Aside from squats, the exercises below are considered some of the best bodyweight plyometrics you can do to help improve the fast-twitch muscle fibers that enable you to jump higher and run faster. When it comes to vertical jump, plyometrics are a key. A review in the "British Journal of Sports Medicine" looked at 26 research studies that tested the effects of plyometrics on vertical jumps and found that plyometrics increased vertical jump by 8 percent. Another study reported that plyometrics helped professional athletes increase their vertical leap by 23 percent, improve their agility by 8 percent, their balance by 5 percent, and their time by 0.30 seconds on the 20-meter sprint.
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.
To build strength in the legs that will be compatible with the speed developed through successful plyometrics drills, squat and lunge exercises are important components. Squats are performed with free weights, where the athlete uses a weighted bar to carry out the exercise. The additional weight will be supported by the body through the abdominal, lumbar (low back), and gluteal muscles, in addition to the legs. This form of exercise permits the strengthening of the legs in conjunction with enhancing the core strength of the body, essential to the balance necessary to have the several muscle groups involved in leaping work in harmony.
Athletes often do depth jumps with two plyo boxes: one to step off of and another to jump onto. Essentially, it’s a depth jump into a box jump. When doing this variation, make sure to leave enough room between the boxes to allow you to land and jump safely (3–5 feet between boxes should work). To advance within this progression, increase the height of the second box gradually as you develop more strength and power.
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In 2004, as a high school senior, Candace Parker was invited to participate in the McDonald's All-American Game and accompanying festivities where she competed in and won the slam dunk contest. In subsequent years other women have entered the contest; though Kelley Cain, Krystal Thomas, and Maya Moore were denied entry into the same contest in 2007. Brittney Griner intended to participate in the 2009 McDonald's Dunk Contest but was unable to attend the event due to the attendance policy of her high school. Breanna Stewart, at 6'3" (191 cm), Alexis Prince (6'2"; 188 cm), and Brittney Sykes (5'9"; 175 cm) competed in the 2012 contest; Prince and Sykes failed to complete their dunks, while Stewart landed two in the first round but missed her second two attempts in the final round.
For improving vertical jumping ability, the back squat and jump squat have been used for many years with great success. Depending on the exact force-velocity profile of the athlete, either back squats or jump squats should be effective for improving vertical jump height. Even so, exercises that shift the load towards the center of mass of the body, such as hex bar deadlifts and weighted vest jumps could be superior.
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Dunk types reflect the various motions performed on the way to the basket. They start with the basic one- or two-hand forward-facing dunk and go on through various levels of athleticism and intricacy. Discrete dunk types can be modified by appending other moves; for example, a player who passes the ball off the backboard, catches it in the air, and executes a double-pump dunk would be said to have completed a "self-pass off the backboard, double pump".