Here at Rebel, becoming more powerful is an outcome the majority of our athletes are chasing. This is why I wanted to bring on Rebel Coach Keiran Halton to sit down and discuss what may be the best power development exercise of all time, the trap bar jump.
Our discussion is centered around where the trap bar jump best fits in your program, what an appropriate weight selection would be for your goals, how many sets and reps you should be doing, and how often it should be incorporated in a training week. Listen in for a quick step-by-step guide on how to apply the trap bar jump effectively in your training program.
What You’ll Learn in this Episode:
- [04:22] Knowing what things in the weight room correlate to on-mound velocity
- [05:47] Using the trap bar jump as a power exercise primer
- [07:10] How often a trap bar jump should be programmed in a training week
- [09:18] Transitioning the trap bar jump from single reps to continuous reps
- [13:10] Why repeatability isn’t a huge focus when it comes to trap bar jumps
- [16:40] Protocol to follow for a loading perspective
James Cerbie: Alright, there we go. Going on. Dude, I feel like it’s been a little while since we’ve done a podcast on a podcast with any other Rebel family. I think it’s been a little bit of a hiatus.
Keiran Halton: Yeah. We should just record one of our monthly coaches meetings just to get the ridiculousness out of the podcast.
James Cerbie: Well, we have the training camp coming up here in April. That will be good. We’ll get some really good stuff there because we’re going to have a guy hanging out with us getting pictures and videos and stuff. So I’m hoping he captures a lot of the behind the scenes shenanigans.
Keiran Halton: Yeah. Impromptu calendar shoots and things like that.
James Cerbie: Yes. We’ll definitely 100% need to have Ryan on the Cure redo his cowboy calendar shoot. The world deserves to see that.
Keiran Halton: It’s funny, but it’s pretty good too. He’s got some really good poses.
James Cerbie: He’s a practice professional.
Keiran Halton: Yeah.
James Cerbie: If you ever want to see those pictures, you have to be on the rail performance training team, because those are hidden deep, deep in our private forum and trained heroic.
Keiran Halton: The one thing it would probably be, the last thing I see before I die is him, Ryan Whitehead and Pat Davidson on the beach in Costa Rica, all in micro bikinis. It’s a beautiful backdrop, and then you just see like a bunch of white cheese sticking out. Good stuff, though.
Knowing What Things in the Weight Room Correlate to On-Mound Velocity
James Cerbie: I love it. That’s the way it should be. Just fun. Just having fun. Laughing well, today we want to chat a little bit about power development stuff, something we haven’t really circled back to in a while. We obviously did an entire episode on why Olympic lists probably aren’t our number one choice in this realm. Not so they can’t work, they definitely can. Just not our top priority or top choice. So I want to talk about some of our other favorite options. And in particular, I really want to try to circle this conversation around the trap bar jump, which is something that we utilize a lot. And it’s something that the more I see it and the more I pay attention, the more it just strikes me as the biggest bang for your buck power development exercise that you can do. And like, we were talking about a little bit off air. Here is one of the things I saw recently, talking with a good buddy that trains high level collegiate professional baseball players. They’re always trying to see what sort of things in the weight room correlate to unmound velocity. And I always thought that it would be things like rotational netball throws, things that are more frontal transfers, plane oriented because power will have some plain specificity to it.
Knowing What Things in the Weight Room Correlate to On-Mound Velocity
And he said, hands down, far and away. The thing that wins from a correlation standpoint is the trap bar jump, which I thought was really interesting. And so I’ve been spending more and more time thinking about it. But I do think that a lot of people have questions with that trap or jump, just regarding how do I actually utilize it in a program like sets and reps and how much weight do I put on the bar? So I just wanted to see if we could provide some things in bowling that you put up bowling bumpers. Yeah. See if we can find some guide rails and bumpers for people here so they can start using that trap bar jump in their training. Because I think if you’re trying to become more powerful, it’s a no brainer. You should have it in the program someplace. So I’ll punt it back to you here. Maybe we can start off talking more. Just where does it best fit within a training day and within a training week potentially. And then maybe we can talk more logistics, like sets, reps and progressing it over the course of a program.
