3 Jump Training Variables That Can Help You Achieve Your First Dunk

This is a guest post by A.J Kenrick. He is obsessed with vertical jump training and shares his passion on his site VerticalJumpWorld.com. He enjoys helping athletes learn how to jump higher and has amassed quite a following on his V.J.W facebook page. If you have ever wanted to learn how to dunk a basketball definitely checkout his site.

Let’s be honest. Every basketball player has at some stage of their life dreamed of one day throwing down a massive dunk over the competition.Some of us have been lucky enough to have actually grown up to achieve this elusive feat.

Sure some people are blessed with genetics and height that make a slam dunk a simple activity. These guys are lucky. They won the genetic lottery and honestly have no idea how hard some of us actually have had to work in order to finally make our first dunk.

Yes, most of us will have to invest a significant amount of time and effort into training our body into becoming the strongest, most powerful and reactive version of ourselves.There are no shortcuts to a higher vertical jump. If you want to finally dunk you will have to train hard and train consistently. If you put in the effort your body will adapt and you will add significant inches to your jump height. It is a simple physiological adaption that comes from the constant demands of jump training.

In order to improve your jumping ability you must train with particular jump specific exercise variables in mind. These training variables I am about to share with you form the basis of any decent vertical jump program. Yes, developing  a vertical jump program is quite a complex science and art.  Sure their are popular “done for you” jump programs like Vert Shock and The Jump Manual which do all the tricky exercise prescription and programming for you. However, just because you don’t have the “blueprint” that these programs provide, it doesn’t mean you can’t start making progress in the gym and be on your way to a higher vertical.The main thing you need is to have your passion intact. How bad do you really want to dunk?

You must be obsessed with wanting to dunk in order to achieve. In this article I am going to share some of the fundamental pro jump training hacks that will help you get started on your journey to throwing down your first jam.You will see these methods used in any college or NBA strength and conditioning studio which is focused on helping their athletes jump higher.

Let’s take a closer look at a few of these variables so you can start applying them to your own gym routine.

    1. Specificity: Use Movements That Replicate The Dunk
      Whenever training to dunk you must use movements that mimic the sequential activation of the neuromuscular system used in the dunk lead up and take-off.  You should use movements like the split squat and deadlift that replicate the “triple extension” of the ankle, knee and hip. It is also important to specifically train with the same explosive intensity you expect to output when going up for a dunk.

      Yep, each rep of each exercise must be MAXIMAL EXPLOSION. This is imperative and is the only way to set your stretch shortening cycle response and golgi apparatus control into overdrive. Remember, programs that have you doing hundreds of low intensity low height jumps like skipping will have you spinning your wheels. These programs will improve endurance and make you better at doing lot’s of little jumps. Avoid this. Train with max explosion to become EXPLOSIVE.

    2. Progressive Overload: Get Stronger To Raise Your Jumping Potential
      Never underestimate the importance of strength training in a jump program. If you want to dunk you should be focused on becoming as strong as possible, particularly in movements such as  barbell squat, deadlift and single leg lunge. By continually adding resistance to your program week after week your body adapts and therefore obtains a greater strength/weight ratio (assuming that you don’t pack on too much muscle in the process). If you stay lean while getting stronger you will have a massive amount of stored potential strength that can then be unleashed through further power and plyometric training.
    3. Reactivity and Power Development: Time To Add The “Spring”
      Once you have acquired a strong and stable foundation you must program your muscles and tendons to become as reactive as possible. This is done by undertaking a range of plyometric exercises with a few Olympic lifts thrown in for good measure. Remember SPEED x STRENGTH= EXPLOSION. Plyometric training will help unleash the strength gains made in the gym while also optimizing the tendons (particularly the Achilles) elastic properties.

These 3 variables form the basis of any quality jump program. It is easy to over complicate the process of jump training when starting your journey to becoming a more explosion athlete.

Simply focus on incorporating these 3 training concepts into your gym routine and you will be well on your way to throwing down your first dunk. Don’t for a second think that just because you are under 6ft tall that you will never be able to dunk. At VerticaljumpWorld.com we have witnessed stories of people of all ages and heights who have successfully trained themselves to dunk. The one thing that all of these people have in common is an unshakable desire to succeed. Do you? If you are interested in learning more about vertical jump training I suggest you check out this awesome guide to jumping higher.

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