Originally Posted by Hoopla
Technically, your overall potential is at its peak when you're 21. However, unless you're training 24 hours a day, its uncommon to ever reach your maximum potential fitness. With this in mind, you should be able to keep improving up until your late twenties, when the decline will become a little more noticeable
I've heard various accounts of physical peak being anything between age 21 and 27. However, I'm a big believer in the idea presented here. I believe we can see a smooth or sometimes dramatic drop in athletic ability amongst aging NBA players because many of them have been pushing themselves and reaching their peak for as long as they've been in the league.
For example, very hypothetically, let's say Kobe Bryant's maximum potential vertical leap was 42''. Due to the extreme manner with which he was pushed to work out and achieve the most out of his body, he likely came very close to reaching that number for many years, perhaps meeting 95-100% of his athletic potential. As such, the moment his body begins to decline, it'll become noticeable that him even reaching his full potential for his age may result in lesser numbers (say, a new maximum vertical potential of 38'').
On the flip side, I'm going to use myself as an example. As a 21 year old, I could dunk comfortably and my running max vertical was right around 34''. At that point however, I was not affiliated with any teams, coaches or trainers and it's clear and obvious I was not pushing myself to the absolute limit. I worked hard, but not "achieve 100% potential" hard. Let's say I only reached 70% of my max potential at that age, where if I was fully committed and busted my tail off, perhaps I could have been a 38'' inch guy or something.
I'm 28 now. I think it's likely my maximum jumping potential has dropped. Perhaps the hypothetical 38'' mark is no longer reachable. However
, this year I began committing slightly different workout regimens to maximizing my jumping ability. As such, perhaps at age 28 I'm reaching 75-80% of my max potential for my age, compared to the assumed 70% at age 21. As such, my vertical number has sustained or even improved since I was 21.
To break it down in simpler terms, all hypothetical
For someone (a pro) with a max potential vert of 42'' at age 21, with 100% workout tendencies and effort, they will likely come close to jumping 42''.
When that same player begins to age, their max potential vert will drop. By age 28, it may only be 38''. Still assuming they're being pushed to 100%, they'll have a 38'' vert.
For a regular person, their max vert may be 40'' at age 21, but they may only have 70% workout tendencies and effort, so perhaps they only develop a 33'' vert.
As that regular person ages, again let's say to age 28, their max vert may only be 37''. However, perhaps they have 75%-85% workout tendencies and effort now, thus perhaps leading them to a vertical number closer to their body's maximum - somewhere in the 34-35'' range, which would in fact eclipse their younger vertical number.
Long story short, I think most of us likely do not push ourselves as hard as humanly possible, so there's likely a bigger window to make ourselves jump higher in comparison to professional athletes, who have likely been achieving their maximum potential (or very, very close) for as long as they've been playing.