To get your training started, you need a way to measure your jump. If you’re testing your vertical at gym or in a professional type setting, they may have a Vertec. The Vertec is one of the most common apparatus for measuring vertical jump ability. It is the vertical jump-testing device of choice for many college and professional teams, but they also have the budget for such a thing. If you’re wanting to test your vertical in a budget-friendly way, you can easily use a measuring tape, a marked wall, or chalk for marking a wall.

Even so, the back squat does differ in important ways from the vertical jump. Primarily, it involves a much greater trunk extension turning force, because of the barbell weight on the upper back, and this likely contributes to the more hip-dominant nature of the squat over the vertical jump. Secondly, it is often performed to a deeper depth, which can alter the relative contribution of each of the hip extensors to the movement, because of their different leverages at each joint angle. And thirdly, it only involves accelerating up to midway through the movement, while the vertical jump involves accelerating right up until take-off. This also affects the relative contribution of the hip extensors, as force production will be required in the jump even when the hip is nearly fully extended, while this is unnecessary in the squat.

variations: The vertical jump test can also be performed using a specialized apparatus called the Vertec. The procedure when using the Vertec is very similar to as described above. Jump height can also be measured using a jump mat which measures the displacement of the hips. To be accurate, you must ensure the feet land back on the mat with legs nearly fully extended. Vertical jump height can also be measured using a timing mat. The vertical jump test is usually performed with a counter movement, where there is bending of the knees immediately prior to the jump. The test can also be performed as a squat jump, starting from the position of knees being bent. Other test variations are to perform the test with no arm movement (one hand on hip, the other raised above the head) to isolate the leg muscles and reduce the effect of variations in coordination of the arm movements. The test can also be performed off one leg, with a step into the jump, or with a run-up off two feet or one foot, depending on the relevance to the sport involved. For more details see vertical jump technique.
Whichever equipment you use, the first thing you’ll need to do is measure your reach standing flat-footed on the floor with one arm fully extended straight overhead. (You can measure your reach up against a wall for the chalk option.) Then, when you mark the highest point you touched, you’ll subtract your reach from that number. For example, if your reach is 90 inches and you touched 115 inches up on the wall with your chalk, your vertical leap is 25 inches.
Among the hundreds of lessons I learned during my youngest child’s first year of life was this: If you earnestly pursue dunking after your athletic peak years of 18 to 30, give or take, it can be done. You can enjoy what it feels like to dunk. You can even feel it more purely than I did, maybe without needing a lob from a friend, and hopefully without all the hand damage. But you should expect a long, frustrating, demeaning war of attrition that pits mind, body, spirit against the most oppressive, unrelenting opponent of them all: gravity. The sun rises and sets, the tides creep in and out—even taxes and death seem negotiable nowadays—but gravity remains constant, forever pounding our shoulders, stooping us shorter as we grow gray, never letting up—no matter what NASA tweets.
Toe Raises – stand with your feet shoulder width apart, typically on stairs or any sort of ground you can stand on that allows your heel to dip down. Then raise up on the tips of your toes. Continue this process until your complete your reps. Don’t rock up and down – or go to fast. For the exercise to work, you have to use correct form and go at a steady pace.

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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.
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.

