Training for the Vertical Jump

A quick Google search will uncover a seemingly infinite number of articles that promise to increase your vertical jump. They advise everything from jumping in sand or water to using a shoe that has a platform at the ball of the foot and no heel (that may look fantastic on Victoria Beckham but we wouldn’t suggest it as a great way to train vertical jump if you value your ankle health). They will tell you to train all the smaller muscles that contribute in relatively minor ways to the vertical jump, and even some that don’t, while virtually ignoring the major contributors. The long and the short of it all is – who can you trust?

We will discuss the vertical jump and offer some training advice as to how to increase your vertical jump. This series may be of interest to volleyball and basketball players who jump as part of their sport performance as well as football and hockey players who will be asked to perform vertical jump testing at combines and training camps. Testing the vertical jump and maximizing your opportunities for performance in that test are a whole different subject. This article will examine how to train to jump as high as you possibly can.

The first thing we should do is decide what muscles are contributing to our ability to vertical jump. The posterior chain is to the vertical jump as location is to real estate. That is to say the major contributors to an athlete’s ability to get into the air are behind them. The glutes contribute 40% of the force output in a vertical jump and the hamstrings produce another 25%. (Poliquin, 2006) If this is surprising to you, what comes next will completely shock you – the quadriceps contribute a mere 5% of the force output and the calves another measly 5% (those numbers are rounded up!). The shoulder flexors, on the other hand, contribute 15% of the vertical jump force. (Poliquin, 2008) A study by Fukashiro and Komi in 2005 suggests that the rank order of the muscles firing in a vertical jump is “hip greater than knee greater than ankle”. We can hear a collective “Huh?” What this means is that the greatest contribution to the vertical jump is made by the hip extensors, followed by the knee extensors, and then the ankle extensors. Still not very clear? Let’s relate these to muscle groups. Extensors of the hip … glutes, hamstrings and spinal erectors; of the knee … quadriceps; and of the ankle … calves. So, we’ve discovered that the posterior chain (hamstrings, glutes, spinal erectors) is the “prime mover” when it comes to the vertical jump. This knowledge will help us focus our training on the muscles that matter when it comes to increasing our vertical jump and enable us to train with a “most bang for the buck” approach.

Before we hit the gym to start our vertical jump strength training, we have to know a little bit about ourselves. I had a football coach many years ago whose favorite saying was “Athlete, know thyself!” He was a pretty smart guy and I think that saying applies just as well here. In order to put all of our power into the ground and jump as high as possible, we must start from a stable platform. You wouldn’t jump off a wobbleboard and expect to get a great result so why would you expect a great result if you have muscle or structural imbalances? The human body does a very impressive job of adapting to its environment. If we have a muscle that is weak, our bodies adapt to that weakness and work around it – our bodies will find a way to get the job done! The secret is to identify those weaknesses and correct them in order that we begin from a base of structural balance. SST’s assessment protocols are designed to identify those imbalances and help us to design a program to correct them. Book your assessment at any of SST’s locations today. There is strength in balance.

We intend to discuss more about achieving structural balance with reference to some common trends we see in testing at SST, some fantastic exercises for gaining strength in the posterior chain, as well as some excellent “bang for the buck” Olympic lifting exercises. We will delve into plyometrics and their application to the vertical jump in sport performance for volleyball and basketball players, reiterate some stretching tips for the hip flexors (and maybe even throw in some stuff that might be new to you!), and give away a few tips to increase performance in the vertical jump test on combine day!

BTW…. with this vertical jump training in mind – check out our Volleyball Camp starting shortly HERE

How to lose 5lbs in your belly in two weeks!

In part 1 CLICK HERE I discussed the top 3 ways to lower body fat in your belly and thighs.

I have implemented a new type of weight loss program with clients and the results have been outstanding.  A mother and daughter team tried it for two weeks…results- both lost 5lbs  – 2.1% and 1.5% in body fat…what you need to know about these two is that their body fats were below 15% already!

How did they do this- yes they followed my new regimen but they took a few key supplements.  My favorite one: FENUGREEK SEED…what does it do?

  1. Attacks love handle fat
  2. increase testosterone
  3. improves digestion
  4. Reduces inflammation!

If you like to come in for your complimentary NUTRITION consultation during the month of June please email me back “I want in Dawg!”

So you wanna get big…

SST’s 8 Methods to Getting Bigger!

SST has worked with thousands of athletes; some needed to drop a few pounds while others would be considered “hardgainers”; those guys that say “no matter what I do I can’t gain weight.”  Here are the 8 methods we here at SST use:

  1. Sleep – If you want to pack on muscle, your hormones need to be optimal. When you sleep, your body releases growth hormone.  If you are only getting 4-5 hours a night, or waking up every hour, that needs to change.  You will need to block at least 8 hours per night!  Plus take a nap every day!


