A strut is a major structural part of a suspension. It takes the place of the upper control arm and upper ball joint used in conventional suspensions. Because of its design, a strut is lighter and takes up less space than the shock absorbers in conventional suspension systems. Struts perform two main jobs. First, struts perform a damping function like shock absorbers. Internally, a strut is similar to a shock absorber. A piston is attached to the end of the piston rod and works against hydraulic fluid to control spring and suspension movement. Just like shock absorbers, the valving generates resistance to forces created by the up and down motion of the suspension. Also like shock absorbers, a strut is velocity sensitive, meaning that it is valved so that the amount of resistance can increase or decrease depending on how fast the suspension moves.
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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.
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.
In the ABA, Charlie Hentz broke two backboards in the same game on November 6, 1970 resulting in the game being called. In the NCAA, Jerome Lane shattered a backboard while playing for Pitt in a 1988 regular-season game against Providence, and Darvin Ham did the same while playing for Texas Tech in a tournament game against North Carolina in 1996.
Seventy-nine years later, the feat that Daley unwittingly named “the dunk” still flabbergasts. But how it felt to Fortenberry, a pioneering barnstormer whose name we’ve forgotten despite the gold medal he and his teammates won in 1936, remains a mystery. “He never talked about being the first person to dunk and all that,” says 65-year-old Oliver Fortenberry, the only son of Big Joe, who died in ’93. Indeed, the famous dunkers throughout history have been either reticent on the subject or unable to adequately express how it felt to show Dr. Naismith that he’d nailed his peach baskets too low. After more than a year of rigorous research on the subject, I’ve concluded that the inadequacies of modern language—not the ineloquence of the dunk’s practitioners—are at fault. In the eight decades since Fortenberry rocked the rim, words have repeatedly fallen short in describing the only method of scoring, in any sport, that both ignores one of its game’s earliest tenets and, in its very execution, carries a defiant anger.
Barry, who retired from the NBA in 2009, recalled that a few days before our sit-down he “drove out to the Clippers’ practice facility, wearing sneakers and board shorts, just to get my basketball fix in. Between games I pick up a ball and start shooting. In the back of my mind I’m thinking, You’re 42, man; can you still? So I get a rebound, do a little power dribble in the paint and, sure enough, throw it down. I put the ball down and walked out. I can still do that. That’s good.”
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.
High Reach Jumps – with your feet shoulder width apart, bend down into a comfortable squat position and then jump up as high as you can reaching for the sky! This drill is great to do under the basketball goal or near a wall so you can have a visual of how high you’re jumping – or how low you jump once you start getting tired. Try to reach the same height through all your reps.
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.