How To Dunk A Basketball*

23 05 2012

(*or at least boost your vertical)

Since we’re in the midst of the NBA Playoffs, I think it’d be fun talking about basketball-specific workout suggestions.  The most common thing the average guy wants to do is dunk.  And why shouldn’t they?  Guys like LeBron, Kobe and Michael Jordan make it look fun as hell!

Sadly, you may not have been blessed with the same athletic talents that LeBron took to South Beach.  That being said, there is hope for you to boost your vertical jump!

Dynamic Stretching

This is a little bit different that your standard (static) stretching.  While it’s good to do static stretching to stay limber, dynamic stretching has been known to focus more on range of motion.  That’s why you see swimmers like Michael Phelps swing their arms around before a meet.  You can also focus on the entire leg doing dynamic stretching, as opposed to having to do five or six different stretches to cover all of your bases.

Squats

This is one of the “Big Three” I talked about earlier today, in terms of lifts.  Not only does it work almost every muscle in your legs, it also forces you to tighten your core muscles, which help keep a solid center of gravity.  To get the most out of your squats, you must go past parallel, meaning dropping down below a right angle.  If it helps, set up a bench behind you at a power rack and drop down low enough to touch the bench.

Another tip for squats; you’re going for a burst of power as opposed to overall strength.  With that in mind, you’re better off going with speed, meaning that you use lighter weight and higher reps.  This will help with the burst, as well as build up muscular endurance.

Calf Raises

Tip: Use an aerobic step to put focus on the front sole!

This is another great exercise to build strength in your lower body.  In fact, you can do this at the same power rack you would do a squat at!  Again, you’re going to be going for short bursts, so light weight/high rep is the way to go.

Now, some people will tell you that training shoes will be helpful, but I tend to shy away from them for the same reason that Sketchers is currently getting sued for their shoes that “tone.”  There’s no real evidence to support it.  All those shoes do is put emphasis on the front sole, which is something you can do by simply putting an aerobic step in front of you when doing calf raises.  There’s no need for extra shoes here!

Hopefully this gives you an idea of what it takes to be able to jump as high as an NBA player…even if it’s only the vertical leaping ability of Tyler Hansbrough (sorry, still bitter that he took out Dwyane Wade last night).

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