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.[5] 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.[6][7]
Keep your upper body straight and your arms relaxed at your side. Extend your left leg straight out behind you with a slight knee bend. Place your right leg in front of you with your knee bent at a 90-degree angle and your thigh parallel to the floor. This is your basic lunge position. From this position, slightly lower your entire body, and jump to the opposite lunge position with your right leg extended behind you and your left leg in front of you. Repeat 25 jumping lunges in a row for three sets with a 1-minute break between sets.
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.
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.
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A second, more efficient and correct method is to use an infrared laser placed at ground level. When an athlete jumps and breaks the plane of the laser with his/her hand, the height at which this occurs is measured. Devices based on United States Patent 5031903, "A vertical jump testing device comprising a plurality of vertically arranged measuring elements each pivotally mounted..." are also common. These devices are used at the highest levels of collegiate and professional performance testing. They are composed of several (roughly 70) 14-inch prongs placed 0.5 inches apart vertically. An athlete will then leap vertically (no running start or step) and make contact with the retractable prongs to mark their leaping ability. This device is used each year at the NFL scouting combine.
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