  1. Eat 6-8 times per day – If you want to get big you cannot skip meals. If you skip a meal you’ll never get it back!  Hardgainers generally have higher metabolisms and need to eat more calories.


  1. Get enough protein – You will need to get 1.5 – 2 times your bodyweight in grams of protein daily. If you weigh 160lbs that would be 240g-320g daily.  Break that up into 6-8 meals and you should be in the range of 30-40g per meal.


  1. Train at the same time – Studies show that if you are on a routine of getting to sleep, waking up, and training at the same time every day, then your results will be improved. Schedule your workouts like appointments!


  1. Post workout shakes – We like to use a combination of Carbohydrates and Protein.  Timing is important, so try to have it as soon as you finish your last set.


  1. Choose Compound movements as your base – Squats, Deadlifts, Dips, Military Press, Chin Ups and Bench Press. Do not be afraid to lift heavy weights, either.  When you are done your workout, go REST!


  1. Working out is not a social event – When you are done a set, start your stopwatch. When it your specific rest period is over you’d better be lifting!  Do not be hanging around…..maintain your focus!


  1. Train Hard …Then go Home – After your general warm up (approximately 10 min) your workout should be 45 minutes to 1 hour.   We like to use antagonist muscle pairings to get more work done in less time

Here is a sample program: Extended Giant Sets.

Day 1 – Upper

Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 Supinated Chin Ups 4 4-6 4010 15s
A2 Pronated Chin Ups 4 3-5 3010 15s
A3 Horizontal Rows – feet elevated 4 8-10 2012 3m
A4 45 Incline DB Bench Press – N to P 4 4-6 4010 15s
A5 DB Bench Press – Neutral Grip 4 6-8 3010 15s
A6 Decline DB Bench Press 4 8-10 3010 3m


Day 2 – Legs

Order Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1 Back Squats 4 4-6 4010 15s
A2 Low Pulley Split Squats 4 8-10 3110 15s
A3 Backwards Sled Drag 4  40 yds XXX 3m
A4 Lying Hamstring Curls 4 4-6 4010 15s
A5 Romanian Deadlifts 4 6-8 3010 15s
A6 Back Extensions 4 8-10 2011 3m

BTW…. Make sure to check out our Summer Football Camps HERE

Does The Low Man Really Win? (Pass Blocking) Part 2 (of 2)

Last week I introduced why the Low Man doesn’t always win the rep CLICK HERE

The equation put forth is:

Stability + Maximization of Length (without over extension) + Agility + Meeting Force with Force

= Higher Probability for Success

 I will break these down to optimize your success:

Stability – In terms of OL play this is our base, the most important aspect of any offensive lineman. If you start with a base that isn’t efficient chances are you are not going to have repeatable success. If you start wrong you’re probably going to finish wrong.

Maximization of Length – Being long is important for offensive lineman we want to keep the defender away from our frame as long as possible because this allows more time for him to make a mistake and for us to take advantage of this mistake. This needs to be done in good context, playing too long or getting over extended can create a whole host of problems. Arm length is where very key this is why at the combine they take this measurement to see if an OL can strike a target that is father away. Length is important but being “too long” can become very problematic.

Agility – Personally to me this is the more important piece of the equation. Can you simply stay in front of your man? Offensive Line play is played in a rectangle 4 yards in width and 7 years in depth. Do you have the agility to stay in front of the defensive lineman? If you cannot stay in front of any given DL nothing else really matters this is why College/University recruiters and NFL scouts look at agility tests closely.

Meeting Force with Force – If we look at Newton’s Third Law he argues that when every any two objects react they are applying force to each other. If we apply this law to a 1on1 pass block situation and an offensive lineman is able to stay in front of the defensive line man and then he turns it into a “bull rush” the OL needs to bleed the force out through the ground, this happen because the OL is applying force back and transferring it through the ground.

Pass blocking is a very unnatural task, we are asked to stop a force without knowing where its destination is. So saying the low man always wins doesn’t make any sense. This idea would make sense if we absolutely knew where the DL destination point would be, we have a pretty good idea where the QB is but that can change is a hurry. If the DL was just going to run in a straight line to a stationary QB then I would say sure get as low as you can and take on the impact, but this is not the case.

The bio mechanics of any given offensive lineman are different. Some players might be better if they are lower than the defender, given the body that they are working with. Others may play better if they are higher and longer. This really all depends on what you are working with physically. Getting low playing offensive line has its place, but you should be at your lowest point throughout the entire rep because this doesn’t fit into the OL equation for winning. Getting low should be a defense mechanism against the bull rush. So in my personal opinion the LOW MAN DOES NOT ALWAYS WIN!!!

If you like to learn more about my upcoming OL CAMP please email or call me at 905 632 3558 and I will register you up!

