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.
In basketball, the ability to jump high can be pretty important, especially for layups and dunks. Thus, it’s no surprise that many people who play basketball, either professionally or just for fun, want to be able to jump higher to improve their game. Luckily, by performing certain exercises, losing weight, and perfecting your technique, you can significantly improve your vertical leap and jump higher in basketball.
Yet, rate of force development is likely less important for vertical jumping than for faster athletic movements, such as sprinting. This is because the time that is available for force production is *ten times* longer in the vertical jump than in sprinting. Sprinters often take their foot off the ground before their lower body muscles have achieved maximum force (which takes approximately 150ms), but this early period of rising force production plays only a very small role during vertical jumping.
Three weeks after I received that counsel, on a rare afternoon when I felt fully rested, I dunked a volleyball on a 9' 11" rim. Again, I knew I could never swing my arms while palming a basketball the way I’d swung them while palming that volleyball, but I’d be lying if I said it didn’t feel badass. Thirteen failed attempts later, I did it again. Then two more times, each one an unexpected thunderclap. All of the explosive Olympic lifting I’d been doing was paying off, but my problem wasn’t going anywhere: How could I get my hand and a basketball over the cylinder? A lob to myself off the backboard? A big bounce off the blacktop?
I think one way of thinking about it is, less parts of the body, and more the kind of muscle. You want to develop your quick-twitch, or fast-twitch, muscles, because at the end of the day, trying to dunk a basketball is an explosive activity. You’re not going for a long-distance run here. You’re doing three quick steps, a hard shove against the ground, and exploding upwards. So the question is how to turn yourself into basically a sprinter. You do a lot of jumping exercises where you’re doing box jumps, where you jump off one box and as soon as you hit the ground, you try to jump up onto another box. That sort of thing.
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In the 2011 NBA contest, Los Angeles Clippers power-forward Blake Griffin completed a self-pass off of the backboard prior to elbow-hanging on the rim. A number of other variants of the elbow hang have been executed, including a lob self-pass, hanging by the arm pit,[23] a windmill,[24] and over a person.[25] Most notable are two variations which as of July 2012, have yet to be duplicated. In 2008, Canadian athlete Justin Darlington introduced an iteration aptly entitled a 'double-elbow hang', in which the player inserts both forearms through the rim and subsequently hangs on both elbows pits.[26] Circa 2009, French athlete Guy Dupuy demonstrated the ability to perform a between-the-legs elbow hang; however, Guy opted not to hang on the rim by his elbow, likely because the downward moment could have resulted in injury.[27]
Dunking a basketball is a lot of fun, and for most of us that is really the only reason to do it. Especially when you are a shorter player, it is cool to see the looks on the big guys’ faces when you do something you really ought not to be able to do. But let’s be realistic here: If you want to be a good basketball player there are many, many skills that are more important to spend time on. For most of us, the ability to dunk is an insignificant part of our game.
This isn’t just some light-duty assistance exercise. The rear-foot elevated split squat (aka, Bulgarian split squat) is a legitimate movement for increasing pure glute and quad strength, which will in turn enhance power and vertical jumping performance. Even if you’re a two-foot jumper, focusing on one leg at a time like you do here will ensure that your dominant side isn’t compensating for your weaker leg during the movement.
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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.

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.


“No, not Dad,” Oliver said in the brick tract home where he grew up. “He was an older dad, like you, and his family was the focus of his life. The only time he wasn’t home with us kids was when he went out on the road for Phillips Petroleum, buying and selling leases in western Kansas and Oklahoma. When he got back he’d say, ‘All I wanted to do was come home.’ ”
Step 3. Land squarely on the floor on both feet (again, around hip-width apart) and immediately jump as high as you can, straight up in the air. It’s important that you spend as little time as possible with your feet on the floor before the jump—it should be a split-second reaction. Don’t lower down into a squat before leaving your feet. Just let your hips and knees dip naturally, then extend them explosively to launch upward. Drive your arms straight up as you do so.

Start on a lower hoop and practice on that, just to get the feel of dunking. Jump height is one thing, but you would be surprised at the number of people that find it hard just to slam the ball into the basket, even if they are high enough. Make sure the hoop is high enough for you to only touch the rim. Different jumping styles and distances from the basket can change your vertical drastically and could be the difference between a rim-block and a slam. Keep progressing and eventually you will see results. Good luck!
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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.
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.
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