With the 2016 Summer Olympics about to begin, the desire to have the ability to dunk a basketball is at its highest. Who wouldn’t want to be able to show off and throw one down in front of a bunch of people at an outdoor basketball court? And before you begin making excuses about your lack of height, remember that 5’7” Spud Webb won the 1986 NBA Slam Dunk Contest.
So just how can you make the necessary adjustments that nature didn’t give you to improve your jumping ability? We were afraid that you would never ask.
There is no exact science to work towards your goal but there are definitely ways that you can do whatever it takes to improve your current situation. You need to build up your leg power and explosiveness and here are some of the exercises that you should do to hopefully one day be able to slam it home.
Many people like to perform this movement with added weight, but we suggest to use just your own body weight. Doing them with even a 135-pound bar is an invitation to a back or shoulder injury and that will only put you on the sideline in street clothes.
Hold your arms straight out in front of you with your palms down and go down into a full squatting position. Then imagine your heels driving through the floor as your return to the starting position.
This is a great warm-up exercise and be liberal with the repetitions – up to 15 or more. One-to-three sets will suffice.
The granddaddy of them all. This is the most basic compound movement for your lower body and will help you in more ways than you can count. It will definitely help your ground-based movements, which a slam dunk obviously starts out as.
Use a moderate weight that you can handle for 12-to-15 deep reps and if you feel up to it, go a little heavier on the fourth and final set – as long as you can perform eight reps.
Start out with the shorter ones, of course, and work your way up to the medium and then the higher sets. This is a great tool for explosiveness and you shouldn’t be overly concerned about rep count here. The key is to use proper form, get your knees up as high as you can and land squarely.
Another movement that is about form and results rather than how many you can do. Always try and beat your last measurement and keep doing them throughout your workout, a few at a time.
*Keep in mind that both box and vertical jumps will differ greatly from the basketball court. You will most likely not be standing still and jumping from that position when trying to dunk, so feel free to do them in more than one fashion. Also do them after taking two or three steps towards the box/line and rotate your plant foot.
Similar to the squat, these are great overall strength builders and you should follow the same advice as far as sets/reps/weight goes.
You need your lower legs to jump high so remember to give your calves some attention, as well. There are a number of exercises you can choose from, such as standing calf raises, seated calf raises, leg press calf raises, etc. Do two different exercises each time and keep the reps up to at least 12 per set.