Jump Higher Without Getting Stronger: How hip extension and acceleration work together

Jump Higher WITHOUT Getting Stronger

How can you make an athlete jump higher WITHOUT getting stronger?

Can you increase vertical jump while struggling with an injury?


This case study will talk you through what I did for our client, a female college Volleyball athlete.

For a short summary, start at 10:31-10:57.

If you watch the full thing, you’ll get:

  • What kinds of athletes learn how to push well (that is, all the way through their concentric movement)
  • The acceleration profile of a squat (and why that CANNOT be the only thing you train)
  • A good way to maximize vertical jump height
  • My car acceleration runway analogy (I’m pretty proud of this)
  • How the GymAware really helped us out here (but you don’t NEED to have one to make these changes)
  • Putting two inches on a vertical jump in six weeks WITHOUT getting stronger (what’s the only real difference between then and now? See 6:56)
  • A simple explanation of the physics of what’s going on with some example types of athletes that you can relate to this (If you want to go deeper, you should watch Brandon’s series on biomechanics)
  • How our client increased her power output in her jump by 24% (that’s MASSIVE)
  • The exercise I chose to use (maybe you have better ones?)

You have to get your athlete stronger, but you CANNOT do it in spite of making them a better athlete. Don’t forgot ballistic movements! The physics is different and it needs to be trained differently.


Any questions? Leave a comment below and let’s chat in the Facebook group.

Here’s a question on measurement:

Using the GymAware software, how did you find out how many inches prior to toe off the athlete was decelerating?

On this page, in the upper right hand part of the screen, switch to acceleration instead of force, power, velocity, etc.

To find out an athlete's deceleration when using the GymAware software, you first need to switch your measurement to "acceleration".

Then select the rep you want to examine.

To find out an athlete's deceleration when using the GymAware software, you first need to switch your measurement to "acceleration", then highlight the rep you want to examine.

Then run the cursor across the rep to see the stats for that position. When doing a CMJ, the GymAware should zero out automatically in the resting/standing position. Toe off will be another inch or 2 above the 0 mark. You will also see a drastic drop off in acceleration just after toe off so that is a marker for it as well.

5 Speed Training Elements You Need to be Implementing: Takeaways from Lee Taft's Speed Retreat

5 Speed Training Elements You Need to be Implementing

I just got back from Lee Taft’s Speed Retreat last weekend. Part as a helper, part as an observer.

Speed and agility could be so complicated if I hadn’t learned so much from him.

This weekend got me thinking. Sometimes it’s nice to circle back to the things you used to do. We get away from these basics as we explore and experiment with new ideas, but don’t lose focus on the major things that work.

Let’s not overcomplicate things. Here are five takeaways from Lee Taft’s Speed Retreat. Watch the video below for the details.

Skipping matters

I’ll show you four different types you can use to teach sprinting mechanics, where people mess up, how to cue them, and a quick skipping progression we use with our athletes to teach sprinting mechanics.

Cuing matters

I’ll show you the difference between rehearsed and goal-motivated drills, why deceleration is overemphasized in strength and conditioning, and what good cutting looks like (to illustrate my point)

Use bands to create better cuts

I’ll show you three different drills of three different difficulties, how you need to hold the band to get the adaptation, and why these drills work better over the long-term than spoken cues.

Use med balls to create better cuts

I’ll show you a quick progression of 4 med ball variations that create stiffness and optimal biomechanics, why upper trunk and shoulder rotation shouldn’t be here, and how to cue it.

Have Go-To correctives ready to go

I’ll show you a kid with a floppy trunk as he re-accelerates out of a cut, I’ll show you a girl who does it a lot better, and then seven different correctives of varying difficulty that I have at-the-ready to fix this issue. We’ll also talk about how your regressions might be doing your athletes a disservice.

Read More

Rib Cage Motion, Neuropathy, and Aerobic Training


Click here to download the notes

Recommended reading

Here are some books and articles mentioned in this month’s Q&A:

Other posts

I have talked at length about the infrasternal angle. See “Choosing Corrective Exercises for the Upper Body”.

Choosing Corrective Exercises for the Upper Body: Why scap push ups won't fix winging shoulder blades

This Q&A’s Children

FYI: This Q&A gave rise to two other child posts

Common Aerobic Energy Systems Misconceptions
Identifying "Normal" Movement
Are YOU Ready for the Working World? Advice from an 18-Year Industry Veteran

Are YOU Ready for the Working World?

The Big Question: If you could alter the space-time continuum and give your young self one piece of advice about training and/or life, what would it be?

I ask all of my podcast interviewees this Big Question. The clever ones flip it around on me.

It’s a tough question to answer, especially when you’re happy with your current position in life (work, family, friends, financially, etc.).

In this video, I want to discuss:

  • My answer to The Big Question (and why it’s hard for me to answer)
  • What my life looked like in 2002 (and how I made end’s meet)
  • Why I wish I had a mentor at that point (really wish I had taken that gig with the Indianapolis Colts)
  • Why you should BE PATIENT… you don’t need to “be an adult” right away
  • A story of one of our old interns who had a better course of career (and did ANOTHER internship after our’s)

Read More

What Should I Look for in a Mentor?

