The things I had going for me: an understanding spouse; a modicum of foot speed and leaping ability, flashed during the occasional Motrin-supported pickup game; proximity to one of the best training centers in the world; and, again, an understanding spouse. The forces working against me made for a longer list and included (but were far from limited to) my average hand size and arm length, a lower-back injury that I suffered while playing semipro football in 2009 and my age. I was 42.
Before takeoff, or at the onset of the jump, the ball is brought to the abdomen and then the windmill motion is started by moving the ball below the waist according to the length of the player's fully extended arm. Then following the rotation of the outstretch arm, the ball is moved in a circular motion, typically moving from the front towards the back, and then slammed through the rim (from the profile view of a player facing the basket, the windmill motion most generally appears clockwise). Although, due to momentum, many players are unable to palm the ball through the entire windmill motion, the dunk is often completed with one-hand as centripetal force allows the player to guide the ball with only their dunking hand. In some instances sticky resins or powders may be applied to the palm, these are thought to improve grip and prevent loss of possession. Amongst players, subtle variations in the direction of the windmill depend on bodily orientation at takeoff and also jumping style (one-foot or two-feet) in relation to dominant hand.
An impressive vertical jump is the ultimate standard of lower-body power and explosiveness—an attribute that pays as many dividends in high-impact sports like basketball, football, and soccer as it gets you wide-eyed looks in the gym. Increase your hops, and chances are you’ll also be able to run faster, lift more weight, and maybe even throw down a dunk at your next pickup basketball game.
After warming up, I proceeded to slam Jeff’s best lobs off the back rim at least 10 times, watching these missed dunks rebound high over the lane and land somewhere near the three-point line. It’s tough to express how difficult it was to pack up and walk away from the court on such days, to listen to my body when it told me it had reached the point of diminishing returns. To come up with yet another way to tell the wife: No, not today, Sugar. But I came reeeally close.
From the Department of Intensive Care, Erasme University Hospital (D.D.B., A.B., J.-L.V.); the Department of Intensive Care, Brugmann University Hospital, Université Libre de Bruxelles (J.D., P.G.); and the Department of Intensive Care, Centre Hospitalier Etterbeek Ixelles (D.C.) — all in Brussels; the Department of Intensive Care, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Charleroi, Charleroi, Belgium (P.B., P.D.); the Department of Medicine III, Intensive Care Unit 13H1, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna (C.M.); and the Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, Rio Hortega University Hospital, Valladolid, Spain (C.A.).
Secondly, in addition to the rate of force development, the size of the force itself produces a negative feedback effect on vertical impulse, because higher forces lead to faster accelerations, which in turn reduce the time spent producing force before take-off. This is *partly* why drop jumps tend to involve higher forces, shorter ground contact times, and yet similar jump heights to countermovement jumps.
Less helpful was my early realization that I was a two-hand dunker, in light of my inability to palm a basketball on the move. It’s common knowledge among dunkers that throwing down with two hands is typically harder than with one; the former requires a higher vertical leap. So as I flailed haplessly at the rim last spring with one hand, I felt not just discouragement but also fear. Fear that I would miss big chunks of my kids’ ninth, sixth, and first years on earth just so I could come up embarrassingly short on a senseless goal that my wife and I would later estimate consumed 15 to 20 hours a week, on top of my normal work hours. And fear that I had shared this idea with my editors way too soon.
In basketball, the ability to jump high can be pretty important, especially for layups and dunks. Thus, it’s no surprise that many people who play basketball, either professionally or just for fun, want to be able to jump higher to improve their game. Luckily, by performing certain exercises, losing weight, and perfecting your technique, you can significantly improve your vertical leap and jump higher in basketball.
Unfortunately, I’m not the 6' 7" son of a Hall of Famer, so I had to resort to desperate devices—like Hennessy, an infamous and inexpensive cognac that, according to one of the two NBA players who recommended it to me, “will give you that Yah! That bounce. That little bit of meanness you need.” The little minibar-sized bottle that I downed 30 minutes into an intense session of dunk attempts on a sweltering day last summer, had no effect other than scorching my esophagus, giving me a headache and releasing from my pores an aura that, as my six-year-old put it that evening, “smells like medicine.”
Because jumping ability is a combination of leg strength and explosive power, jumping can be developed in the same fashion as any other muscular activity. The ultimate limit to how high any athlete can jump will be determined to a significant degree by the distribution of fast-twitch versus slow-twitch fibers present in the muscles of the legs. This distribution is a genetic determination. Fast-twitch fibers are those whose governing neurons, the component of the nervous system that receives the impulses generated by the brain to direct muscular movement, fires more rapidly, which in turn creates the more rapid muscle contractions required for speed. As a general proposition, an athlete with a greater distribution of fast-twitch fibers will be able jump higher than one with a preponderance of slow-twitch fibers.
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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.
Finally, to make things even more complicated, it is likely that the roles of the lower body muscles may differ according to if: (1) the jump is maximal or sub-maximal, (2) long-term training has occurred, and (3) the individual has a “hip-dominant” or a “knee-dominant” technique. Indeed, the vertical jump is more dependent upon the hip extensors in maximal jumps, compared to in sub-maximal ones. And after long-term jumping training, the increase in the amount of work done in the jump by the hip extensors is related to the increase in height, while the increase in the amount of work done by the knee extensors is not.
A total of 1679 patients were enrolled — 858 in the dopamine group and 821 in the norepinephrine group (Figure 1). All patients were followed to day 28; data on the outcome during the stay in the hospital were available for 1656 patients (98.6%), data on the 6-month outcome for 1443 patients (85.9%), and data on the 12-month outcome for 1036 patients (61.7%). There were no significant differences between the two groups with regard to most of the baseline characteristics (Table 1); there were small differences, which were of questionable clinical relevance, in the heart rate, partial pressure of arterial carbon dioxide (PaCO2), arterial oxygen saturation (SaO2), and ratio of partial pressure of arterial oxygen (PaO2) to fraction of inspired oxygen (FIO2). The type of shock that was seen most frequently was septic shock (in 1044 patients [62.2%]), followed by cardiogenic shock (in 280 patients [16.7%]) and hypovolemic shock (in 263 patients [15.7%]). The sources of sepsis are detailed in Table 2 in the Supplementary Appendix. Hydrocortisone was administered in 344 patients who received dopamine (40.1%) and in 326 patients who received norepinephrine (39.7%). Among patients with septic shock, recombinant activated human protein C was administered in 102 patients in the dopamine group (18.8%) and 96 patients in the norepinephrine group (19.1%).
Dunking is a dramatic, crowd-pleasing offensive move. Many times, a rousing dunk can turn that mysterious factor, momentum, right around in your favor. Clearly, dunking is easier if you're tall and can palm the ball with one hand, but there have been relatively short players who couldn't palm the ball who worked hard enough to be able to dunk. If you are considering adding the dunk shot to your repertoire, follow these steps: