Stand on the bottom step of a flight of stairs holding the railing on either side. Place the balls of your feet on the stair with your heels hanging off the edge. Slowly raise your heels as high as you can, and hold for two seconds. Slowly lower your heels below your toe level, and hold for two seconds. Repeat calf raises exercise 20 times for three sets with a 1-minute break between each set.
Any athlete who wants to maximize the height of their vertical jump should look to reduce their non-functional body weight (body fat) as much as possible. Though it's generally not recommended for youth athletes to go on a calorie-restricted diet, they should look to make healthy food choices. A good starting point for this is 40% of calories from carbohydrates, 30% from protein, and 30% from fats.
Though improving jumping technique may add a couple inches to an athlete's vertical jump, good landing technique is even more crucial. The landing is when almost every jumping-related injury occurs, not the jump itself. For this reason, athletes should spend a significant amount of time learning to land in a balanced position that distributes the impact of the jump equally across all joints of the lower body. This position should look almost identical to the take-off position.
Like Todd and me, Nicholson was a two-foot jumper, and he echoed what Todd had told me was another flaw in my technique: “Your next-to-last step has to be a lot bigger. That big leap forward with your right foot—your penultimate step—that’s what allows you to explode off the ground.” To demonstrate, Nicholson sent me a video of Carter’s performance at the 2000 NBA Dunk Contest, which was a bit like showing a Monet to a finger painting kindergartner and saying, “No, like this.”
For taxonomic purposes it is an important distinction, but the modifiers discussed below are often considered dunk types in common parlance. This misconception is perhaps attributable to the modifier being the most salient component of the dunk from the perspective of the observer. However, each dunk modifier requires a dunk type to be a successful dunk—albeit the most-basic dunk type.
If you can jump high enough to dunk, but you’re having a hard time going up with the basketball in one hand, the solution is to start small and work your way up. A smaller ball such as a soft golf ball or tennis ball is a great starting point. From there, move slowly to a mini-basketball. It will provide more of a challenge but still be easy to palm as you go up. Once you can dunk the mini ball, try moving on to a volleyball until finally a regulation basketball.
Yet, rate of force development is likely less important for vertical jumping than for faster athletic movements, such as sprinting. This is because the time that is available for force production is *ten times* longer in the vertical jump than in sprinting. Sprinters often take their foot off the ground before their lower body muscles have achieved maximum force (which takes approximately 150ms), but this early period of rising force production plays only a very small role during vertical jumping.
I paid a lot of money for a vertical leap training system in the past that was a total scam. The red flags were everywhere, but I overlooked them because I was so eager to train and get results. That's why I was tentative when I first found out about TTS and Coach Cascio. Not wanting to be ripped off again, I decided to thouroughly look through his website. I was surprised to see that he actually communicated with customers via social media and actually shared useful information and excercises for free with email, Youtube, and now this book. This honest approach made me feel confortable and so I decided to give his program a shot. Thanks a lot for working hard for us, Jack.
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).
My quest to dunk started poorly. The main problem was that I could only do about half of the very long list of ercises the Jump Manual instructed at the crowded and inadequate YMCA near my place. The basketball court—the only space big enough to do some of the drills—was always occupied with classes. The Strength Shoes, meanwhile, were so absurd that I was too embarrassed to wear them in front of other gym-goers. I used them only a handful of times, in an empty stairwell on the top floor of the gym.
I gave myself six months to dunk because that was the low end of the “six to eight months” prescribed on the website of Brandon Todd, a 5'5" former D-III star who set the same goal for himself in 2005, and then, at age 22, accomplished it. When I first contacted him, Todd perfectly expressed the more shallow reason behind my goal: “When you can dunk, it means you’re a good athlete. Period. It takes away any subjectiveness.” I also chose six months because, as would be proved repeatedly during this mission, I am prone to tragic spells of overconfidence.
Similar to building explosive power by jumping over a stationary object, hurdles allow you to practice your leap. Space eight flights of hurdles two feet from each other and aim to jump over each like a pogo stick—basically, as high as you can. Repeat this for 10 repetitions: one flight of eight hurdles equals one repetition. Do this twice per week.
Squats – start with the bar behind your neck, resting on your shoulders and make sure you’re standing with your feet shoulder width apart. From this position, slowly lower your body by bending at your knees. You’ll go all the way down until you’re in a deep squat and holding that position for two seconds. Then you can slowly rise back up to your starting position. Make sure you keep your back straight and you’re bending at your knees.
An important component of maximizing height in a vertical jump is attributed to the use of counter-movements of the legs and arm swings prior to take off, as both of these actions have been shown to significantly increase the body’s center of mass rise. The counter-movement of the legs, a quick bend of the knees which lowers the center of mass prior to springing upwards, has been shown to improve jump height by 12% compared to jumping without the counter-movement. This is attributed to the stretch shortening cycle of the leg muscles enabling the muscles to create more contractile energy. Furthermore, jump height can be increased another 10% by executing arm swings during the take off phase of the jump compared to if no arm swings are utilized. This involves lowering the arms distally and posteriorly during the leg counter-movements, and powerfully thrusting the arms up and over the head as the leg extension phase begins. As the arms complete the swinging movement they pull up on the lower body causing the lower musculature to contract more rapidly, hence aiding in greater jump height. Despite these increases due to technical adjustments, it appears as if optimizing both the force producing and elastic properties of the musculotendinous system in the lower limbs is largely determined by genetics and partially mutable through resistance exercise training.