What Should I Look for in a Mentor?

I remember starting out as a young coach. I didn’t know anything.

But then I met some people I looked up to. Mentors. They took me under their wing, teaching me the ins and outs of coaching and gym etiquette. I learned how to get strong (and deadlifted 545lbs).

Mike Robertson sumo deadlifting 545lbs.

Eventually, I grew away from them. I became my own coach. I spent time around powerlifting gyms and around rehab gyms. I found a way to mesh the two, forming a newly cohesive type of training. I saw the importance of both and went off on my own.

Robertson Training Systems was born. I wrote articles for T-Nation. Then for my own site. I trained people in gyms. I trained teams. I trained people in their homes.

Then I opened a gym. I’ve worked with professional athletes from all different sports: MLS, NBA, MLB… all kinds of athletes.

None of that would have been possible if I didn’t have the right mentors early on. The people who help you find your Way before you know what your Way is.

I want to help you find your own mentor. Do you know what to look for?

We’ll discuss:

  • The importance of age difference.
  • What wisdom means in a mentorship.
  • How having wisdom is different from having knowledge.
  • The power of telling someone they are wrong (or, at least, uninformed or insufficiently thoughtful)
  • The importance of freedom and why you aren’t supposed to just be a Dolly the Sheep clone of your mentor.
  • Why you BETTER be a better coach than me when you’re my age.

Read More

The Thorax Becomes the Pelvis

docendo disco, scribendo cogito
I learn by teaching, I think by writing

I was feeling fired up, so we decided to go a little long on this month’s Q&A. Hope things aren’t too repetitive or boring for you, and — PLEASE — as always, ask any questions below. If something wasn’t cleared up, I can work on my explanation and try again soon.

Make sure to download the notes to help follow along and, if you get lost, there are some other videos linked below that should help you out.

Also worth noting: I decided to give drawing on screen a shot this month. Did you think it was helpful?

Read More

How to Set New Year Resolutions with Mike Robertson

Set New Year Resolutions

I start every year out by looking back over the last twelve months to see how it went. What happened, where can I improve, etc. The only way you can know where you’re going is by first knowing where you’ve been.

Hopefully you take this video a learn more about me.


I wanted to show you this process so that you can use it for yourself. I’ll walk you through EVERY step I did when evaluating my 2017 goals and setting my 2018 goals.

2017 Year End Reflections

  • Thoughts and reflections about 2017
  • The goals I set for 2017
    • Business goals
    • Finanacial goals
    • Physical goals
    • Mental goals
    • Family goals
    • Spiritual goals
    • Lifestyle goals
    • Relationship goals
  • The wins, losses, and others of 2017
  • A sneak peek into my actual schedule (this was a big issue for me)
  • Most importantly, how I’m going to enact those goals


How do you simplify your life? Leave a comment below.

2018 Plan for World Domination

  • My BIG focus for 2018
  • The strategies and tactics that I will use to stick to my big 2018 focus
  • Outcome goals vs. process goals

How can I maximize my time on my favorite things?


What are your favorite things? How do you maximize your time on these things? Or do you consistently do things you don’t like? Leave a comment below, I’d love to hear from you!

Cutting Biomechanics: How pressures, pelvic position, and performance are related

Cutting Biomechanics

Note: This post has a free quiz below!

Impromptu IFASTU. Let’s talk about the bootydo [30:30].

This was a fun one. Bill and I got to talking the other day about cutting mechanics and pressure moderation in the body. If you want to understand movement, you need to understand how humans manage air.

This post is more advanced. If you find yourself getting lost, you may want to watch Brandon’s intro to biomechanics.

Read More

The Biomechanics of Performance

The Biomechanics of Performance

First questions to ask yourself
  1. What forces are acting?
  2. What direction are those forces being applied?
  3. How big are those forces?

Biomechanics is an essential area of rehab and performance that every coach and clinician should understand, but there is one BIG problem. Ever pick up a biomechanics book? If you’ve so much as peaked at one, you probably saw a ton of technical jargon, physics, mathematics, and endless equations. While the fancy equations might be useful for researchers, coaches need a working knowledge of a few biomechanics principles to really make that knowledge useful in the gym. So, cut out the equations, and grasp the concepts. In this video series, we’ve done just that.

This 4 part video series will go through the core principles every coach should understand to make their training more effective, prevent injuries, and make better decisions when writing programs or adjusting things on the fly.

  1. Biomechanics and Coaching
  2. Essential Concepts for Coaching I
  3. Essential Concepts for Coaching II
  4. Biomechanics for Peak Performance

Anytime I’m working through biomechanics of a movement, the first things I ask myself are:

  1. What forces are acting?
  2. What direction are those forces being applied?
  3. How big are those forces?

Read More

Deadlift vs. Squat - Are you giving your athlete the wrong exercise?

Deadlift vs. Squat

Are you giving your athlete the wrong exercise?

Do you know what changes you get from a deadlift? How about a squat?

These exercises are NOT just for pushing up your lifts: they can create different physiological adaptations in the neuromusculoskeletal system.

Knowing what those adaptations are allows you to choose which is best for each athlete.

See how it impacted an elite volleyball player in this video.

Read More