Using the Trap Bar Jump as a Power Exercise Primer
Keiran Halton: Yeah, totally. I definitely think it’s going to be I mean, I’ve seen people use it as like the main movement for the day, depending on what block you’re in or whatever. But I definitely think it’s a good kind of power exercise primer before your main squad effort, usually, to your point about the vector specific stuff, I just consider it more of like obviously a vertical kind of power development exercise. And interesting follow up to what you’re saying with the pictures and the horizontal stuff. We kind of mentioned this, but I got to remember the study, but they looked at transfer from essentially horizontal power exercises that don’t necessarily influence vertical, but vertical vector power exercises like the trap bar jump can improve vertical and carry over to the horizontal. Right. So pretty cool if you’re looking for a big bang for your buck stuff. But yeah. So I definitely would consider it more of like a vertical vector power exercise. And I really liked it before, like a big squat day.
James Cerbie: Yeah. I think when I’ve done it traditionally, do you get a lot of pre fatigue from going into a squat? Because when I’ve done it, usually I’ll probably throw it before, like a bench press.
Keiran Halton: Yeah. Because I would go like low volume and not that I was ever technically proficient or good at them, but I would do some hang cleans before bench day, too. So to your point, I could swap those. I go pretty low volume but pretty high intensity with those. So personally, I don’t feel too fatigued after it. But I could see why people would want to separate that.
James Cerbie: That makes sense. You’re only doing it once a week, right. Or is it something that you would put in more than one time a week for an athlete?
How Often a Trap Bar Jump Should be Programmed in a Training Week
Keiran Halton: Well, for the high school kids that I work with, I’m only using it once a week. And again, pretty low volume there. So in terms of frequency, usually just once a week, what do you use percentage wise for that, or do you have a cut off.
James Cerbie: That’s a tough one. That’s one that I’m still kind of like playing the landscape on. Right. Because sometimes it’s an eyeball thing. You’re kind of looking at it because I don’t know. That’s a horrendous answer for people listening. Right. But there’s a certain amount of integrity and velocity that I’m trying to see. When we were in Kentucky at the last training camp, we just started messing around with the trap bar just to see who could hit the highest powered number. And then Ryan Patrick like 315 on the bar and Ryan Patrick came over and did a really ugly glorified trap bar jump with almost there was like 365 on the bar. Right. He got off the ground. But that’s probably not really what we’re looking for here.
Keiran Halton: Yeah.
James Cerbie: And so I think part of it is just eyeballing. You want to see the integrity and the velocity be pretty good. I mean, in my mind, from a percentage standpoint, I think you have like a pretty good range percentage wise that you could attack this with.
Keiran Halton: So we’ll get like a daily vert and then usually like just a super general window, I try to load it to 70% to 80% of their height for the day. Okay. So if they have a 30 inch vert on the day, if they’re hitting sets within 21 to 24 inches, I’m happy with that loading, to your point. And I think even though you’re like, I actually think that the eye test is huge on that one. So I actually agree with you. And I think when you’re in that 70% to 80% range, it looks good. It’s powerful. They can move pretty quick. So I’ll actually use the cut off on the jump. And then I like that earlier in the blocks I might go like plus or -5% so even down to like 65% of the best height to a little bit above and then we’ll start speeding that up where it’s like we’re only cutting back to 80% to 85% of their best jump. So the velocity is picking up towards the end as we’re trying to peak them. And I usually use single repetitions, but maybe by the end of the training phase we’ll actually progress that to some continuous reps.
Transitioning the Trap Bar Jump From Single Reps to Continuous Reps
I think for most people using probably just the empty trap bar for single reps will be good. But I’ve had some bigger, stronger athletes hit like 135 for maybe three to five continuous reps where they’re not like, to your point, like dumping looking like the shoulders are going to get ripped out of socket. So I think that’s probably a good window for me. And I think it comes back to like the total systemic load because also I’ve seen some people use like, oh, percentage of body weight, but then it’s like the bigger like imagine your lineman who’s getting a bigger chunk and they’re already moving a ton more body weight than a skilled guy. So I think it’s good to your point, either go pretty low percentage or even a cut off on the jump.
