Adding 10 inches to your Vertical Jump while adding 80 lbs of muscle

Over the last 4.5 years I have had the pleasure of training Luke Buckley of Walpole, MA. He is one of the most dedicated athletes I have ever seen. He has a contagious work ethic on and off the field.

I first met Luke in early June of 2011. We sat down and talked for 30 minutes about nutrition, hydration, sleep, and how to really take care of one’s body. Luke was entering the summer prior to 9th grade… weighing in at a daunting 107.8 lbs while earning himself a modest 21.5 inch Vertical Jump.

Fast forward 4.5 years and Luke now weighs in at 189.8 lbs, 8% body fat, with a vert jump of 31.5 inches. That is an increase of 82 lbs and 10 inches on his vertical jump.

Below is a screenshot of his performance tests of the past 4.5 years.

Luke Buckley
Senior, Xaverian Brothers HS
Lacrosse, Attack
Committed to Ohio State

6/22/2011

Weight Vert Jump Hang Clean Chin Ups DB Chest Press
107.8 21.5 N/A 8 35

1/14/2012

Weight Vert Jump Hang Clean Chin Ups DB Chest Press
124.6 22 95 10 45

1/4/2013

Weight Vert Jump Hang Clean Chin Ups DB Chest Press
139.2 23.5 115 12 55

1/10/2014

Weight Vert Jump Hang Clean Chin Ups DB Chest Press
169.4 26 165 14 70lbs

1/5/2015

Weight Vert Jump Hang Clean Chin Ups DB Chest Press 40 yard dash Body Fat %
189.8 31.5 230 18 95lbs 4.6 8.2

This is all well and good, but how did Luke make these gains? My athletes roll their eyes at this point since they have heard me preach the following hundreds of times:

Anyone can go into the gym and throw weights around and run sprint, only a few can really commit themselves to a consistent A+ diet. You only spend 5-6% of your life actually dedicated to training; a very small percentage. What are your doing with the other 94-95%?

Lifting weights and running sprints is all just a stimulus. Getting bigger, faster, stronger is the adaptation. You will spend 5% of our life creating the stimulus and 95% is spent adapting to this stimulus. Maximizing this 95% completely depends on your ability to optimize your individual nutrition, hydration, and sleep. My job is create the stimulus and give out the tools to maximize the adaptation. It’s on the athletes to execute this recovery and preparation plan.

Below is a sample outline of what Luke Buckley has been eating for the past 4 years. Granted, I have modified and tweaked this nutrition plan over the years but you will get the idea. (Note: There are many strategies used to getting bigger, faster, and stronger. The goal here for LUKE’s specific nutrition plan was to eat like an absolute monster during his off-season (Aug 1st – Feb 1st) and facilitate big strength and power gains. During the pre-season and in-season sessions (Feb 1st – spring lax – summer recruiting tour lax) Luke ate for athleticism, utilizing his strength and power gains as tools to build speed and explosiveness.

OFF-Season Nutrition

Breakfast: 8am
Vitamin
4 egg omelet, 1/2 cup spinach, cheese
4 slice of bread with 4 tbsp almond butter
dash of cinnamon on bread
OR
Protein Shake, containing the following:
8oz water
2 bananas
2 cups blueberries or strawberries
4 tbsp almond butter or peanut butter
1-2 cups of granola or oatmeal
30g of casein protein powder
Alternative Options
“breakfast pudding” put the following in a blender
2 frozen bananas, blended until creamy
1/4 cup of almond milk
30-40g of casein protein
2 squares of cacao chocolate
with side dish:
4 pieces of whole grain toast
2 tbsp of almond butter or peanut butter
1 tsp of creatine in coffee or green tea
Snack 10:30
2 cups of granola
Chobani Yogurt
1 cup blueberries/strawberries
1 fish oil capsule
Lunch 12:00
12oz of lean meat (fish/turkey/chicken/beef)
2 cup brown rice/quinoa
2 cup veggies
Snack 2:15
PBJ with a piece of fruit, or…
1 wheat wrap
1 banana
2 spoons almond butter
Workout 3:15
40g of grass-fed whey protein/20oz water
3 cups of any fruit
Recovery 5:00
16oz of lean meat
3 cups veggies
1/2 cup sauerkraut
2 large sweet potatoes or baked potatoes made any way you like
Rebuild 7:30
8oz of lean meat (fish/turkey/chicken/beef)
1 sweet potato
1 cup veggies
(based on goals, carb optional)
Snack 930
2 tbsp of Almond butter
2 celery sticks
Pre-Bed
1tbsp flax oil
500mg magnesium (2 tablets)

Non – Workout Days(Training 3:15-4:45)
“Moderate Calorie Day”

