Justifying these selfish, skewed priorities in my head as I stuffed a basketball into my backpack and pedaled away from our home would turn out to be one of the most formidable obstacles in my path. I must have whispered, What the f--- am I doing? as many times as I leaped toward one of the rusty rims scattered around the south Los Angeles beach community where we live. That latter number tallied somewhere around 5,000, according to my journal and 24-plus hours of video. Many of these jumps were attempted while wearing a weighted vest that pulled me downward, the same way that home pulled me sideways.
Hi, I’m Trevor Theismann and welcome back to the blog. Today we’ll be focusing on the vertical jump and looking for ways to jump higher and increase our vertical distance. We’ve demonstrated some vertical jump exercises on the blog in the past, but now let’s take a minute to talk about technique. Training your body to jump higher isn’t just a matter of reps and strength building. No matter how many box jumps you take on, your vertical distance isn’t likely to increase unless you’re building your jump reflex correctly.

If you took a poll of the areas athletes wanted to improve the most, their vertical jump would be among the tops. Athletes playing basketball and volleyball rely on their verticals in a number of ways, but one major way is it gives them an edge to stand out amongst their peers. Players want to jump higher and coaches are looking for players that can put some space between their feet and the court.
A more accurate method would be to use a Jump Tester (like these here.) The problem with these, obviously, is that they are way too expensive. In fact, the only scenario in which I recommend using one of these is if you’re a coach, trainer, or athletic director who is purchasing it to test a large number of athletes over time and who needs as accurate of a number as possible for scouting purposes.
Four times a week, from April through October, I embarked on 90-minute explosive weightlifting sessions based on the years I’d spent working as a strength coach to club, college and professional volleyball players. Squats, squat jumps, deadlifts, lunges, box jumps, cleans, sprints. . . . Three or four days a week I visited one of my local blacktops, where I tried to dunk tennis balls on 10-foot rims or throw down basketballs and volleyballs on lower ones. By May 3—one month in—I could dunk a tennis ball on a 9' 10" rim. I considered this a better-than-good start, not realizing that compared to dunking a basketball, this tennis-ball jam was akin to a child scrawling the diagonal line that begins a capital A on his first day of learning the alphabet.

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We conducted this multicenter trial between December 19, 2003, and October 6, 2007, in eight centers in Belgium, Austria, and Spain. All patients 18 years of age or older in whom a vasopressor agent was required for the treatment of shock were included in the study. The patient was considered to be in shock if the mean arterial pressure was less than 70 mm Hg or the systolic blood pressure was less than 100 mm Hg despite the fact that an adequate amount of fluids (at least 1000 ml of crystalloids or 500 ml of colloids) had been administered (unless there was an elevation in the central venous pressure to >12 mm Hg or in pulmonary-artery occlusion pressure to >14 mm Hg) and if there were signs of tissue hypoperfusion (e.g., altered mental state, mottled skin, urine output of <0.5 ml per kilogram of body weight for 1 hour, or a serum lactate level of >2 mmol per liter). Patients were excluded if they were younger than 18 years of age; had already received a vasopressor agent (dopamine, norepinephrine, epinephrine, or phenylephrine) for more than 4 hours during the current episode of shock; had a serious arrhythmia, such as rapid atrial fibrillation (>160 beats per minute) or ventricular tachycardia; or had been declared brain-dead.

I think it’s the sort of thing that a lot of kids probably fantasize about, me included. Just like you might want to become an astronaut or something like that. I was always one of the tallest kids in my class, but I never really tried to dunk. And so as an adult, you start wondering a little bit about what sorts of things you left on the table, that you never really tried your hand at. And I got it into my head that I’d pick up this childhood fantasy of mine and see if I could dunk.
Muscular strength and explosiveness must be developed in conjunction with flexibility if the athlete is to maximize the jumping ability and reduce the risk of injury to structures such as the Achilles tendon and knee ligaments. Flexibility, when achieved through focused stretching programs, will serve to increase the range of motion in the joints essential to jumping: the ankles, knees, and hips. A common muscular deficiency that plagues athletes who require well-developed leaping ability is a lack of flexibility and resultant strength imbalance between the quadriceps (thigh) muscles and the hamstrings, the pair of muscles responsible for the flexion and the extension of the knee. Proper stretching will assist the athlete in the maintenance of an approximate 3:2 ratio in the relative strength of the quadriceps to the hamstring. When there is a significant deviation from that proportion, the knee and the muscles themselves are at greater risk of injury.
March 27 was yet another in a long string of days, each feeling as if it would be the day. Fully rested and caffeinated, I arrived with Jeff at a court, recommended by Brent Barry, whose rim heights fluctuated but which I’d recently measured at 10 feet. The rims at New York City’s famed Rucker Park, incidentally, both measured under 9’ 9” on a recent visit, which raises all sorts of questions about what a dunk is and what it isn’t. The famed outdoor rims along Venice Beach, if lined up next to each other, would look like a graphic equalizer during a Ray Manzarek keyboard solo: 9' 9", 9' 11", 9' 8".

The loading phase of a vertical jump should look very similar to a Romanian dDeadlift—the only difference is the arm position. In this position, the weight is on the toes. The knees and ankles are slightly bent, the chest is leaned forward and the arms are extended just past the hips. In this position, the athlete can generate the most amount of vertical power.
High-Reach Jumps – Are similar to tuck jumps, but instead of brining your knees to your chest, you just reach as high as you can. This is done best under a basketball ring or near a wall so that you can tell how much lower your reach becomes as you fatigue. Try to reach the same height through all repetitions. if you don’t have anything to measure against, that’s fine. Just jump as high as you can each repetition.
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