James Cerbie: Yeah, 100%. So you put them in that 70% range in relation to the vertical jump, which I really like. Where does that fall generally with relation to there if you want to think about a one rep max, what percentage would that fall in? That.
Keiran Halton: To your point, probably under that 30% window, because I’m just trying to do like quick math. Because honestly most people, most of the kids will be an empty trap bar or like very light additional load. Some kids will actually cut them back to like 30 or like 35, and then after a couple of weeks they’ll get to the bar. So I think you’re probably pretty close with that 30% range.
James Cerbie: Yeah, probably a little bit less than that, actually. And I think it also just depends on the athletes age, what is their actual strength number? Because if you have some freak, let me just pop out the calculator real quick. Right. This is where sometimes this is not the most exact science. Right. But let’s say you have somebody that yams like 600 on a trap bar. We’re probably not going to go trap bar jumps with a buck 80.
Keiran Halton: Yeah, totally.
James Cerbie: If that strength number goes up, we’re probably going to be dropping that down. I’m probably thinking 15% to 20% in that range because that would at least put us at 90 pound, 20% of that would be 120. And like if you deadlift, 600pound off the floor in a trap bar and I put 90 pound on 120 pound on that’s like 15% to 20%.
Keiran Halton: Yeah, that sounds good.
James Cerbie: Then you can be pretty solid. You can probably crank that pretty good on single jump efforts, right?
Keiran Halton: Oh, yeah, yeah.
James Cerbie: That’s where I think 30% is at the very high end. I think I would definitely probably look more in that 15% to 20% range to start and then see how it looks and then modify from there. And then how much total volume are you looking at in terms of total reps? If you’re doing single reps with people, where are you guys getting to? On average.
Keiran Halton: I would say probably anywhere from eight or nine total reps to twelve to 15 on the high end. And that will probably be like the lighter guys or the guys who are moving a lighter load, probably not a ton more than that. And I’m just thinking about the high school kids right now. But if I had somebody like a couple of clients or a couple of the athletes that we have for Revel where maybe they’re trying to push the strength numbers more and it’s a little more of a strength block. I really like that just because it’s such a force based power movement. But I definitely to your point now that goes back to I don’t want to Cook them for their main squats or their main strength efforts. So they might be more on like the 8910 range total reps. Yeah, for sure.
Why Repeatability isn’t a Huge Focus When it Comes to Trap Bar Jumps
James Cerbie: And then I think that the repeatability question here is another good one. It’s like I don’t view the trap bar jump as being the place that I’m really going to focus on trying to improve repeated efforts with an athlete. Right. I’m not really going to get a lot of elasticity change there. You’re just kind of asking for trouble. I feel like it really is just about that singular effort of just going like let it rip and then we’re going to reset. We’re not going to try to tie these reps together, do tons of jumps. I don’t know if I really see the utility in that. Yeah, get that someplace else. With your plywood and jumps, there are plenty of other methods that you can use to work more on reactivity, pliability, repeatability. That doesn’t involve holding 45-95 pound in your hands.
Keiran Halton: Yeah, absolutely. I’m trying to think again. When I had Ryan Patrick programming for me, we definitely pushed the I think I was around like 225 or something like that. But to your point, it was like super low volume. It was like just being an animal on the take-off, like just absolutely dumped away at the bottom. But I trust me, but I don’t know how much I would procure for a ton of other people.
James Cerbie: Exactly. Like you’re an example of someone that’s a more advanced athlete. You have a great strength base. You’ve done it a lot. That 220 number is moving you up more in that 30% probably ballparkish range. But at the same time, we have to respect what you’re trying to get out of the exercise. Right. On a force velocity curve. This is like anything else that we talk about where you can kind of shift yourself and buy us more force or bias more velocity, depending on how you manipulate these factors. And as I move up the load, velocity is going to come down. I’m biasing more of a force change. As I move down the load, I’m biasing more velocity change. It’s kind of what we’re getting after here. Right.
