GAINS! FINALLY! Today I Recorded a 33 Inch Vertical Jump

It may even be 34 inches. That white piece of plastic I’m trying to touch has a 1 inch piece of packing tape attached to the bottom, and if I can touch that tape I’m jumping 33 inches. The video replay of my best jump of the session looked like I smacked the plastic, but I won’t know for sure until I remove the tape and hit the plastic on its own. Then I’ll just keep removing a half inch at a time as my vertical improves.

I’m trying to achieve some level of balance with my reward system in order to encourage maximum jump efforts without discouraging myself with a target I simply never hit. I feel as though I’m more likely to have it in my head that I’ll be able to hit the plastic if it’s only 1/2 an inch higher than last time versus an entire inch. And the point of all this is to execute a high volume of maximum effort jumps. Having the target low enough to hit every time would feel great, but it wouldn’t lead to improvements in my jumping ability as quickly because I’m jumping as high as I already can, instead of jumping higher than I ever have before.

I look forward to the day when my vertical is in the high 30s and I’m touching 33 inches easily. But for now, touching 33 inches takes everything I’ve got. But the fact that it’s now possible for me just makes me want to train harder.

My next goal is to hang with 2 hands on a 10 foot rim.

I have a $100 bill clipped to the board beside these goals so I can see what I lose in September if I don’t accomplish them. I’m only looking at one goal at a time, one that’s just out of reach (literally). I’m doing it this way because the other forms of tracking were giving me a false sense of progress.

For example, I was tracking morning workouts. I was waking up at 5am and going outside and training. The problem is this doesn’t give me any indication of the quality of the workout. There’s no easy way to measure how much intensity I was bringing to the workouts. And what I need is maximum intensity for my vertical jump to improve.

So now I’m just tracking one goal at a time: something I can’t currently do, but that I can almost do. Then when I get it, I increment it up just a bit. Each goal has a deadline. I don’t know what I’m going to do if and when I miss the deadline. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that. If you have ideas, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

Dunk Progress Check on 10 Foot Rim

Craig Barclay, coach for the Trent women’s volleyball team, gave me some excellent advice last week. He said that I should start working on dunking smaller balls on a full-height (10 foot) rim. That way, I’ll be doing everything at full power in terms of getting off the ground – something I wasn’t necessarily doing when dunking on lower rims.

So, today I tried some single-leg dunks on a 10 foot rim.

I’m only just getting over the rim with my one legged jumps… but I think there’s room to grow with my single leg jumping technique. I should be able to get a little higher if I can attack the takeoff with more speed and drive my right leg up more explosively.

And I managed a new personal record today! I dunked a lacrosse ball with a two legged jump! I was super stoked about this. I felt like I got really good height, and I was happy to really throw the ball down through the rim at a good angle.

It looks like my hand is over the rim by a good amount if you pause the video at the apex of my jump, and this is really encouraging because I’ll be able to dunk a basketball once I can hit my wrist on the rim. Though there’s way more to it than that, as I’m slowly becoming aware of.

There’s also the significant factor of the skill needed to dunk a basketball, and this relates to timing, hand size (luckily I do have big hands and can palm the ball), and a variety of other factors – many of which are mental.

So – thank you Craig for the advice and for pushing me to a new personal best – dunking that lacrosse ball!

 

Dunk Journey Progress Report: Week 8

I’ve been doing vertical jump training for about 8 weeks now, and I’m beginning to see the first glimpses of improvement.

One thing I didn’t know, but makes total sense once you think about it, is that all basketball nets are slightly different heights. So I keep a tape measure in my gym bag and measure every rim before a dump/dunk session and that way I know whether I’m improving or not.

It also discredits any past performance where I wasn’t measuring the rim. For example, I have a memory of dunking a volleyball shoe from standing, like 6 years ago. Ya, that rim was probably low… 9 feet or something.

There’s also the significant factor of the skill it takes to dunk a basketball. So here’s my first dunk on a lower net (9 feet 6 inches).

And my first two-handed hang on a 9′ 10″ rim.

And a height check on a 10′ rim.

All the marbles are on the 10 foot rim. I need to be able to DUNK on it come September, or I lose $100 in bets with various friends. I have lots of ground to cover still. 8 Weeks of training and I’ve gained 1 inch so far. Probably a little more if I rest… but even without rest I’m jumping higher than I ever have in my life.

I’ve finally broken the plateau! Here are the measurements after 1 month of the “8 Inch Race” my buddies and I are doing:

vertical-jump-progress-measurements
Note: Myles was injured for the second set of measurements. Kyle got 4 inches in one month!!!

1 inch of gain in my vertical doesn’t seem like much for the insane amount of effort I’ve been putting into this. But it is. Zero would have been hard to recover from, so even seeing a little bit of gain is enough encouragement to keep pushing.

As of now, dunking on a 10 foot rim in September seems like a long shot. Most of the people I’ve researched have generally taken between 1 and 2 years to make dramatic improvements on their vertical jumps.

But having a big goal and some cash riding on it is great motivation to train, so I’m just going to keep working hard.

Baby Grip For Dad: The Jaguar

Mostly, us dads lack breasts. And when we have them we’re shy about using them to sooth our babies.

A solution – The Jaguar.

The Jaguar swaps mom’s nipple for dad’s thumb, and baby doesn’t know the difference. In fact, there may be ways in which The Jaguar is even superior to a boob.

In the remainder of this article, I’ll point out a few key reasons why I’ve relied so heavily upon The Jaguar in soothing both of my daughters during infancy.

1. The Thumb Nipple

The hand that cradles the face and head doubles as a suction opportunity for the baby. Your thumb becomes a pretty damn “handy” nipple! Just make sure you keep those nails trimmed and smooth, and obviously wash your hands before trying it. No need to give baby an unintentional first taste of wing sauce left over from lunch.

2. Better Scenery

I’m convinced having things to look at makes babies less pissed off. The Jaguar allows your baby to point outward, instead of inward at a hairy dad bod – making for a more enjoyable ride.

3. Single-Handed Operation

Being able to totally comfort your baby with one hand leaves the other hand free for all kinds of useful things.

One of my favourite uses for my other hand is to pat my daughter on the back for added soothing power. Though removing the other thumb first is a good plan if she’s just eaten (so vomit can get out).

So go ahead – give The Jaguar a try! Leave a comment if it works as well for your little one as it has for mine.

 

The 1000 Rep Month: Day 70

I go for the 2 minute handstand in this FINAL DAY of this video series.

My goal in publishing a short workout video each day was to force myself to form a new habit of working out each day (in accordance with Google’s estimation that it takes 66 days to form a new habit).

Despite having completed the series, I won’t know if the habit has formed until I’m no longer socially obligated to post these videos. So we’ll see.

As for the deeper reason behind working out every day – which was to improve my mood – that has been a total success. I had been finding myself getting frustrated and cagey if a day or two went by without any outdoor time or exercise, and simply doing a couple minutes of (even super light) exercise (and preferably outside) has 100% abolished those shitty feelings.

Keeping that realization at the front of my mind in upcoming days will help keep this going off-camera. It feels great to get outside and move a bit. It’s not intimidating if I don’t have any expectations of myself in terms of workout intensity.

Along the way, I discovered that skipping and handstands emerged as being great fits for me because they weren’t intimidating at all, and yet forced a minimum effort (ie jumping high enough to get over the rope, or holding 175 lbs overhead for over a minute).

Even entering into either of these exercises with an internal motivation level of “half-assed” – the very nature of the exercise forces you to perform at a reasonable level.

So, after all that rambling, here is my final video in this series: