A vital part of basketball training is improving your vertical leap. As an athlete, you should be incorporating exercises into your basketball drills and fitness training that focus on increasing muscle strength and leg speed. Simply put, you won’t turn into Vince Carter or Andre Iguodala overnight, but learning how to work the appropriate muscles on a daily basis will go a far way towards improving your overall vertical.
In the past, it has been possible for players to dunk a basketball and pull the rim down so hard that the glass backboard shatters, either around the rim itself or, at times, shattering the entire backboard, or the entire goal standard fails. Reinforced backboards and breakaway rims have minimized this at the college and professional levels, but it still happens at lower levels.
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.
The baseline dunk is an approach-modifier of any dunk type in which the player approaches the basket along the court-boundary (baseline) which runs parallel with the backboard. In the game setting, the dunk often comes as the result of a pass, creating an assist opportunity for a teammate. In the contest, the baseline approach may be used as a means of convenience, facilitating a particular dunk type (e.g., passes bounced off the side of the backboard or its padding) or to increase the difficulty of a dunk type in hopes of meriting higher scores.
Generally, a player can reach their highest when jumping off one foot and reaching up with one hand. For a player that is right-handed, the most common way is approaching from the left and jumping off the left foot with the ball in the right hand. Obviously, for a left-handed player, it’s coming from the right and jumping off the right with the ball in your left hand.
After a one-week recovery period in January following Phase 1 of Jump Attack, Phase 2 brought an increase in intensity and time investment. This was the last stop before Phase 3, the wilderness where those attack depth jumps lived. (Attack depth jumps: Rest on your knees in front of a box; explode to your feet without using your hands; immediately jump onto the box; immediately jump as high as you can off the box, landing on the balls of your feet. Repeat. Many times. No blacking out allowed.) Phase 3 brought dramatic increases in both explosiveness and hip flexibility, two critical ingredients that I started to feel working in tandem. I emerged both confident and in dire need of another one-week recovery period, which I spent playing with our kids, watching dunk videos and mouthing the syllable Ow. Once healed, in early March, I returned to the rims with a friend whom I’d asked to toss lobs to me. There would be no more lifting. (After Jump Attack, what else could there possibly be?) From here on, I just jumped and recovered, jumped and recovered, attacking this tiny window of three or four weeks before my time away from the gym began to sap my strength. It would be over at that point, all over, whether I wanted it to be or not.
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. 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.