Conversely, realizing my physical skills had been deteriorating without notice was somewhat alarming. I definitely had an "Oh my God I've become Antoine Walker!" moment. And let me tell you, that's a terrible moment to have.)

There are, however, some downsides I should probably mention. Technically speaking, I'm overtraining. The program suggests at least a full day (24 hours) of rest between each workout, but I've been lifting, running, biking and/or playing basketball on my "off days" (except Friday). I can't help it; I just don't want to give those things up. The side-effect is that my legs are sore and tired pretty much all the time. I've tried to address this by hydrating, eating right (most of the time), hitting the hot tub at my gym, bathing with Epsom salts, rigorous stretching, self-massage...I've even gotten a handful of actual massages from a professional masseuse (no happy endings, though, so don't ask). These measures help, to be sure, but not so much so that I can feel totally recovered without taking a couple days off from any kind of intense physical activity. This has introduced a rather interesting paradox: I feel both great AND like crap at the same time. Weird, huh?

There's another downside to the overtraining: Based on everything I've read, it's likely retarding my overall progress. It's possible, even probable, that I might have gained even more than two inches of increased leaping ability had I strictly adhered to the program's rest guidelines. But what can I do? I'm not going to stop living my life and pursuing my other goals just so I can jump higher. Maybe the pros have recovery secretes I haven't heard of. Who knows.

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24 Comments:
Blogger starang said...
I feel bad that you are so far into this training program and no-one has convinced you to stop. I feel partly responsible...had I been around more frequently, maybe this never would have happened.

These shoes are a joke, and 2 inches in 2 months goes to prove it. You should have significantly more gain in 2 months if these things are doing anything.

I happen to be a big fan of the AirAlert system. I purchased the AirAlert system almost 10 years ago while in college...and it had my dunking in 4 weeks. Back then, I was 6'1" @ 160lbs, and when I started I could easily jump and hang on the rim, so I only needed a few inches. Boy did I get a few. My official measurement after 2 months was 5 inches. I wasn't just dunking, I was hammering it. Catching oops and all.

Several rolled ankles, 2 ACL surgeries, and 10 years later I am back at it. I am starting from nearly the same spot...6'1", 180lbs of solid muscle and skinny-fat beer gut now, and I can easily dunk a tennis ball. I started my AirAlert program from way back (saved it, I don't think I need to spend more to get AirAlert II or whatever they are at now). I started this week after having not played for over 2 months due to a back injury. I'm back in action though...I will let you know how it goes.

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
I'm not sure I want to know what pros secrete during recovery, perhaps during a vacation in Colorado?

Blogger Tonewise said...
flaxseed oil!

Anonymous Anonymous said...
Overtraining can be a real pain in the ass. Last winter, after a pretty long period of doing nothing, i started to play ball again, ran hills, hit the gym etc. I tried to take it easy and hold myself back from overdoing it, but overtraining slowly and sneakily crept in. After a while of ignoring all the signs, i couldn't sleep anymore. I went a week with a couple of hours of sleep in total, so i had to drop all of my training for a while. So my point is that i think it may be better to restrain yourself from some of the stuff, or you may have to drop all of it for a while.

Anonymous AK Dave said...
I totally understand the inability to let yourself rest. You get into your training, you're enjoying yourself, seeing positive results, and you want to keep it going. Sitting around for a day is just too much to deal with. So you continue to do the things you enjoy and that you know are "good for you". It's hard to rest once you get going-

On the other hand, as you noticed, you are constantly playing ball with tired legs (albeit more fit legs).

Cross-training is the key. Work parts of your body besides your legs. I think the best exercise available for x-training, period, no exceptions, is swimming. Get in the pool for an hour if you need to rest your legs but can't stand the inactivity. Your cardio will improve, it works core, back and shoulders like crazy, and swimming has wonderful healing powers- no seriously. It's great for knees, ankles, elbows and shoulders.

It's Friday and I'm bored as hell, in case you can't tell by the 30 comments I've posted today.

Blogger Victor said...
"Maybe the pros have recovery secretes I haven't heard of."

Steroids! That's what the professionals do! Roger Clemens recommends Winstrol.

A post-workout recovery drink should help with feeling tired/sore. Depending on the intensity of my workout I do 48 grams of protein + 24 grams of sugar or 30 grams of protein + 15 grams of sugar. Keep the protein 2 grams to 1 gram of sugar. I use protein powder + Gatorade. And, yes, sugar is good for you after a workout for proper recovery. The body digests sugar faster than other carbs (and protein powder faster than other proteins) so you can refuel your muscles immediately after your workout. The sooner the better. That's why you see some people at the gym drinking them while working out. No sugar if you drink the protein shake as a meal replacement though.

If your pee is yellow, you're dehydrated!

Make sure you do proper warm ups before you exercise. Start with some light running or jumping jacks (or just shoot around) and afterwards do dynamic stretches (like butt kicks, high steps, walking lunge, etc.) After the workout, do static stretching. The good ol' touch your toes, hammy stretches, etc. Should keep your muscles from getting as sore.

As for dieting tips, just make sure you're putting food in your belly every 3 hours or so. Eat your veggies too! Snacks like fruits or nuts are great. And you can eat cottage cheese or have one of those casein protein shakes before bed. Basically, it digests slowly over the night to feed your muscles.