Darryl Dawkins of the Philadelphia 76ers was notorious for two glass-shattering dunks in 1979 resulting in the league threatening to fine him and eventually installing breakaway rims.[42] Twice in his rookie season (1992–93) during games, center Shaquille O'Neal dunked so hard that he broke the hydraulic support of one goal standard (against the Phoenix Suns) and broke the welds holding up another goal standard, causing the basket to break off and fall to the floor (against the New Jersey Nets), although in neither case did the glass break. This resulted in reinforced backboard supports as well. During that same season, New Jersey's Chris Morris shattered a backboard in a game against the Chicago Bulls (the most recent shattered-backboard incident in the NBA to date). The NBA has made shattering the backboard a technical foul, although it will not count towards a player's count of seven that can draw a suspension, or two towards ejection from a game, and it counts towards a player's count of six personal fouls. This has assisted in deterring this action, as it can cost the team points.
Rope skipping is also a very basic form of a type of exercise called plyometrics. Plyometric exercises involve repetitive explosive movements, such as jumping up and down or catching and throwing a medicine ball. The idea is to execute the movement with as little downtime as possible between repetitions. This, in effect, trains muscles to be powerful and explosive, and utilize the kinetic energy inherent in athletic movements in the most efficient way.
Not so long ago, I played the worst basketball game of my life. I missed layups, turned over the ball, allowed my opponent free reign to the hoop. It was dark. As I slumped on the sidelines after the game, I realized how far I’d fallen from my prime a decade ago. Back then, I could dunk; now, at 33, I could barely curl my fingers over the rim. My game had regressed to hovering around the arc jacking threes. The last time I dunked a basketball, Michael Jordan was a Washington Wizard and people still listened to Coldplay.
Go between the legs. While he wasn't the first player to complete it, Vince Carter wowed crowds at the 2000 NBA dunk contest by passing the ball under one leg while in the air and slamming it with authority. It didn't hurt that his forehead was almost touching the rim. If you've worked your ups to that height, try passing it under one leg and dunking it.
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Bodyweight squats are a great way to practice your vertical jump because your squat stance mimics the lowest crouch position of your vertical jump. Incorporate these into your routine twice every week, increasing the number or sets and reps as you improve. After you become comfortable with regular squats, consider adding jump squats to your routine.
Whichever equipment you use, the first thing you’ll need to do is measure your reach standing flat-footed on the floor with one arm fully extended straight overhead. (You can measure your reach up against a wall for the chalk option.) Then, when you mark the highest point you touched, you’ll subtract your reach from that number. For example, if your reach is 90 inches and you touched 115 inches up on the wall with your chalk, your vertical leap is 25 inches.
For taxonomic purposes it is an important distinction, but the modifiers discussed below are often considered dunk types in common parlance. This misconception is perhaps attributable to the modifier being the most salient component of the dunk from the perspective of the observer. However, each dunk modifier requires a dunk type to be a successful dunk—albeit the most-basic dunk type.

When I started to work on the video tool that measures vertical jump, I had to dust off my old textbooks to learn about the relationship between hang time and jump height. And to my surprise, it turned out that the vertical jump is a great (and interesting!) example of the laws of physics at work. You can really learn about the relationship between velocity, acceleration, forces and hang time. Definitely more interesting than the average example of your physics textbook!


Like Todd and me, Nicholson was a two-foot jumper, and he echoed what Todd had told me was another flaw in my technique: “Your next-to-last step has to be a lot bigger. That big leap forward with your right foot—your penultimate step—that’s what allows you to explode off the ground.” To demonstrate, Nicholson sent me a video of Carter’s performance at the 2000 NBA Dunk Contest, which was a bit like showing a Monet to a finger painting kindergartner and saying, “No, like this.”
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.
Still, by the late 1950s and early 1960s players such as Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain had incorporated the move into their offensive arsenal. The dunk became a fan-favorite, as offensive players began to aggressively intimidate defenders with the threat of vicious slams. Through the 1970s, the slam dunk was standard fare; David Thompson, Julius Erving, Darryl Dawkins, and others wowed crowds with high-flying moves.
Vertical jumps are used to both train and test for power output in athletes. Plyometrics are particularly effective in training for power output, and include vertical jumps of different types in their protocol. In one recent study, training with plyometrics (which included continuous vertical jumps) was shown to improve jump height and boost vertical jump performance to similar degrees in combination with very different resistance training protocols, indicating that the plyometric jumping contributed to the increased jump height more than resistance training. Research into plyometric jumps found vertical jumps to be among the highest in terms of muscle recruitment (as measured by electromyography), power output, and ground reaction force produced.[8][9][10] Fatigue has been researched in athletes for its effect on vertical jump performance, and found to decrease it in basketball players, tennis players, cyclists, rugby players, and healthy adults of both genders.[11][12][13]
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