Max Schmarzo on Plyometrics, Jump Training and Elite Athleticism

Playing sports initiates all things performance, whether it’s about trying to be a better jump shooter or a better athlete.

And that’s exactly the catalyst that sparked the passion of applied sports scientist and educator Max Schmarzo.

After playing Division III Basketball for Coe College, where he also completed his degrees in athletic training and strength & conditioning, Max was further inspired by the knowledge and experience he earned as an undergrad and collegiate athlete.

He later furthered his studies and earned his Master’s degree in Exercise Physiology at Iowa State University.

Today, in addition to his work as a professional consultant, Max is the founder of Strong by Science and co-founder of EdgeU, a platform that helps others develop their craft as trainers, coaches, and therapists.

Max joins me today to share his humble beginnings as a basketball player and discuss what inspired his passion for jump training.

He differentiates extensive from intensive jump training and describes their inverse relationship with each other.

Max explains the different variables he considers when developing a training program and discusses the different kinds of jumps and jumpers.

He also highlights the foundational quality of strength training in developing jumps and underscores the importance of bringing critical thinking to physical preparation.


Jumping is pure movement. When someone jumps really high, it’s a pure expression of something immediate that we can’t really describe. – Max Schmarzo


This week on the Physical Preparation Podcast:

  • Max’s background and his early experiences in Physical Preparation and Strength & Conditioning
  • His frustrations with basketball and how he was introduced to biomechanics at a young age
  • What sparked Max’s enthusiasm and dedication to jump training
  • The difference between extensive and intensive jump training and how they’re inversely related
  • When and where to implement extensive and intensive jump training
  • Why people have challenges with the landing aspect of plyometrics
  • The difference between jump training and plyometrics
  • The different kinds of jumps and jumpers
  • The role of stiffness and ankle work in jumps
  • How maximum effort can make people revert to bad habits
  • The value of strength training in improving the vertical jump
  • The reason it’s important to track your progress when jump training
  • The value of data interpretation and critical thinking
  • The biggest mistakes people make with their jump training
  • How to get the most out of your jump training
  • The good and the bad of fitness apps and technology


Resources Mentioned:


Connect with Max:


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