Breakfast: 8am
3 egg omelet, 1/2 cup spinach, cheese
Vitamin 2 slice of bread with 4 tbsp almond butter
dash of cinnamon on bread
OR
Protein Shake, containing the following:
8oz water
1 bananas
1 cups blueberries or strawberries
2tbsp almond butter or peanut butter
1-2 cups of granola or oatmeal
30g of casein protein powder
Alternative Options
“breakfast pudding” put the following in a blender
2 frozen bananas, blended until creamy
1/4 cup of almond milk
30-40g of casein protein
2 squares of cacao chocolate
with side dish:
2 pieces of whole grain toast
1 tbsp of almond butter or peanut butter
1 tsp of creatine in coffee or green tea
Snack 10:30
1 cups of granola
Chobani Yogurt
1 cup blueberries/strawberries
1 fish oil capsule
Lunch 12:00
12oz of lean meat (fish/turkey/chicken/beef)
2 cup brown rice/quinoa
2 cup veggies
Snack 3:00
PBJ with a piece of fruit, or…
1 wheat wrap
1 banana
2 spoons almond butter
Dinner 6
12oz of lean meat
2 cups veggies
1 cup sauerkraut
1 large sweet potato or baked potato made any way you like
Snack 9:30
6-8oz of lean meat (fish/turkey/chicken/beef)
1 sweet potato
1 cup veggie
Pre-Bed
2 tbsp of Almond butter
2 celery sticks
1tbsp flax oil
500mg magnesium (2 tablets)

Pre & In-Season Nutrition

Workout Day (Training 5:00-6:30pm)

Breakfast: 8am
4 egg omelet, 1/2 cup spinach, cheese
2 tbsp of Almond butter
2 slice ezekiel bread or oatmeal
dash of cinnamon on bread
1 Vitamin
Snack 10:30
2 cups of granola
Chobani Yogurt
1 cup blueberries/strawberries
1 fish oil capsule
Lunch 12:00
8oz of lean meat (fish/turkey/chicken/beef)
1 cup brown rice/quinoa
1 cup veggies
Snack 3:00
PBJ with a piece of fruit, or…
1 wheat wrap
1 banana
2 spoons almond butter
Snack 5:00
granola bar
Workout:
40g of grass-fed whey protein/20oz water
1 cup of melon
1 cup of blueberries
Recovery 6:30
10oz of lean meat (fish/turkey/chicken/beef)
1 cup baked potato (or beans)
1 cup veggies
Rebuild 8:30
8oz of lean meat (fish/turkey/chicken/beef)
1 sweet potato
1 cup veggies
(based on goals, carb optional)
Snack 10 (if needed)
2 tbsp of Almond butter
2 celery sticks
or 1 cup veggies (pending goals)
2 tbsp hummus
Pre-Bed
1tbsp flax oil

Non-Workout Day

Breakfast:
3 egg omelet/scrambled
1 cup spinach
1 cup diced pepper
oatmeal
1 scoop peanut butter
1 dash of cinnamon
Snack 1:
1-2 cups of granola
Chobani Yogurt
1 fish oil capsule
Lunch:
Garden Salad
6 oz of lean meat
balsamic/olive oil/vinegar
1 cup of sweet potato
Snack 2:
1 cup of almonds
Dinner:
6oz of Lean meat
1 cup of veggies
1 cup carb(pending goals)
Snack: (if needed)
1 cup veggie
1 tbsp hummus
or
2 tbsp of Almond butter
2 celery sticks
Pre-Bed
1tbsp flax oil

TRAINING

Luke’s training consisted of the following (strategies/volume/intensity predicated upon training season): We used progressive overload, de-load, off days, active rest days, rest weeks, etc… in a well-balanced and strategic training program. Below is a brief illustration of Luke’s training over the years, and I apologize in advance for the ambiguity of the program description. Often times we would have multiple types of training on the same day… some days would just be speed work/agility and conditioning.

Example Training Session: 90 minutes Start to Finish

  • 10-15min Warm Up – Myofascial Work – Dynamic Stretch – Corrective Exercise/Activation
  • 10-15min Speed Technique – Speed Work
  • 5-10min Plyos/Core Work
  • 45min Resistance Training (Lift)
  • 10min Conditioning: Bike Work or Sleds
  • 10min Foam Roll – Static Stretch

Strength/Power Training:

3-4x week for 45 minutes. The following were all used as “tools,” and pending the training season we would move the training pendulum toward one tool more than the others. Utilizing Olympic lifts, power lifts, and “functional training.

Speed/Agility Training:

2-3x week for 20-30 minutes

Balance/Core/Corrective Exercise/Flexibility:

Worked in throughout every training session and off-days

Conditioning: 2-3x week focusing on anaerobic output (note the lack of “classic long distance training”)

Pending the day of week/phase conditioning included the following:

  • Circuit Training 10-15 minutes max
  • Shuttles ranging from 5-50 yard segments and 50-300 yard total distances during one set.
  • Sprints 10-50 yards
  • Bike Work (great for low impact conditioning on lower body days)
  • Sleds (all shapes and sizes) never pushing/pulling for more than 60 yards
  • Slideboards (never longer than 30 seconds at time)

INJURIES

  • 2011 – Rolled Ankle, minor sprain
  • 2013 – Rolled Ankle, moderate sprain
  • 2014 – Shoulder Subluxation, grade 2

Take Home Notes

This cannot be stressed this enough: any athlete can go into a gym, lift weights, and run sprints. Not many people have the dedication to maximize the nutrition, hydration, and sleeping portion of the program. A “training program” isn’t just lifting and sprinting. It is preparing food for yourself throughout the day, planning ahead, getting to bed early, taking advantage of off-days (insert myofascial work and stretching here), being smart enough to take REST WEEKS, incorporating a deload week every 4-6 weeks.

Enjoy the process. Training for sports performance is a journey. Sports are fun. The training process promotes personal growth, provides structure, improves mental toughness, builds character, and helps establish personality. This journey is yours, you ultimately decided where it takes you.

Joe Drain CSCS

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