Like, as you start getting up into that 30% again, I’m just talking reference to one rep Max. I think people can relate to that a little bit easier. But if you can do the method you talked about with the vertical jump, that makes vastly more sense. But in relation to one rep Max. Right. If you start getting up in that 30% range, we’re definitely becoming more force biased.
And not many people are probably going to be able to hang out and do a ton of work there. We’re probably looking more at that, like 15% range, like 10% to 15% on the one end and then up to 30% on the other. Probably. I’m imagining the range ballpark if we want to try to give some rough guidelines from a Loading perspective.
Keiran Halton: Yeah. Those numbers sound pretty good.
James Cerbie: Yeah, go ahead.
Keiran Halton: I was going to say, have you ever played with a contrast set where you’ll get maybe two to three really solid efforts and then go hit like set a box jumps or something like that after I haven’t done it with a trap bar.
James Cerbie: But that would be really interesting to go hit like one or two reps on the trap bar and then go into a jump or go into like a 20 yard Excel.
Keiran Halton: Yeah. To be honest with you, I trade with it more with contrasting the jumps. But to go back to that conversation of like the vertical could potentially bleed over to your horizontal, I think that’s a great way to kind of work on acceleration and things like that. Just to pair those two.
James Cerbie: Yeah. Because you’re definitely going to be primed. Right. Like, you could do a bar jump, your CNS is going to be ready.
Keiran Halton: The heavy trap bar jumps is like one of my favorite things to do. You’re just like you feel like an animal, you’re ready to go your heights up. It’s a nice way to get things moving.
Protocol to Follow for a Loading Perspective
James Cerbie: Yeah, 100%. So with this trap bar jump, we’re thinking one time a week you can put it before a squat day or before a bench. It really depends how much fatigue you feel gets carried over from that exercise. From a Loading perspective, if you have a job mat, you can do it that way. Follow that sort of protocol because it makes the most sense. Otherwise you have to play around a little bit. Right. And I definitely misspoke at the beginning. Starting at 30% is way too high. I think the load range that we’re looking for here is going to be more along the lines of like 10% out to 30%. Probably somewhere in there is going to be the right option for you to do singles. Probably not looking to repeat these bad boys and then give yourself complete rest. Right? You could do a jump and then probably rest 1 minute and then do a jump and then rest 1 minute and then do a jump. If you’re with a bunch of people doing it and you’ve got three, four, or five people lined up on a bar, that rest time will probably work itself out naturally just when you single file your way through it.
And a really good point, if your unloaded jump looks like complete and utter poop, please the love of God, don’t load it. This is the thing that blows my mind. You have people that they just move so terribly. You get them on a table and you’re feeling around and it’s like, all right, cool. Your shoulder flexion gets to your nose and you’re missing about 27 degrees of hip extension. You have no internal rotation. Here’s how we’re going to solve this problem. Since you don’t have it passively, I’m going to put you under a whole bunch of load because you’re definitely just going to magically reclaim it out of nowhere.
This weight is just going to force you into that position. You don’t have an overhead range of motion. Just start pressing stuff and doing pull ups. It’s going to work itself out, man. Especially when you start chainking up velocities like this. The risk just gets a little bit higher, that’s all. Make sure you can jump well unloaded and then like anything else, start super light and work your way up. You have nothing to lose. Just start with an empty trap bar jump.
Cool. Maybe put on some ten pound bumpers. Put on some more ten pound bumpers. Put on maybe another ten pound bumper jump and you’re going to figure out kind of where you need to be. Because I feel like when you do it, if you just slowly wave your way up, you feel when you are where you should be. You’re like, this is too late. And then you go to do a jump and you’re like, okay, this is too heavy. You kind of know. Yeah, less is more here. This is not the place where we’re going to try to get more load. Like if you’re debating between two weights, choose the lighter of the two options. That’s what we’re going to say here. 100%.
Okay. Awesome. I feel like we did a pretty good job with that. We’ll keep this one short, quick to the point for people. Well, thanks for coming on, dude. Everyone, I hope that you enjoyed this not as long as usual, but hopefully really tactical and straight to the point for you. Obviously if you have questions you can come hit us up on Instagram or any of the other places we hang out.