Jamie “THE BIG CHILL” LaLonde

SST OL/ DL coach

BTW… Also check out SST’s “Speed & Skills” Camp for 2017 – HERE

PLUS – it is a bit early but HIGH PERFORMANCE Camps – HERE

Top 3 ways to trim your thighs.

One of the most common questions I receive is “How do I get rid of unwanted fat around my butt and thighs?”

Here is my top 3 list of foods/ advice to trim up these high estrogen sites.

  1. Reduce alcohol intake – there is no point reducing estrogen if you don’t increase testosterone first
  2. Cruciferous veggies – broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts and kale just to name a few
  3. Watercress – one of the oldest leaf vegetables consumed by humans; this is the gold standard for estrogen modulators!

Next week I will explain the top 3 supplements to trim thighs!

Larry “The Big Dawg”

If you like what you read and would like to try a demo Butts and Guts class at any of our facilities please feel free to email me

New Team Member (Burlington) – Chris “Chico” Anderi

SST is very excited to announce the addition of Chris “Chico” Anderi to our team.


Chico will be overseeing the nutrition of the athletes and members at SST, in addition to serving as a S & C coach. His primary area of interest is optimal feeding to enhance performance, recovery, and body composition.

Here’s a little more info from Chico’s Bio:


Bachelor of Kinesiology, Brock University

Post Graduate certificate, Exercise Science for Health & Performance, Niagara College

(Current): MSc Kinesiology concentration in Physiology and Nutrition, University of Waterloo


Certified personal trainer

Certified Exercise Physiologist (CSEP-CEP)

Athletic Career

Brock University baseball 2010-2014, 2 OUA championships

CoSIDA Capital One Academic All American, Second team (1 of 22 players in Canada and US)

Summer ball: Niagara Metros (senior AAA)

Relevant Experience

S&C with Brock baseball & swim teams

Various Bootcamps for individuals of all fitness levels

Personal Trainer at Brock U and University of Waterloo gyms

Trained Jessica Lewis for 2 years – Bermudan Paralympic Athlete – Wheelchair sprint (Gold medalist, 100m wheelchair sprint, 2015 Para Panam Games)

Be sure to look out for the great INFORMATION and BLOGS Chico will be sending out in the coming weeks and months.


Speed Drills for Pro Sports – Part 3 (of 3)

Before you read part three make sure you go and read part two which is a very interesting read, If you haven’t here is the link. In part two we discuss the importance of agility training. In particular we discussed closed chain agility and open-chained agility. Both of these types of training can be very effective, but they need to be used properly with an understanding of what they do for an athlete’s development, in part two we discuss that.

Acceleration phase: Approximately 80% of most sports are played in this phase, so we spend at least 80% of our time training in this phase. Drills that I like to use include:

  • 2-point starts
  • 3-point starts
  • Band resisted starts: This is one of my favourites! Note: Please make certain you do not apply too much resistance in order to keep the athlete’s mechanics from being altered.
  • SpeedSac resisted starts: These are similar to sled sprints, but I have found that the SpeedSac to be more effective for two reasons. We can alter the weight to be more precise compared to the sled. The SpeedSac also has less shifting, as does the sled, thus our mechanics are not altered as much.

So, to answer the question, I like to spend 80% of my time training with open-pattern agility and acceleration exercises with my so-called more experienced athletes!

I follow the 80% rule in most things in life, and in this case, these training modalities provide our athletes with the best bang for their buck!

Speed is a very important aspect of all sports, but it has to be coached and developed in the right way. In this blog we discussed how to train speed and agility through numerous amounts of drills and theories. (Part 2 of 3) Not only is the teaching important but understanding who and how to teach/coach certain drills, will progress your athletes faster. (Part 1 of 3) Hopefully you all enjoyed reading this blog and will bring the principles taught in this blog to your coaching methods allowing you to coach your athletes more effectively and more efficiently.

Does The Low Man Really Win? (Pass Blocking) – Part 1 (of 2)

From the onset of an offensive lineman’s pop warner career the number one cliché that is throw around is that the low man will always win. Throughout my career I have had a number of OL coaches who firmly believe in this adage. I have found that this idea of the low man always winning may not be entirely true. Simply getting low is a by-product of having good technique but a given body type can only get so low because of their bio mechanics.

In this post I will be talking about this idea relating to pass blocking only, because this is where the real money is made in terms of offensive line play, run blocking is an attitude two steps in the ground, punch then be the meanest, nastiest person you can be. Pass blocking is a learned skill, because of its unnatural characteristics. This is why we need to take a very scientific approach to this aspect of offensive line play.

I will personally argue that just saying the low man wins is a very simple and obtuse way of looking at offensive line production. Everything has to do with biomechanics and physics, how force is created and stopped biomechanically will change for different body types.

I will go on to argue that the LOW MAN DOESN’T ALWAYS WIN. The dropping of your center of gravity is the idea of “getting lower” that coaches talk about. This idea is just a by-product of an equation I will go over later in the reading.

