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HOUSE OF MERCY

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Product and Program Reviews

As you know there will always be some new "fad" exercise or program to try to achieve gains when it comes to increasing your vertical or speed. Plyometrics, box jumps, jumping rope, calf raises, bounding, running, weight training. All are valid. Which is best? Which ones don't work? I have yet to come to that conclusion. One last note, don't let cost stand in your way. Some of these products are pretty good.

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Training Equipment:
 
Strength® Weighted Vest and Shorts
Strength Systems, Inc.
Cost $269.90 plus $10.50 shipping
Toll free phone : 1-800-451-JUMP

http://www.weight-vests.com
For Discounted Prices Call (714)843-9248

Now I personally have these and use them for ALOT of things. They work good for everything from adding weight in plyometrics to making my boxing conditioning workouts more intense. The best part is that its very fitting. My old weight vest "All pro contour foam" was big and bulky and would bounce around whenever I moved like a fat girl wearing a shirt 3 sizes too small. Strength Vests are made sort of like a scuba diving suit where its real right on your body help by a belt and zipper but at the same time the weights aren't digging into your ribs.  Go workout, run, whatever. I would think the purpose of this "suit" is that you don't necessarilly need to change your workout to see greater gains. The added weight, of which you can purchase additional units when you are ready, is placed strategically with becoming clunky. Don't expect results overnight but trust me, this vest and shorts set does help.

Result: Worth the Buy

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Jumpsoles from JUMPUSA

JumpUSA
140 South Whisman Rd.
Mountain View, CA 94041
Cost $99.90 plus $8.62 continental U.S. shipping
Toll free phone : 1-800-JUMP-USA (586-7872)

http://www.jumpsoles-forless.com
Discounted Jumpsoles: Call (714)843-9248
JumpuSA Jumpsoles at a discounted price.

Jumpsoles are probably one of the most popular vertical leap devices to come along in a while. Everyones heard the stories of 5'6 guys strapping on jumpsoles and in a month hes throwing down windmill dunks. Again, I've had these for a while and I just dont see it. First off the program is mostly basic plyometrics combined with light weight lifting. Jumpsoles focus most of the plyo stress on you've calves assuming that you'll develop a 50 inch vertical just by doing overstressed calf raises and your achilles tendon. Partially true since people say a good amount of explosivness comes from your achilles tendon which gets a good stretch from these. The down side is most of your vertical comes from your hips and hamstrings, not your calves. The workouts pretty simple, and basic, few rim jumps, bounding, weighted lunges etc.. So you'd still gain even without the  jumpsoles minus the stress that they put on your knees. Think of it this way. Take a rubberband, put something heavy on one side and pull the other side real quick. See how the one with the heavy side doesn't? Thats what happens in your knee with weight shoes or ankle weights. So be careful because while your body is going up, the weights are pulling your feet towards the ground.

Result: Go with the weight vest first.

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Speed Trainers
 
Speed Trainers
Kolka Equipment LLC.
6346 Orchard Lake Rd. Suite #10
West Bloomfield, Michigan 48322
Cost $59.95 plus $9.95 continental U.S. shipping
Toll free phone : 1-800-626-6866

 
Pretty straight forward. Work on your form while strengthing key running muscles. Many NFL players use these along with Parachutes to work on their speed and I've heard they work pretty well. I myself have not used them yet as I'm waiting to hear from the owner but my friend Miles Austin who recently signed with the Dallas Cowboys used them to drop his 40 yard time while training for the 06 NFL combine. Also their not that expensive running you about 60 dollars plus shipping.
 
