You will need to get at least that high to be able to snap the ball into the basket. If you're relatively short, then you have your work cut out for you. Developing a one-handed dunk requires less vertical ability than a two-handed dunk, and, for most players, jumping off of one foot from a running start makes it easier to jump high enough to dunk. There are many things that you can do to work on your vertical leap.
When an individual has a force-velocity gradient angled such that force is too high and velocity is too low, they benefit most from high-velocity strength training exercises with light loads. Conversely, when an individual has a force-velocity gradient angled such that force is too low and velocity is too high, they benefit most from low-velocity strength training exercises with heavy loads. Often, individuals with a long history of heavy strength training display profiles that are not ideal for vertical jumping, because their force is too high, and their velocity is too low, so they need to focus on high-velocity strength training.
Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Keeping your back straight, bend at your knees and hips as if you are attempting to sit in a chair until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Simultaneously extend your arms straight out in front of you. From this position jump up, straighten your legs and swing your arms back down to the side of your body. Repeat 25 jumping squats in a row for three sets with a 1-minute break between sets.
Each time you land, spring immediately back up. Don’t hesitate. The single beat that typically happens after we hit the ground is a natural reflex, and we may not even realize we’re doing it. But that extra pause has to go if we’re looking for a way to jump higher. Check the mirror or watch videos of yourself as you hit the ground. The momentary pause you may see between one vertical jump and the next may be holding you back. For more detail on how this works, visit the plyometrics section of our website.
“Put in the work. It’s muscle memory, first and foremost. Trainingwise, people say, ‘You gotta do this, you gotta do that.’ I didn’t believe in that. I never worked on my legs in high school or middle school. I would just go through this routine over and over and over, visualizing that day when you dunk on the court. And then you live in that moment.”
Muscular strength and explosiveness must be developed in conjunction with flexibility if the athlete is to maximize the jumping ability and reduce the risk of injury to structures such as the Achilles tendon and knee ligaments. Flexibility, when achieved through focused stretching programs, will serve to increase the range of motion in the joints essential to jumping: the ankles, knees, and hips. A common muscular deficiency that plagues athletes who require well-developed leaping ability is a lack of flexibility and resultant strength imbalance between the quadriceps (thigh) muscles and the hamstrings, the pair of muscles responsible for the flexion and the extension of the knee. Proper stretching will assist the athlete in the maintenance of an approximate 3:2 ratio in the relative strength of the quadriceps to the hamstring. When there is a significant deviation from that proportion, the knee and the muscles themselves are at greater risk of injury.
Technique Tip: Determining how far out in front of you to place your front foot may require some trial and error. At the bottom of the motion, your front knee should be somewhere above your heel to mid foot. If your knee is behind your heel, your foot is too far forward; if it’s out over your toes, step out further. One trick to find the right distance is to start in the bottom position and adjust your stance from there. Then stand up and have someone hand you the dumbbells.
Jumpsoles v5.0. The Jumpsoles are vertical jump shoes that fit onto your existing shoe. They are plyometric platforms that attach to your shoes and focuses your body weight onto your calves and train you to spring off the balls of your feet. By doing the special plyometric exercises in the video you develop fast twitch muscle fibers in your legs for explosive leaping improvement. Jumpsoles have been around for over 20 years and many players have increased their vertical jump with them. See real Jumpsoles reviews here.
Using only a lifting (concentric) phase for strength training exercises could also be more effective for improving vertical jump height than traditional, stretch-shortening cycle exercises under load, for two reasons. Firstly, using only a lifting phase involves faster rate of force development through higher rate coding, and this may increase high-velocity strength more over the long-term. Secondly, doing stretch-shortening cycle exercises under load *might* cause the tendons to increase stiffness to a greater extent. This would make the muscle lengthen more in the countermovement phase of a jump, and thereby reduce muscle force for a given countermovement depth.
How do you know these will work? A little over a year ago, I was a 6′7″ HS junior, and I could almost touch rim. I decided that I wanted to dunk as soon as possible. I worked by butt off, doing these numbers or more every day (well, almost). 3 to 4 months later, I threw down my first dunk on a regulation goal (10 feet). Fast forward to today, I am a 6′8″ HS senior, and can dunk regularly (am close to doing a two handed standing dunk).
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.