If anything came to surprise me about this journey, it was the sheer volume of physical pain involved. I had taken on impressive physical feats before. I had run a sub-3:30 marathon back in 2003 (my first and only attempt) after putting in the hundreds of training miles required. I’d done some of the most grueling weight training on offer, most of it either on the beach or at The Yard, a nearby temple of athletic performance where Maria Sharapova, Kobe Bryant and Tom Brady, among many others, have kneeled with exhaustion. But the physical toll of trying to dunk made the marathon and the semipro football and the parenting and everything else I’d ever attempted seem like mere rubber band snaps to the wrist. The lifting didn’t hurt as much as the jumping, the banging of my quadragenarian appendages into the ground, taking off and landing 50 to 200 times a day. My legs never got used to this bludgeoning, never got better at recovering from it, despite my daily foam-rollering, stretching, icing and hydrating. Even on my off days, a quick game of tag with my kids or a bike ride to the park meant daggers in my thighs and a gait like Fred Sanford’s.
Bodyweight squats are a great way to practice your vertical jump because your squat stance mimics the lowest crouch position of your vertical jump. Incorporate these into your routine twice every week, increasing the number or sets and reps as you improve. After you become comfortable with regular squats, consider adding jump squats to your routine.
The defining characteristic of the depth jump is that the jump is preceded with the strong eccentric (negative) muscle action caused by dropping down from a raised surface, as opposed to a standard box jump where you start on the floor. This makes the depth jump a true plyometric movement, where the muscles are stretched suddenly (by the impact of the landing), producing a powerful shortening of the muscle fibers.
The record for the most WNBA dunks belongs to Brittney Griner. As a high school senior, she dunked 52 times in 32 games and set a single-game record of seven dunks. As a standout at Baylor University, Griner became the seventh player to dunk during a women's college basketball game and the second woman to dunk twice in a single college game. In her WNBA debut on May 27, 2013, Griner dunked twice, and as of 2014, has five WNBA dunks, including the first in a playoff game (August 25, 2014).
One morning a week later, the gym at the Y was empty. I picked up the same mini-ball and unsuccessfully tried to throw it down. I found the more relad I was, the higher I could jump. So I loosened my shoulders, took a depth breath, and approached the rim. I held the ball for a beat longer this time, and easily popped it over the rim. It felt incredible. I did it a few more times, each easier than the last, pulling down on the rim with unnecessary force for maximum satisfaction. But as exhilarating as it was to dunk again, I was only using a mini-ball—I hadn’t completely reached my goal.
This is a dunk where the player takes off from a distance which is significantly further away from the basket than is considered typical. The free-throw line is most commonly constituted as the take-off point, an effect likely attributed to the easily observable span between the line and the basket in the view of the TV audience. In order to achieve the hang-time and altitude necessary, players will generally leap from one-foot to maximize the momentum generated from the half-court running start often required to complete the dunk. A cornerstone of dunk contests, dunks from a distance are also performed in games, most often on the fast break.
Randomization was performed in computer-generated, permuted blocks of 6 to 10, stratified according to the participating ICU. Treatment assignments and a five-digit reference number were placed in sealed, opaque envelopes, which were opened by the person responsible for the preparation of the trial-drug solutions. The solutions of norepinephrine or dopamine were prepared in vials or syringes according to the preference of the local ICU. Each vial or syringe was then labeled with its randomly allocated number. The doctors and nurses administering the drugs, as well as the local investigators and research personnel who collected data, were unaware of the treatment assignments. The trial was approved by the ethics committee at each participating center. Written informed consent was obtained from all patients or next of kin.
As an athlete pushes off the ground, he or she must overcome his/her own body weight. The lighter the athlete, the less force is necessary to do this. Imagine trying to jump as high as you can and then immediately repeating this same test wearing a 20-pound vest. It's obvious that the second jump will be much smaller. Now, imagine how much higher you could jump if you were 20 pounds lighter.
Important Update! – I have been receiving a few emails/comments on players tracking their jump during the course of their program. Please understand that what you are doing when completing a jump program is breaking down the muscle. You aren’t going to see improvements mid-week because the muscle hasn’t healed properly. That’s why I suggest only checking how much you’ve improved at the end of each rest week. Rest is just as important as the routine.