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Most of my basketball idols growing up were high flying athletic freaks like Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, and Kobe.
Watching them throw done nasty dunks inspired late night dreams of myself doing the same in front of thousands in packed arenas.
The unfortunate truth is that most of us will never be tall enough or athletic enough to accomplish such feats.
But with the help of specific techniques and targeted training we can maximize our abilities so that we can get every inch out of the cards we’ve been dealt.
This is where the Jump Manual comes in to play. Created by Jacob Hiller in 2008, the Jump Manual uses training techniques that Jacob taught himself over the course of several years to turn himself into an exceptional dunker for his height of 6’3″.
There are several resources included in the Jump Manual. Here is a brief summary of each:
This one is pretty self-explanatory. The introduction gives a background on Jacob Hiller and how he came to develop the Jump Manual program.
In summary, it states that Jacob has always been obsessed with obtaining a high vertical. He had always been in great shape and could dunk before learning his techniques, but barely. After discovering these techniques through experimentation, his vertical leaping ability exploded over the course of about three months.
At the end of the three month period Jacob could dunk from outside the lane, and do 360 dunks, tomahawks, and other advanced dunks.
2. Essential Variables of Explosiveness
In this section Jacob breaks down what he considers the essential variables of explosiveness that lead to maximum vertical jumping gains. These include:
- Neurological Recruitment and Conditioning
- Stability and Balance
- Body Composition
- Hereditary Factors
3. The Science of Optimal Results
Essentially Jacob Hiller discusses the difference between working out for muscle strength and muscle endurance. Knowing the difference between these two is important as doing the wrong one will essentially mean you are wasting your time if your goal is to increase your vertical jump.
4. Laws of Vertical Jump Improvement
In this section Jacob provides you with nine basic fundamental “laws” to follow to help you in your journey to improve your vertical jump. I will provide three of the laws below to give you a preview of what these are all about.
- Strength X Quickness = Explosion
- Train Explosion, Not Endurance
- If you are pacing yourself, stop and restart
5. Eating for Maximum Gains
This section goes into detail on how nutrition plays a key role in helping you progress through the program. Some of the information is good, but I feel some of the information is outdated as it is now 10 years old.
At the end of the day all the information provided in this section can be obtained for free elsewhere.
6. “Optional” Equipment for Vertical Jump Drills
In this section Jacob lists different pieces of equipment that he suggests you have to complete the vertical jumping exercises. The equipment listed includes:
- Speed rope
- Medicine ball
- A weight room
- A jump box
While Jacob says these are optional, I would consider these required as almost all the exercises utilize at least one of these pieces of equipment. If you are going to spend the money on the program you might as well invest in the equipment and do the program properly or not do it at all.
7. Jumper’s Forum
The jumper’s forum allows users to ask questions and get feedback from other participants. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get the Jumper’s forum to load so I’m not sure why it is down. Either way, the program works, but don’t expect to be able to access this resource. If this changes I’ll let you know.
8. Pre-Workout Stretches and Warm-Ups
This section breaks down some basic stretches and warm ups to do before going into the actual Jump Manual workouts. Essentially, you will do some light activity for 5-10 minutes such as jogging, and then transition into static stretching.
Most of the stretches you will be familiar with, but there are a few that I had not done before. Overall, nothing mind blowing here, just what you need to get your body ready for the workout.
9. Max-Explosion Workout
Example of a Max-Explosion Exercise: “Leg Chair Rockets”
The meat of the Jump Manual Program, the Max-Explosion Workout is a 14 day rotation of workouts and rest days that are done six times for a total of 12 weeks.
Exercises done in the max-explosion training program include plyometric exercises and strength training movements using weights.
Each exercise has a primary exercise with unweighted alternatives if you cannot do the primary movement or do not have the necessary equipment.
It is recommended that you test your vertical before every workout to test progress. Jacob also strongly suggests that you take extra rest days until you are no longer sore as not doing so will only slow your progress and waste your energy.
Jacob gives some recommendations for how to proceed after your workout. The basics of this advice includes eating protein immediately after working out, cooling down, and doing the same stretching routine as you did in the pre-workout routine.
11. Progress and Sustained Increase
After the 12-week program Jacob Hiller invites you to contact him to get more specific recommendations on how to further your training so that you see even greater gains.
