First of all, realize that the more inches on your jump you gain, the more slowly future gains will generally roll in. The longer you spend on the same training program, the less you have to gain using it. This typically happens in a fairly logarithmic fashion, meaning that gains are greatest at first, and taper off quickly.
Most of the gains in a training programs happen early and taper off as the program progresses
It is also important to realize, with any training program, that the training needs of an athlete change over time, and what works for an athlete one year might not work as well for them the next. As athletes get more efficient and coordinated through training, their needs change (often in the direction of needing more specific training).
As an athlete trains over time, the gains on their jump will come more slowly. A beginner with no training, or a poor training background can expect to gain 4-8” on their jump in several months on virtually any training program that incorporates a spectrum of vertical jump training methods (lifting weights, plyometrics, sprinting, specific jump practice, nutrition, etc.).
For detrained, or beginner athletes, virtually any training will yield gains that come easily for some time period. Granted, there are some ways to elicit gains that are better than others particularly those that are focused on building the proper jump technique, which will maximize an athlete’s performance ceiling later on. This goes not only for jumping, but anything else in athletic development.
An intermediate athlete with a few years of lifting and/or plyometric experience can expect gains of 1-4” on their jump in a few months, training on a “generally good” program (meaning it is composed of fairly specific/high transfer training methods, and has some sort of progression to it).
I get questions from many athletes in this intermediate bracket. It is also this training bracket where the “$67 training programs” will be unable to deliver on their claims of 8-12” vertical jump gains, which are reserved for beginner trainees (although the actual gains of beginners is more in the 4-8” realm). For these intermediate athletes, I strongly recommend checking out Vertical Ignition and Vertical Foundations, as both ideas for training to get to the advanced level, as well as for the educational means on how to progress above and beyond.
In the advanced phase of training, where athletes may have 3-4 years of solid training experience, or more, and have reached physical maturity (age 17-18), gains of 1-3” are acceptable, or good in several months. More advanced athletes, who have been training for say, a decade, will often find their performance goes up and down slightly on a yearly basis. A gain of 1-3” in a year for these athletes can be considered a good gain. Try taking a look at the yearly progressions of some elite high jumpers, who have the best coaches in the world working for them, to see what type of progression advanced and elite athletes will generally see in their training.
It is the advanced phase of athletes that I take the most pride in working with and eliciting improvements! Here you can see some testimonials from athletes I’ve worked with in advanced stages of training. Our customized online training program is the biggest step that you can take towards reaching your highest performance, especially if you have been training for some time.
An athlete also will adapt to a particular exercise, or even training format over time, and as the novelty of that training wears off, the athlete will find it less effective. This is why professional track and field athletes often switch coaches, because the novelty of a new training system (and philosophy) can often times yield gains that were not possible using the same system one had been utilizing for previous years.