Before and after every workout, stretch your legs. This can lead to increase flexibility which loosens your muscles and allows them to perform better with a greater range of motion. In other words, they are strong and function better. Be sure to include dynamic stretches into your warm-up to get your joints moving and static stretches into your cool down after the workout.
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.
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.

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.


“There aren’t many people in the world who can [dunk], that’s why it has this allure, I guess,” Carter told me last fall, during his first training camp with the Grizzlies. “As far as trying to do it, there are so many ways people can go about it. The approach you’re taking is the right approach. When I was younger, that’s how I started. Tennis ball, to the point that it became easy. Then a volleyball. Then a girls’ ball. Finally I took—it was like a dodgeball. I dunked that and said, ‘You know what, I’m gonna try it.’ Next thing you know. . . .” He shrugged and smiled, the gray whiskers on his jaw sinking into a dimple.

The defining characteristic of the depth jump is that the jump is preceded with the strong eccentric (negative) muscle action caused by dropping down from a raised surface, as opposed to a standard box jump where you start on the floor. This makes the depth jump a true plyometric movement, where the muscles are stretched suddenly (by the impact of the landing), producing a powerful shortening of the muscle fibers.

The force-velocity profile can be described by three elements: (1) maximum strength, (2) maximum velocity, and (3) the slope of the force-velocity gradient, because this is what determines whether the balance between force and velocity is optimal at the desired speed for force production. Each of these factors is an independent predictor of vertical jump height.

Secondly, in addition to the rate of force development, the size of the force itself produces a negative feedback effect on vertical impulse, because higher forces lead to faster accelerations, which in turn reduce the time spent producing force before take-off. This is *partly* why drop jumps tend to involve higher forces, shorter ground contact times, and yet similar jump heights to countermovement jumps.

The defining characteristic of the depth jump is that the jump is preceded with the strong eccentric (negative) muscle action caused by dropping down from a raised surface, as opposed to a standard box jump where you start on the floor. This makes the depth jump a true plyometric movement, where the muscles are stretched suddenly (by the impact of the landing), producing a powerful shortening of the muscle fibers.
The first thing they have to do is improve their flexibility, for a couple of reasons. They need to be flexible to undertake the kind of exercises they need to be able to jump higher. They also just need to be able to increase their flexibility, because in the short sprints you take when you try to dunk a basketball, if you can imagine yourself running up to try to dunk on the rim, the higher you can bring your knees in a sprint, just like a sprinter running the hundred meters, the greater force you’ll be able to exert on the ground, especially with your leaping step.

Dunking isn't for everybody, but many men at least have a chance at pulling it off. Even so, it depends on a lot of variables for those on the fringe. Many guys have excess weight that keep them grounded. Some days your legs just aren't up to it. Other days, you don't have the right shoes on, or a certain basketball is hard to grip, or a past injury is hampering you. Little things like that can keep you from basketball glory when you're oh-so-close to throwing down.
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.
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Then, in terms of exercises, you really need to get your whole body stronger. You need to improve your core, and obviously you need to improve your legs. So someone who is interested in jumping higher will find themselves doing a lot of squats. And I would suggest that if someone just started this, they could do a lot of squat exercises without even going to the gym or even bearing weight. You know, get up in their office cubicle and do ten squats. Three sets of ten reps of squats is a good workout.

