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Wish You Had The Ability to Dunk?

Updated on March 30, 2013

How to Dunk and Jump Higher

Wanting to learn how to dunk a basketball? Or even how to jump higher? The slam dunk is one of the most exciting plays in sports. It demonstrates an athlete's strength and power. Dunking on an opposing team can be the most intimidating move and will lower the opposing team's spirit. Basketball players have become superstars for their ability to fly high and jam on opponents like Michael Jordan and Dr. J. Nothing can amaze the crowd and change the tempo of the game like a spectacular dunk can. If one wants to improve their game and gain respect from their teammates and opposition learning to dunk is a great way. The main steps in dunking a basketball are being physically and mentally ready.

Before you try it in a game..

Before you should try to dunk they need to make sure they are physically prepared to. You does not need to try to dunk for the first time in front of people. If someone does try to they miss they may be reduced to just dunking cans for fear of more embarrassment. Only try dunking in a game if the player knows they can especially if you are in an important game were every ball possession needs to be productive.
First, and most importantly you need to be physically capable of jumping high enough to dunk. You need to at least be able to get five inches over the rim to be able to dunk. To start, you should test a current vertical jump. If you can grab the rim, it is a great start. If you cannot grab the rim or even the net for that matter, they have a lot of work to do. You may also need to work on the mechanics of the jump.

Dunk Inspiration: Blake Griffin

Best Workouts to Improve Vertical

You to figure out which training routine is best. There are several different paths to the rim and each has its benefits and difficulties. Two common methods are weight training and polymeric training. It is advised to combine the two which gives you the best of both. Weight training will give the player pure strength in the legs and arms to be able to jump higher. Polymetrics are stretching and shortening exercise that combines strength and speed to achieve maximum power in functional movements (Walker 3).
Plyometric training will bring faster results but will wear off quicker than weight training because weight training builds muscle strength whereas plyometrics teaches the muscles to react and flex quicker. Larry Judge, Assistant Professor of Physical Education at Ball State University, advises: "Although plyometrics have proven results, athletes without proper preparation, inexperienced athletes, or younger athletes can easily get hurt". "An athlete must establish a fitness base before progressing to higher intensity work", Larry goes on to say (Judge 8). This is the reason why you need to complete some weight training before going into plyometrics.

Weight Training to Dunk

In weight training, squats and Olympic lifting will make up the basis of the workouts. Squats load the legs with power every time you thrusts up the weights. Doing squats with about 80-85 percent of your body weight five times as quick as possible is a common drill. You need to avoid going too heavy on squats since this can lead to developing the player's muscles to act slower. Also try to only dip to a ninety degree angle with the quad muscles parallel to the ground. Olympic lifting can also be extremely effective in putting explosive power in the legs. When Muscle Fitness asked LA Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant what type of weight training he does Kobe replied, "It's all Olympic lifts. I do a lot of track work" (Guarneri 8).

An athlete needs to work on single leg power the most. Working on each leg at a time will decrease the risk of having one leg being the dominate side. Luke Lowrey, the founder of, talks about the importance of single legged exercises: "Gains (weight) made in the standard squat (double-leg squat) do not translate so much to gains in the single-leg variation. But, gains made in the single-leg squat will always translate and remain consistent when applied back to the regular squat" (Lowrey 7) . Luke goes on to advise, "Single legged hyperextensions are the single most effective exercise ever devised for increasing single-leg athletic power output" (Lowrey 7).

Increase Your Vertical with Upper Body

Another aspect of the training that is commonly avoided is the upper body. The shoulders and core can have as much to do with the vertical leap as the legs do. Seated bench presses and lateral pull downs are a great way to strengthen these crucial muscles. Core workouts like sit-ups and Russian twist will tighten the abs and make them work like a spring during the jump. One problem that some athletes have is they can jump high enough to dunk but they cannot hold on to the ball. Weightlifting should help grip strength it not, try squeezing a tennis ball for thirty minutes each day.

Take a look at NBA players like Dwayne Wade, he has freakishly huge shoulders. Dwayne uses his shoulders to seize a rebound and thrust off opposing players and also to push him up vertically to dish out another spectacular jam. Just be careful not to be too bulky on top since this will just add more body weight to thrust up.

Plyometric Training for Incredible Vertical Gains

After you completed a few months of weight lifting it is time to start the plyometric training. Plyometric training builds muscular power that is involved in specific muscular movements which are called Myotatic "stretch-reflex". Which occurs when the muscles stretch (this is called the loading phase) and then quickly contract thereafter (SANTOS 903-09). Doing a smaller volume of plyometrics will give better results than larger volumes (De Villarreal 751-25). Box jumps is a good starting drill. Line up 3 boxes with the first being the highest, the second being the lowest and the last being the middle height. Jump from ground to box as fast as possible trying not to stay on the ground any amount of time.

The next good drill is to use a plyometric exercise machine called the VeritMax. The VeritMax system has been proven to give athletes big results over conventional training methods (De Villarreal 731-34). The last plyometric drill can convey even bigger results than the VeritMax is the depth jump (McClenton 321-25). This drill should only be done once a week and at least three days prior to a game. Depth jumps have the athlete standing on a box that is as high as the feet get when the athlete jumps from the ground. Then step off the box and as soon as the player lands on the ground explode up with as much power as possible and throw your hands to the sky. I advise doing only two sets of four reps with this drill.

Along with weights and plyometric training it is crucial to also do sprint and endurance work. Having the physical ability to dunk is worthless if you are too tired in a game to do it. A good way to develop basketball endurance is full court sprints. Allow thirty seconds or less of rest between each sprint. Another good way is to get into a defensive position, and go left to right horizontally across the court. Once the player has developed strength, explosion, and endurance they will be an unstoppable force on the court, allowing them to dunk at will over the helpless defense.

Who's the Best Current Dunker?

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Training Schedule

You need to create a training schedule after deciding which workouts they will use. This will help keep track of when the athlete should complete the exercises. When planning, keep in mind the different types of training you will be doing. Plyometrics are hard on the joints so try doing these three times a week and weight training two times a week(Walker 1). Weight training should not be done every day because muscles need time to repair. Also, be sure to mix and match different exercises and drills so they do not get boring and routine. The training for the off season should be different for the in season. The owner of the net's leading fitness and strength training site, Lynn Vandyke, says: "Typically, the strength training program is most intense during the off-season".



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