12. Instant Inches
This is a whole other section outside of the 12-week Max-Explosion workout routine that breaks down how proper jumping technique will help you gain inches to your vertical jump instantly. Jacob also includes some extra stretches and talks about several components of the jumping process so that you can maximize your jumping abilities immediately.
Strengths of the Program
There is a lot to like about the Jump Manual. Here are a few of the most noteworthy positives about the program.
1. 12 Weeks in Length
Having a vertical jumping program that is 12 weeks long gives more time to see the gains from your work compared to other programs like Vert Shock.
At around three months, there is no doubt that if you do the Jump Manual Program properly you will see huge gains in your vertical jumping ability and many of you will turn into dunkers.
2. Mix of Plyometrics and Strength Training
Weight training works and I like that it is a central part of the Jump Manual Program. But not just any strength training, in the Jump Manual you learn to do explosive movements with weights that directly target the muscles involved in the jumping motion.
On top of the strength training the Jump Manual also includes a healthy doses of plyometrics which are also essential to your success.
Doing both in tandem gives you the best opportunity to gain the maximum number of inches to your vertical jump.
3. PDF Trackers
Included in the program are several PDF trackers that help you keep track of your progress as you work through the program. I like this because it helps you know where you are at and you can see how far you have come. Lastly, it helps you stay organized.
4. Other Resources
There are a lot of extra resources included in the Jump Manual Program that are included as part of the regular purchase price.
First, the Instant Inches extra shows you how to get more inches out of your vertical simply by practicing proper jumping techniques.
Second, the lean power protocol is a full diet including 300 recipes. It is essentially an intermittent fasting diet (something I already do on my on my own, and highly recommend).
Third, Beast Hoops is a strength training program designed to help you get strong without messing up your shooting technique.
Fourth, Jacob Hiller interviews Dave Hopla, an NBA shooting coach.
Fifth, Jacob Hiller interviews Tim Gallwey on how to get and stay in the zone.
Sixth, Jacob interviews Dr. Patrick Cohn about playing out of your mind.
As you can see there are a lot of extras included in the Jump Manual for free. There are other extras, but they do cost a separate fee.
What Could Be Better
There are a few things we’d like to see changed or updated from the Jump Manual Program.
1. Requires Weights
The Jump Manual is a high maintenance vertical jump program in terms of the equipment required. To really complete this program properly you will need access to a weight room as well as other types of gym equipment.
Thankfully, Jacob Hiller does give some alternative exercises that can be done if you don’t have access to weights, but it is obvious that not being able to do the recommended weight bearing exercises is a disadvantage and could negatively impact your results.
The Jump Manual originally came out about 10 years ago and over that time it is apparent that Jacob Hiller has added more information to make the program better. However, he has done a poor job at trimming outdated and old information which has made the program a bit bloated and disorganized.
Due to this the program is a bit disorganized and hard to follow. Be sure to utilize the downloadable PDFs that come with the program to help you stay on track.
3. Videos Are Old
I’m surprised that Jacob has not taken the time to update some of the videos in his program. While most of it is still relevant today it simply looks dated. We’ve come a long way in ten years and many of the videos in the Jump Manual Program appear to have been recorded on a flip phone in between games of snake.
They work, but they simply do not look professional and feel a bit lackluster when you consider the price of the program.
4. Not For The Injury Prone
If you have a history of knee injuries or surgeries, then I’d be hesitant to take on this program. Many of the explosive weight training includes jumping with significant weight which not only requires perfect form but a healthy body. Don’t overdue it and be honest with yourself about what your body is capable of doing. If this is too much then consider the plyometric based Vert Shock program.
The Jump Manual is the O.G. of vertical jump training programs and for good reason. It is doesn’t play around and requires a serious level of commitment, but delivers results to those who are able to make it through a tough 12 weeks of training.
Before buying I highly recommend you make sure you have access to all the required equipment I mentioned in this review and a weight room at the local gym.
If you are in good shape now and do not have a history of injury then the Jump Manual will probably give you maximum results due to the use of weights and the 12 week program length. For those who do have a history of injury or are just getting into the swing of things I would recommend Vert Shock as it is a shorter program and does not require weight training while still getting good results.
At the end of the day, the program that is best for you will come down to your personal history and vertical jump training goals.