The year was 1988 and I was a sophomore in high school. At that time, I was well under 6-feet in height and really admired the shorter guys in the NBA that possessed phenomenal vertical leaping ability such as Spud Webb and Muggsy Bogues. So I began taking, what I felt like, were practical steps to achieve my goal to getting above the rim. I figured if I built my legs up, I would become among apart of the high-risers club, compete around the rim, and maybe even go out for the high school basketball team. I will never forget when my plan began to work. In what seemed like no time at all, I went from swiping the nets to touching the protective pad and backboard off of two-feet. From about 10-feet out, I was able to take a running jump off one-foot – slap the backboard, touch the bottom orange plate at the bottom of the rim, or at times graze the rim!
My dreams of dunking a basketball or pinning a blocked shot on the backboard soon came to a slow halt. One afternoon, I went to the gym instead of study hall. Almost identical to photo above, I began my routine hack-squat workout by warming up with 135 lbs, 3 sets of 10, and work my way up to my maximum of 435 lbs. It was a little dim in the room that housed the hack-squat machine that day and little did I know that someone was watching me in the shadows. This person emerged from the darkness. I remember being somewhat startled as the upperclassman began to chuckle with laughter. I recognized who it was. This person and I had a lot in common. Both of our families shared the same occupation which was masonry. Our two families were actually the top 2 competitors in the market area; our last names were synonymous with masonry in our town. He asked, “Do you mind if I get in here with ya?”. Sure, I said. The workout became a competition. No knee straps, no workout belts, just raw technique and God given strength. The workout had progressed to my maximum, 435 lbs. He pressed the weight after me and slapped on two more 45 lb plates. We kept going. He was winning on points. I had learned from peers and mentors that when pressing heavy weight, only go 1-5 reps; 3 to 5 reps; 1 to 3 reps; 1 rep or stop. The weight was so heavy to me that I had begun utilizing this method. My competitor was to, but he was able to go 7 reps before regressing his reps. I stuck to my plan and kept hanging in. Pretty soon I asked, “How much is on here?” We counted and it was 750 lb. My legs were beginning to feel numb. I said, “You first.” He went and strained out 3 reps. I didn’t even think I would be able to lift the weight off of the release bar, but I did. I strained out only 1 rep. It was at that point that I stopped. The senior upper classmate tried to get me to continue, but I refused. My legs were spent, wobbled out of the weight room, and made my way to study hall before the last bell. About two weeks later, I was on the orthopedic surgeon’s table having my right hip pinned. The doctor had discovered that I had injured my hip and diagnosed the injury as what is called a slipped epiphysis .
I recovered, but my pursuit of organized sports was over. Although, I was still competitive, my body just wasn’t the same. Now that I am older, I have considered hip replacement. It’s an inevitable reality and there have a number of athletes with an injury similar to mine. Much like myself, their sports careers ended shortly thereafter surgery.
In the meantime, I have developed a therapeutic regimen consisting of stretching, resistance training, diet, and exercise. I came across this product the other day and got excited. A compression brace for the hip!
Check out this video about the BODYMATE Compresson brace for the hip!
As for the athlete that has yet to face in career ending injury, God Bless you and keep you! I have some sound advice for you in closing. Take advantage of opportunities to take your game to the next level. One of those being the “The Jump Manual” by Jacob Hiller. This system has proven to increase your vertical leaping ability significantly! Here’s the information on how you can increase your vertical in only 2 weeks!!!