The player approaches the basket and obstruction, and then leaps. During flight, some portion of the player's body is elevated above the obstruction. This may entail raising the legs or some portion thereof in-air to soar over the obstruction. In other instances, the trunk-moves over an obstruction as the legs pass around it. Common obstructions include: motor vehicles; crouched, seated or standing person(s); ball rack; or other available objects.
Stand on your right leg and lift your left knee up as high as you can. Keeping your knee bent and your left leg out of the way, jump and land eight to ten times on your right leg. Focus on the landing. Your body should be ready to spring back up again the second you hit the ground. Try to jump higher with every repetition. Use your left hip and raised leg to build leverage.
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.
“There aren’t many people in the world who can [dunk], that’s why it has this allure, I guess,” Carter told me last fall, during his first training camp with the Grizzlies. “As far as trying to do it, there are so many ways people can go about it. The approach you’re taking is the right approach. When I was younger, that’s how I started. Tennis ball, to the point that it became easy. Then a volleyball. Then a girls’ ball. Finally I took—it was like a dodgeball. I dunked that and said, ‘You know what, I’m gonna try it.’ Next thing you know. . . .” He shrugged and smiled, the gray whiskers on his jaw sinking into a dimple.
I went through this progression, too. I went from touching the middle of the net at 12 years old, to dunking a basketball at 14 years old, to doing serious acrobatic 360-degree dunks at 17 years old. In college, my personal record for the vertical leap was 40 inches. At my peak, I was able to touch the top of the square on a regulation backboard, about 11.5 feet from the ground. Even now, in my thirties, I can dunk a basketball while standing underneath the basket—no run up required. I owe it all to the power of the vertical jump.
Before takeoff, or at the onset of the jump, the ball is brought to the abdomen and then the windmill motion is started by moving the ball below the waist according to the length of the player's fully extended arm. Then following the rotation of the outstretch arm, the ball is moved in a circular motion, typically moving from the front towards the back, and then slammed through the rim (from the profile view of a player facing the basket, the windmill motion most generally appears clockwise). Although, due to momentum, many players are unable to palm the ball through the entire windmill motion, the dunk is often completed with one-hand as centripetal force allows the player to guide the ball with only their dunking hand. In some instances sticky resins or powders may be applied to the palm, these are thought to improve grip and prevent loss of possession.[11] Amongst players, subtle variations in the direction of the windmill depend on bodily orientation at takeoff and also jumping style (one-foot or two-feet) in relation to dominant hand.

I thought I needed a rim. But what I found I really needed was a constellation of them. Having choices would prove useful because of the daytime obstacles, like elementary school PE students and our own kids’ after-school activities; and nighttime obstacles, like chain-link and padlocks, that I encountered. My training windows were narrow, so I learned to employ these outdoor rims strategically, the way the skateboarders in Dogtown and Z-Boys timed their secret sessions at drained swimming pools. The six or seven courts nearest our house featured rims that measured anywhere between 9 feet and 10' 2", a variance that allowed for different kinds of practice. The blisters and flayed calluses that soon bloodied my hands instructed me in the value of breakaway rims—the less rust the better. Because a Snap Back wasn’t always available, local residents may have spotted a sweaty forty­something man rubbing Vaseline on his hands in the corner of their child’s favorite playground last year. Sometimes he wore a weight vest that made him look like a jihadist. What I’m saying is, Thanks for not calling the cops.


Learn about plyometrics. Plyometrics are exercises that use the resistance of your own body to build strength and are essential for building the kind of strength necessary to build your jump. It takes time to train your body to jump higher, but working the right muscle groups can improve your explosiveness and height without maxing out regularly in the weight room.
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.
The vertical jump involves coordinated spine, hip, knee, and ankle extension to produce force in a vertical direction very quickly, while the muscles are shortening through to a very short muscle length. Since the time available for producing force is long compared to other athletic movements, this reduces the importance of rate of force development. Yet, the force-velocity relationship is the primary determinant of the amount of force that can be exerted at a given movement speed. Therefore, maximum force, velocity, and the force-velocity gradient all affect vertical jump height.
Using only a lifting (concentric) phase for strength training exercises could also be more effective for improving vertical jump height than traditional, stretch-shortening cycle exercises under load, for two reasons. Firstly, using only a lifting phase involves faster rate of force development through higher rate coding, and this may increase high-velocity strength more over the long-term. Secondly, doing stretch-shortening cycle exercises under load *might* cause the tendons to increase stiffness to a greater extent. This would make the muscle lengthen more in the countermovement phase of a jump, and thereby reduce muscle force for a given countermovement depth.
The simplest method to measure an athlete's vertical jump is to get the athlete to reach up against a flat wall, with a flat surface under his/her feet (such as a gym floor or concrete) and record the highest point he/she can reach flat-footed (the height of this point from the ground is referred to as "standing reach"); fingertips powdered with chalk can facilitate the determination of points touched on the wall. The athlete then makes an effort to jump up with the goal of touching the highest point on the wall that he or she can reach; the athlete can perform these jumps as many times as needed. The height of the highest point the athlete touches is recorded. The difference between this height and the standing reach is the athlete's vertical jump.
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