My vert is a joke... It is so inconsistent with the rest of my stats...please help

Hey guys,

I am a fencer, unusual sport but it requires a lot of explosive power from the legs. I had always been told my acceleration was good, and my fencing specific endurance is excellent. Recently at a training camp I did a number of fitness tests and I performed reasonably well on most of them: my 3k run time was 10 minutes on a track, my 10k run time was just over 40 minutes, my 1RM deadlift was 360 (weight about 155). We didn’t time our sprints but I was one of the better sprinters there. I am 18 BTW.

Anyway, we did a VJ test at one point in the camp, after a couple days of training. I was kinda sore when we did it, but even still, the average score was 25+ inches. My vertical was a pathetic 22. Kids I was beating in the sprints were getting VJ scores 4-5 inches better than mine. One kid who sprinted just a tiny bit faster than me (like beating me by a few tenths of a second in a 75-100m) had a VJ 10 inches higher than mine! I was tired, but so were they, maybe I could do as much as 25 fully recovered but WTF?

How could my vertical be so bad? It’s really depressing me, it kills my confidence knowing that my lower body explosiveness is so bad. I finished top 8 in the country at nationals, and I can’t help but think I could improve my performance so much if I could just get more explosive! WTF can I do? This is really causing me grief :frowning:

I fence four nights a week, before 2 of those I do 10-50m sprints with full recovery. I also do a fullbody weight routine 2x a week focusing on compound movements and 1-2 longer runs a week. What can I do? Please help

Thanks so much might help… Kelly has an excellent book all about the vertical.

I also think your body might need more rest. You might be doing too much volume.

If I am not mistaken, the quads are used a lot during the jump. How’s your quad development?
I think you should ease up on the volume and do a more explosive setup. More plyos, some sprints, some jump squats, and maintain the 80% of deadlift/squat.

Oh yeah… talk to ACBarch or some other freaky guys here. Some have HYOOOGE verts.

Take that as a positive. You finished top eight in nationals as your old, non-explosive self.

Train to be more explosive and you could be number one maybe.

You have relatively good base strength.
Long read, but the stuff about rate and duration athletes could really help you identify your deficiencies.

Thanks for the link and the comments. I’ll read through it.

I have always felt like I was overtraining, but I’m confused because my gym lifts are going up constantly and my energy levels aren’t bad. That was literally the first time I have ever done a vertical jump test so I can’t say if my vertical has improved/got worse due to training. Maybe I just have no clue how to jump (well, I know I don’t). I also look at a lot of other top athletes and see them training much more often than I do (I know it’s not the best indicator but still).

I’ve had good results because I have good technical skills, good anaerobic endurance, and good competitive psychology. Now that I have identified my weakness (explosive strength) I think I can get to the next level as long as I successfully improve it. I am moving to a different city in a few weeks to train with a few very high level coaches (2000 olympic team coach) so I should be in good hands there. It’s just that the selection process for the national team begins shortly after I get there so I need to do all I can currently to get ready.

One other question, is it possible for people to have a large percentage of fast twitch muscles in their upper body, but mostly slow twitch in the lower? My hand/arm speed is far above average for my skill level, but my foot speed is probably about average for a top 8 fencer. When I do a 1RM bench press it usually doesn’t take very long, but my squat is pretty slow I think.

Thanks for the speedy replies guys
Some of that stuff will probably help your testing skills and make you look better in the eyes of coaches. It won’t make you more explosive to have a better test on test day. But w/e.

And as far as upper/lower fast twitch, look at chickens. They have fast twitch upper and slow twitch lower, because they need to fly and all they do is waddle around otherwise. I’d bet humans probably are similar.

This is just my best guess here and I am sure others know better and will be willing to give you a better take on it.

On average people have about a 1/1 ratio of fast to slow twitch fibers, unlike a chicken humans fibers are more evenly dispersed although there are some muscles that do have higher concentrations of one or the other.

