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Ok, back to the calf raises…

A few days ago, I posted a video answering this question:

  • “What are the best calf exercises to jump higher?”

Here is my answer (in video format!)


Now that you’ve heard my answer, let take a look at this in action. Below, you’ll see a video of me demonstrating the role of hip extension in jumping. Notice in the first portion of the move that my lower leg is unable to assist in my jump. This is a great technique to teach athletes and lifter how to hinge at the hips and really thrust or explode with the glutes and hamstrings.


Many young athletes and beginner lifters have no idea how to recruit the muscles of the posterior chain (glutes, hamstrings, low back, etc.) The cleans, deadlifts, kettlebell swings, high pulls, squats, glute bridges, and hip thrusts I mentioned in the first video are all great ways to  strengthen those muscles and increase one’s vertical jump.

Here is an example of how I would structure a session for an off-season athlete. In-season, we don’t do plyometrics as the body and joints already take a high volume of pounding from games & practice.

  • Foam Rolling/Soft Tissue Work
  • Dynamic Warmup (includes mobility drills)
  • CNS Activation
  • Strength
  • Finisher/Conditioning
  • Stretching

Now let’s break those previously mentioned exercises into categories so we can talk sets & reps.

Main lifts: (Usually 1 per session – Done first in strength portion of session immediately following CNS activation)

  • Deadlifts                                                          6-10 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Squats                                                              6-10 sets of 3-5 reps
  • Olympic Lifts & Variations                          6-10 sets of 2-3 reps
Accessory Lifts: (2-3 movements per session depending on goals, volume, intensity, and athlete’s physical preparedness)
  • KB Swings
  • 1-leg Squats
  • Lunge Variations
  • Rack Pulls
  • RDLs
  • Glute Bridges
  • Hip Thrusts
  • Goblet Squats
  • Sets and reps can be anywhere from 2-5 sets of 8-20 reps.

I don’t care if you can do 200 calf raises with 1000 pounds and perfect form. Give me a guy who can clean 2X his bodyweight and I’ll show you a dude with a jaw dropping vertical!

Take home message…GET STRONGER! Get off the leg press and calf machines and learn how to execute these basic barbell and dumbbell moves and strive to increase the amount of weight you can use over time. (Obviously with good form – no injuries!)

If you don’t know how to perform any of these moves or you have any questions