Very simply offensive line play comes to the generation of force through coefficient of friction. Basically what this means in terms of offensive line play vs defensive line play, the winner of any given rep is the person who can create more friction to propel there force forward (Run Game) or stop there force from going backward (Pass Game).

Here inlays the prehistoric way of trying to teach young OL athletes to become more powerful. TO GET LOWER. This idea is inherently problematic and I will explain why using an example.

If we look at arguably the best Left Tackle in the NFL; Tyron Smith from the Dallas Cowboys we can often see that he is always taller than most of the defensive ends that he has to matchup with every week so asking him to get “lower than everyone” might not be the best recipe for success.

If week look at this rep between Tyron Smith #77 and Jason Pierre-Paul #90 we can see that throughout the rep there are times that Smith is higher but somehow wins the rep. I will explain why and how he makes this happen.

1on1 pass protection is arguably the most difficult task in all of football. I have developed an equation that will help you maximize your chances of winning any given rep.

Stability + Maximization of Length (without over extension) + Agility + Meeting Force with Force

= Higher Probability for Success

Getting lower is simply a by-product of this equation. If you can be stable, long, agile and be able to meet force with force at the moment of truth all the while being as low as your body with bio mechanically allow you to be, all the power to you, but for most this is not the case.

Next week I will discuss all parts iof this equation and how to achieve success;

If you would like to learn more about my upcoming OL CAMP please email or call me at (905) 632 3558 and I will register you up!

Jamie “THE BIG CHILL” LaLonde

SST OL/ DL coach

‘SMART’ Goal Setting – Part 1

Goal setting is one of the most important skills an athlete can have, in order to help them achieve optimal performance. The goal-setting process helps athletes understand where they are currently and also where they want to go. But how do you set a goal?

Setting SMART goals is a great place to start:

S- Specific

A specific goal has a much greater chance of being accomplished than a general goal. It is hard to achieve a goal such as ‘get faster at running’ or “eat better”. It should be very clear what your goal is, such as “run 5km in 25min” or “eat 120g of protein per day”. Knowing EXACTLY what it is you want to accomplish will give you better direction in achieving it.

To make sure you goal is specific try answering these six questions when setting a goal:

o   Who – is involved

o   What – do you want to accomplish

o   When – establish a time frame

o   Where- a location

o   Which – what are your requirement and constraints

o   Why – Specific reasons, purpose or benefits of accomplishing the goal


M- Measurable

Establish some criteria for measuring your progress. When you measure progress, you are more likely to stay on track, reach your target dates, and experience the satisfaction of progressing towards your goal.

If you start with a 5km run that takes 35 minutes and 1 month later it takes 30 minutes you know you are making progress. If you have not made progress or very little that is okay too because it allows you to make adjustments in your training.

To determine if your goal is measurable, ask questions such as: How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?


A- Attainable

Setting an attainable goal can be tricky. If you set a goal to low and it is easy to accomplish it does not push past your limits. However, if you set goals too high you may never accomplish them.Goals should be within the realm of physics and plausibility for you but should also make you pee you pants just a little bit!

For me running faster is challenging but if I said I want to qualify for the Olympics for running (while that would be amazing!) is completely unrealistic for me. You want you goals to push you past your comfort zones and what you currently think you are capable of but not push you into a place that you are not able to succeed.


R- Realistic

To be realistic, a goal must represent an objective which you are both willing and able to work towards. Make a ‘to do’ list of sorts that will act as stepping stones towards your goal. To use my running example: run 30-minutes 3 times a week, do 2 interval runs per week, etc.

Consider your job, family, social life and make sure you choose steps that are realistic within your lifestyle. If I were to say I would get up at 6am 4 days a week to run I would be flat out lying (I am not a morning person).

You need choose things that you will ACTUALLY do (even on the days you don’t want to) in order to reach your goal.


T- Timely

A goal should have an end-date. A goal with no time frame is one with no sense of urgency. If I want to run 5km in 25 minutes when do I want to accomplish that by?  “Soon” does not work. Be specific and give your self a date, this will unconsciously set you in motion to begin working towards your goal, help you prioritize and hold yourself accountable for your training!


Here are a couple other tips that can help you set your goals and stick to them!

  • Tell EVERYONE you know about your goal. The more people you tell the more you will be accountable for that goal
  • Write them down
  • Write them in a positive terms, i.e.. “I will run 5km in 25 minutes or less by June 30th 2017”
  • Write down goal in as much detail as possible
  • Post your goal somewhere you can see it daily


Now, go set your goals and get to work! The results are SO worth it!!

Check back for part 2 of this blog where we discuss the three type of goals you can set; Outcome, Performance and Process goals.

If you need help setting your goals contact SST Mississauga to set up a personal goal setting session!