From what I understand the which came first the distance runner or the slow twitch fibers debate still goes on though there is a decent amount of evidence that atleast some adaptability can occur. I would not expect there to be any huge difference between upper and lower fiber ratios but this is just my best guess I could very well be wrong.

I also would guess that speed of 1rm of an exercise isnt the best indicator of muscle fiber compisition.

I am really dumb… I just realized something

My right leg is 24 inches… my left is 22

Thank you fencing… you ruined my body lol

Must have something to do with me being a pretty fast fencer and a pretty crappy jumper, right? When I just stand and jump on my right leg I get a few inches higher (no joke) than my left.

I do bulgarian squats already, but something tells me I am never gonna fix this.

I’ll post a pic in a bit.

I think vertical is mostly genetic and based on body leverages. My vertical is weak but I am still a fast sprinter.

As are a lot of things ut it doesn’t mean it can’t be improved.

Kelly’s VJ Bible is an excellent, easy to read resource.

I second that. Get the VJ Bible.

Cool. Another fencer in the forum!

While vertical jump is a good indicator of explosiveness, I wouldn’t obsess over it too much. If you have had success competitively, you have to be fairly explosive. I call non-explosive fencers “targets” :slight_smile:

I think your lack of vertical is likely because you never have practiced jumping and (like Blinky said) your particular morphology is sub-optimal for the vertical jump. This does not mean that you can’t improve, but keep it in perspective. Improving your vertical is not likely to lead to direct improvements in your fencing. I have a 36" standing vertical, but the only time I ever use it is for in-fighting situations. My opponents find it quite surprising when they are trying to hit my chest and wind up off-target on my leg (I fence foil.)

Suggestions: If you decide that the best use of your time and effort is to improve your vertical, I would start out simple and just practice jumping 3x/week for 3 weeks. Get in a good warmup, find a target that is slightly higher than your current vertical and try to touch it. Do something like 3-4 sets of 4-6 reps. For some variation, also try doing the jumps with a one or two step approach. My guess is that you will see massive improvements in your VJ simply by doing it regularly for a few weeks. At that point, you can re-assess and see what you need to do to keep improving.

Haha, my speed is definitely above average on the piste. I think a lot of it is just efficiency of movement, rather than explosive power. My right leg is also considerably larger (I’m right handed) so I can fleche quite quickly which gives me the change of speed when I need it.

Anyway I will try your suggestion and let you know how it goes. I have a tournament this weekend as well as the next one though so I am going to continue my general preparation until they are done.

Thanks for the help guys. Lots of good suggestions.

Hey john. do you want to do a little review of that book before i purchase?
Im always wary of these type of ebooks/webiste’s
Usually just rehashed versions of free info from online.

Kellys book is very good, but that said, read DeFrancos article linked above, Kellys own articles on his site, the article CT did on T-mag and you have 95% of it right there.

As Joc says there is plenty of info out there already.

Ya i’ve read that defranco article and its good. esp the rhythm squats and jerks.
I dont think there’s any “secret” to improving your vert though.
squat&clean&jump and you’re on the right road.
Its only a matter of when and how much to do of each.

Another one of kellyb’s article i think should be stickied on top of every sport forum online

I make a point of re-reading it every now and again before i go thru my program.

The more we learn about a particular topic the more we have a tendency to outthink ourselves and lose sight of what’s really important. The most basic and direct approach is often superior.

If in doubt get back to the basics.

Some of that stuff is gold dust. I know it wont help win an olympic medal but its helped me no end…

Kelly’s Article is genius. KISS.

And Deadlift Baby … deadlift all day … every day

For what its worth;

I experimented with some novice lifters using a simple 3 x p/week lifting schedule which included some basic deadlifts (no lowering of the bar), hurdle hops, explosive pushups, etc. and had great results.

I agree that there’s no real secret to it, squat, deadlift, whatever floats your boat. Add something else in that’s a bit explosive and your cooking with gas.

Good call on just practicing the vert. I’m not tapered at all right now and my vert has improved 3.5 inches. All I changed was adding 3 sets of maybe 5-6 jumps 3 nights a week.