About 100 yards away from this 9' 10" breakaway rim (which came to sound, each time I grabbed and released it, like someone closing the metal baby gate at the top of our stairs) was a brown, oxidized, immobile 9' 1" version, a hand-ruining iron maiden where, in front of the occasional puzzled onlooker, I practiced (and practiced) the timing and the hand and wrist work required to dunk. I knew early on that my regulation dunk, if it ever came to pass, would have to come from a lob of some sort—a bounce to myself, either off the blacktop or underhanded off the backboard—after which I would hypothetically control the ball with one hand just long enough to flush it. Mastering the placement and the delicate timing of such lobs would prove to be a quixotic pursuit in and of itself. But it was necessary, not just because of my hand size (7 ¾ inches) but also because I needed to keep my arms free so I could swing them at takeoff, adding much-needed lift to my leap.
My wife of 11 years, who isn’t a sports fan, knit her brow in confusion and nodded when I raised this idea for the first time. She wanted to care but could not muster the attention span, for she had given birth just three weeks earlier to our third daughter. I would be needed at home in the coming weeks—a reasonable expectation. Although I look back today with pride at how I balanced that responsibility with the time-consuming­ and far less important dedication to dunking, I knew at the time that I would miss a lot of family dinners, bath times and diaper changes so that I could ride my bike to the gym or to local playgrounds, with no guarantee that I would reach my goal, or even come close.
Exactly which muscles are most important for improving the vertical jump is still relatively unclear, and may differ between individuals. Clearly, the spinal erectors, hip extensors, quadriceps, and calf muscles are all involved in the jumping movement, and the hip extensors and quadriceps are likely the prime movers, but which of the hip extensors is the primary muscle is very unclear. Importantly, since force production is required right up until take-off, the lower body muscles must produce force from moderate through to short muscle lengths, which differs from the barbell back squat exercise.
I learned that insects are fucking awesome. There was an insect in particular that I was interested in called the froghopper, or spittlebug, that is basically one of the world’s top jumpers. It’s a survival mechanism. It can jump far, far higher than we can as a function of its weight, basically. So I learned that humans are quite modest in the jumping scheme of things.
The force-velocity relationship during muscle shortening occurs because the number of simultaneously attached crossbridges between the myofilaments inside the working muscle fibers determine the amount of force that a fiber can produce. The number of attached crossbridges at any one time is dependent upon the fiber shortening velocity, because the detachment rate of the crossbridges at the end of their working stroke is higher at faster shortening speeds.
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).
This list of movements was compiled by a pair of trainers who know a thing or two about making athletes more explosive: Jason Benguche, assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Carolina Panthers (@movement_mogul on Instagram), works one-one-one during the season with the NFL’s most explosive quarterback, Cam Newton. And Firdose Khan (@dose_9), head trainer at Nine Innovations athlete training facility in Houston, has worked with such athletes as former NBA MVP Derrick Rose and NFLers Arian Foster, Braxton Miller, and Brian Cushing.
An alley-oop dunk, as it is colloquially known, is performed when a pass is caught in the air and then dunked. The application of an alley-oop to a slam dunk occurs in both games and contests. In games, when only fractions of a second remain on the game or shot clock, an alley-oop may be attempted on in-bound pass because neither clock resumes counting down until an in-bounds player touches the ball. The images to the right depict an interval spanning 1/5 of a second.
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Perform the routine every second day to give your body a days rest in-between workouts. This means that on week one you’ll be training 4 times a week, week two you’ll be training 3 times per week, and on week three you’ll be training 4 times per week. That ends up being 11 workouts per phase for a total of 33 workouts in the program. Also, during this program you will be taking one week off between each phase to let your body completely recover. You need to give your muscles time to fully repair in order to grow stronger and more explosive.
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