Result: Worth the buy

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Sky King Calf and Ankle Isolator
 
Vertical Power Company
Cost $79.00 includes shipping
Toll free phone : 1-888-809-9245
 
Not going to lie, when I first read about this in slam magazine I thought it was a joke. How could this be any different then doing normal calf raises with a barbell or on a seated calf machine which are a piece of cake. WRONG WRONG WRONG!! Anyone who has issues with rolled ankles should invest in this. I bought both the ankle and calf isolators and I was more then impressed. Now as someone who does track,football and basketball plus workouts out 5 days a week, my calves are very above average when it comes to strength but after trying the calf Isolater it quickly showed I had more work to do. The coils that come with it are much harder then the weights since the position your in eliminates any other body part helping move them. Even after doing calf raises for years I had trouble finishing the workout when I first got the isolator. The workout consists of calf raises in 3 different positions (forward, toes out and toes in) and take maybe 30 minutes. You don't feel too bad although I don't recommend you go play basketball right after a workout (I tried it, got a fast break and my legs were so dead from the workout I had a larry hughes moment and completey clanged a dunk off the front of the rim). The only 2 downsides I see with this are 1. The price, kind of steep but not much different than most things you can buy now for your vertical
2. If you have weak arches, using this KILLS. Eventually your arches will get stronger (took me a few months) but until then I could barely do all the sets because of arch pain (I have like no arch so too much stress on it hurts alot)..
Result: If you have the money, get it

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The Basketball Intelligym: Think Faster, Play Better
 
Call 1-800-575-4223

Basketball IntelliGym Personal Edition:$99.95

Basketball IntelliGym Personal Edition Gold:$189.95

Ah the Intelligym. A interesting idea...but does it work? The owners were kind enough to send me a copy to find out for myself. Thats already a good sign that they were 100% sure about their product, most companies wouldn't do that. So I tested it out. At first it seemed kind of odd. It comes across as your basic Atari type games but the whole idea is the situations that the game puts you in helps work the same brain patterns that you would used in your real life basketball games. I know, it sounds pretty futuristic but after getting the hang of it, I can kind of believe it. I havn't had it turn me into Chris Paul yet but I can easily see a difference during games with my decision making skills. It is already helping me make smarter choices and seeing the easiest way to make a play without forcing things or really slowing down and hesitating. I'd recommend it to serious players or coaches in a heartbeat (2x if your a point guard). I wouldn't recommend it though if your just average joe who doesn't really take it serious cuz you'd probably be wasting your time but its a must for college players. When I get a chance I'll put up some before and after stats. Another big plus, the people who run the site are very responsive and have no problem answering your questions through emails and such.
The only downside is:
1. You have to do it 2-3 times a week 80% of younger athletes won't do that because most just aren't dedicated.
2. Like i said, it reminds me of Atari, and the sounds are kind of annoying but they make sure you know if your doing the right thing or not so its a MUST.
 
Result: Get it, its worth it, it helps, and its easy to use. 

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The Vertical Project
www.theverticalproject.com/
Cost $297.00, No shipping since you download it
Email (no phone number given):TheVerticalProject.com
 
I, Bron have not personally done "The Vertical Project". I get Lukes newletters and between reading that and talking to people who have used it, I don't think its worth the buy. But to be completely fair, one of the guys I train has used it, twice actually, so I had him write this review.
 
