Do you remember Spud Webb winning the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 1986? Standing at only 5’6″!, Spud beat the defending champion Dominique Wilkins with a variety of nasty dunks – a one-handed 360, a two-handed double pump and a 180 reverse double-pump just to name some.
So, it’s clear that you don’t need to be very tall to dunk. It’s all about the vertical jump – your vertical jump! And what matters most: you can train it! You can increase your vertical leap. If you don’t agree at this point, you don’t need to read any further.
Spud Webb had a 42-inch vertical – what is yours? To find out, stand near to a wall and stretch your arm upright over your head. Now, mark the top point of your hand on the wall. Put the hand down and mark your fingers with some chalk or paint. Now, jump as high as you can and touch the wall with your hand. The distance between the two marks is you vertical.
Ok, by now, you know where you’re at and where you want to be.
The next step is your overall fitness. Your legs must be strong enough to take up a vertical program. You also have to lose the extra pounds (if you have some).
For that, go jogging and use the jump rope 3 times a week (jogging: minimum 45 min. 3 times/ week; jump rope: 100 jumps 3 times a week)
Jumping rope not only gives you explosiveness and calf strength but is also a great way to build stamina, and work on your overall leg strength.
Other, highly effective exercises are calf raises and squats, as they train the most important muscle groups in the jumping process. Do these exercises every now and then (the days you do not run).
Important note: don’t exaggerate (max. 1 set of 8 reps 2 times/ week)! After 2 or 3 weeks your legs should be prepared for a vertical program.
You can now try exercises like this one:
Stand straight up, and jump as high as you can without bending your knees (they will bend slightly). As soon as you hit the ground, jump back up again. Repeat the motion a number of times. This exercise is very effective at strengthening your lower leg muscles.
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