What is Vertimax?
Vertimax is the number one training device used to increase players’ jump height, linear speed and explosive power. Depending on the model, the machine consists of a five- to six-by-four-foot platform fitted with a set of elastic cords that can be secured to a player’s ankles and other key points for added resistance. Vertimax machines do come at a fairly high price point (around $3,000), but most basketball gyms will have at least one.
If it’s your first time on a Vertimax, make sure you warm up well prior to standing on the platform. Don’t bother hooking up to the resistance cables just yet—you’ll need to nail your jumping and landing, first. Make about 10 vertical leaps to get comfortable on the device, making sure you’re looking straight ahead instead of at your feet. Focus on a maintaining a consistent rhythm by launching as soon as you land, smoothly bending your knees and extending your arms behind your back upon landing to absorb impact and work through your full range of motion—never land stiff-legged. A quiet landing is a sign of good form. Once you master this, you’re ready to start adding resistance with the bands.
An entry-level jumping exercise on the Vertimax involves applying resistance to only your waist. Keeping in mind the earlier tips, explosive power can be effectively built by performing jumps in five to six sets of six to eight repetitions each. Vertimax trainers suggest two to three sessions a week for noticeable gains. If you’re ready to graduate, however, this device is unique in that it allows for multiple points of resistance—you can add cables to your arms and legs as well. Training with all five points of resistance factors in arm swing velocity, which is responsible for about 10 per cent of your vertical jump performance.
Linear speed training
Although jumping may be the device’s biggest draw, you can take your workout off-platform as well. Connect one of the tougher resistance bands from the rear of the machine to your waist. Bend down and enter a runner’s position before explosively sprinting as far as the bands will allow. Vertimax trainers suggest 10-14 explosive starts two to three times a week, alternating your leading foot each time. For a harder workout, this drill can be augmented by running in several directions. Mark three points about 30 feet away from the platform, one centred with the machine and the others six feet to either side. Perform sprints toward each of the markers in succession, returning to the platform after each attempt.
This basic side-stepping drill can increase your lateral acceleration for those all-important moments when you need to manoeuvre around defensive players. Shift one of the tougher resistance bands at the rear and two of the lighter resistance bands at the front toward the centre of the platform by sliding the pulleys attached to the frame. Hook the rear cable to your waist and the two at the front to either ankle. After positioning yourself sideways, shift the pulley attached to the leg away from the platform about a foot so its cable doesn’t interfere with the leg closer to it. Perform a sideways shuffle about 30 feet away from the platform, making sure you do so in a straight line and focus on explosive movement. Return to the platform and repeat the exercise another four times before reversing direction.