"Here is my review of The Vertical Project, For those of you that don't know, there is a product out on the internet called "the vertical project", Basically a product that they claim they can "double your vertical leap or your money back," now this product does not come cheap, I bought it last march when it was $150, but recently the owner, Luke Lowrey, raised the price to 250. This product is very difficult to understand to the average athlete, and it centers around basically an eating and recovery plan which luke calls "the window plan" . It starts 1 hour and 30 minutes before you work out and ends 3 hours after you work out. In short, before the workout all you do is eat a certain meal and take a certain supplement. After the workout you have meals at different times, take two showers doing cryotherapy (shower switching between hot and cold), do oxygen drills to help strengthen your respiritatory system, and stretch 3 times. The workouts for the most part consist of high volume low weight style of training, with a few max effort excersises such as deadlift holds and bench press holds, you workout six times a week, and generally the workouts last an hour to an hour and 30 minutes. Now enough advertising, lets get to the neccesary information. Ok, well this product has two main claims to 1. double your vert. or your money back and 2. that you will gain 6 inches in 60 days or your money back. Here was my experience with the product. I did the product twice, once right before the summer of 2006, and the 2nd time was right after the summer of 2006. The 1st time after 3 weeks i gained 3 inches, i was excited, then as i finished the program and tested my vertical leap i found that i only gained 2 inches. Then during the 2nd time i did TVP i gained 1 inch. Now i will be the 1st to tell you the customer service is horrible once you are asking for a lot of help, before the product i would get answers to my e-mails within a few hours, once i had the product and started asking questions i would get e-mails once a week at most. Now, since i hadn't lived up to their gurantees i asked for my refund, they waited a few weeks and sent me a reply which without going into a lot of detail they said that they werent going to give me my refund because it had been past their gurantee. I sent my refund question a few weeks before the 90 days, yet they neglected to reply until the "90 day gurantee" was over. Now I am not an Einstein but it doesnt take a month to get an e-mail and reply to it when before I could get a response within a few hours. And for the window plan, generally speaking, most people run on a tight schedule, let alone have 5 hours of their afternoon to give to working out. However I made the sacrifice because I am commited, but commitment can only take you so far when you are getting scammed out of your money. Luke has two big claims of note. 1. he says he has helped 9 "average-Joe" athletes get over a 50 inch vertical leap, and he claims at a certain point in time he had over a 40 inch vertical leap and was getting recruited by many big colleges in the u.s., yet he has no video-proof of him or his athletes doing big things. 2. he claims to have a "secret-vertical leap exercise" which are basically just ankle hops with jumpsoles and ankle weights, i went through that program too and gained a whopping total of 0 inches! This is my review of TVP, and although I know I will not get my refund, I am interested in helping others who want to get better athletically, and there are way better things that you can be doing than getting scammed by such punks like Luke Lowrey."
 
Result: Don't get it. Costs way too much with
        evidence to back up the over the top claims
        minus testimonials he could have easily
        posted himself.

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ValSlide
 
$29.99 + Shipping
11693 San Vicente Blvd #134
Los Angeles, CA 90049
(301) 571-1720
 
A friend told me about a training product that he saw in "Mens Health" magazine. The product was called the Valslide. I got in contact with the creater, Celeb fitness Trainer Valerie Waters, to find out more about it. Valerie was kind enough to send me her travel kit to test them out for myself. Now anyone who has read my reviews knows that already is a plus in my book because people who make junk products, don't offer them up for a free review. It shows Val doesn't mind backing up the claim that its a great product. Oddly enough after a few workouts, I have to agree. Athletes know the saying "KISS or Keep-It-Simple-Stupid" and the valslide keeps is simple yet very effective. A simplified version of a high priced slide board, the ValSlide has alot of perks. Think of it as if a slideboard and a beach sandal had a baby. It has all the training ability of a $300 slideboard, its easy to transport and the workouts are quick and get a good pump in circuit training fashion. Possibly the most imporant part is once you get the hang of it you can get really creative with your workouts. I was kind of doubtful at first seeing as how simple it looked and knowing my training backround but the Valslide gets the job done. I only saw two minor issues and that was more to do with experience than the product itself. First, the platforms can come off your foot if your not putting enough force down. Secondly if your not in decent shape or not used to how the sliding resistance works, you can get stuck in positions, like say...a side lunge (as my mom found out) and go past your comfortable range of motion. But again, once you get the hang of it or by holding onto something, these both become easily fixed. Will the Valslide help the average soccer mom get in shape? yes. Will the Valslide alone get you a college scholarship? Probably not but you can easily swap it into your current workout OR do one of the workouts she gives you in her booklet on your off days for the extra muscle burn if you want to be really badass.
 
RESULTS: For women: A Must Have. For Men,could be too easy but add a weight vest or dumbbells and your in for a real workout. Also a must have. And if your a Hockey player? buy a pair and train in any weather.

IF YOU HAVE A PRODUCT YOU WOULD LIKE REVIEWED FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME AT: 40INCHVERT@GMAIL.com