Flaxseed oil is good just to take for general health reasons. A tablespoon a day. It's basically the same as fish oil, but much cheaper. Get the liquid kind and not the pills. I remember hearing it was mainly for joint health so it won't really help with sore muscles. It makes your hair shinier too!

Anonymous mydougie said...
Honestly icing your legs is gonna help a lot. Back when I ran track we'd all ice our legs after practice and it made a world of difference as far as soreness goes.

Blogger Basketbawful said...
Just about to hit the road for the weekend...I promise to reply to these comments first chance I get.

Blogger Kevin said...
@starang: Most plyometric programs like the one that Bawful is doing usually has two phases where the first part is just to build basic leg strength that is needed for the more specialized exercises (the actual plyometrics part).

I've seen the AirAlert program, and it's roughly the same idea except they jump right into pure muscle build-up and twitch muscle workouts. If Bawful keeps going at it he should get a lot more gains in the 'advanced' section

Blogger BadDave said...
I call shenanigans on the no-happy-ending bit.

I'm beat from overtraining, too. I have a split fingernail from beer and soda cans, my remote thumb is killing me, and my left wrist is really annoyted a week straight of two-a-days of the "stranger."

Blogger Concession Stan said...
Have you seen the Kobe/Arod Guitar Hero commercial? It DEMANDS your attention and commentary.

Blogger eljpeman said...
doesn't have anything to do with the challenge, but Y! Sports have reported that Harrington has been traded to Golden State. Wait a minute! You can trade to yourself now?!

Here's the snippet of the blunder:
http://img167.imageshack.us/img167/1738/captureuh1.jpg

Anonymous Z Bo said...
Careful with the overtraining- You can really cause some damage that will affect your long-term fitness goals. Signs of overtraining include elevated morning heart rate and an inability to reach max heart rate during exercise. Mood swings and difficulty sleeping are other good signs that you may be on the verge. If your body is giving off an ammonia-like odor during high intensity exercise, you've probably already become seriously overtrained. If this is the case, you may need 1-2 months of rest. If you haven't gotten that far, take a week off and then go easy for a week. You won't lose any fitness, and you'll find yourself with a lot more snap in your legs afterwards. I've been a competitive racing cyclist for a long time and I've had my share of overtraining... it's not fun. Try to stop the process before it gets worse.

Blogger chris said...
Breaking snooze: The Knicks offer a salary dump! Or is that an "ump" giving the lack of defense on a Mike 'Antoni team?

NorthMass as usual has the most prescient analysis:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7P2neUy4xo&sdig=1

Blogger John said...
so did you get a happy ending?

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
Yes! I think we have a new high score! Saturday's Hawks-Cavs game, J.J. Hickson with an 8 minute suck differential of +6 (0-1, 3TO, 2PF)! Amazingly, his +/- was +1 in spite of his overwhelming suck.

Anonymous surrac said...
uhhh yeah, those are italians, not whites

Anonymous kalbifornia said...
AnacondaHL,

On top of Hickson's horrendous suck differential, the Cavs also got a one trillion from Tarence Kinsey. Heck, even his +/- was 0!

Blogger AnacondaHL said...
I think LeBron's doing the first ever 2-year contract year phenomenon, since so many people in the national media have pointed out every time a team dumps salary for the 2010 season.

Also, here's the inexplicable Guitar Hero ad with Kobe, A-Rod, Michael Phelps, and Tony Hawk impersonating (WARNING! The following link is NOT MIND SAFE and contains Tom Cruise) Risky Business if you haven't seen it on TV.

Anonymous dima said...
hey bawful what leage do you play in...You don't do skokie do you? Broadway armory in the summer?

Anonymous Wormboy said...
I think you have proved that directed and sustained training improves athletic performance! Congratulations! There may be a Nobel in this.... ;)

I'm sure there are a lot of training systems out there, and their relative merits could be debated ad nauseum. I claim no expertise, other than my faith that consistent training with some sort of pliometrics will dramatically enhance performance over time. I've seen it too much in my past to argue against it. I am, however, very skeptical about the gimmicky shoes. My bet is that you would have gotten comparable results with normal trainers.

Anyway, congrats! Because increased performance actually does feel good. You worked hard for it, and you deserve it.

Blogger MCBias said...
I tried one of those programs my senior year of high school. I only got about 3 inches, but I noticed they were much quicker inches than before. I could get to balls that I could only wave at before. Glad to hear it's working so well for you!

Blogger Jack said...
I can't believe someone commented about your overtraining and then immediately recommended Air Alert. Dear Lord the internet has some crazy advice. If you want to jump higher there is more to it than using jump shoes or doing an ultra high rep program like Air Alert. You should check out www.verticaljumping.com for loads of free training information about increasing your vertical jump

Anonymous Anonymous said...
yo bawful I got lots of experience with trying to improve your vert. Im about 5.11 and can throw down. Basically if your training vert and playing your max vertical will be WAY down. I was doing something similar to what you are and for the first 3 or 4 weeks My vert went down and then eventually it started to go up. But as a test I took a week off and my vertical after 3-4 days NOTICEABLY improved.
Basically if your tired all the time, I would suggest take some time off and youll be good to go.

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