Well, the NBA Dunk Contest was this past Saturday night and Jeremy Evans from Utah was your winner. Yeah, I know, who? Check out my blog post to see who I thought should be in this contest to be MUST-SEE-TV. But, being the NBA junkie that I am, I did watch the contest and all the other challenges that they had. With the Dunk Contest done, I thought I would write a post on how to dunk a basketball.
The dunk of choice for the evening seemed to be jumping over things. I’m not going to discuss how to dunk like that, but just your plain ordinary dunk since there is a good percentage of you out there might not ever be able to experience even that.
Even though this blog is focused on how to get you to run faster, a lot of the principles that apply to speed training can apply to learning how to dunk a basketball. With a few moderations.
Ever since Spud Webb won the Dunk Contest in the mid-80’s at 5′ 7″, it has given people of all heights the inspiration to possibly dunk. Now, yes your height can’t be adjusted, but potentially, your leaping ability can. The shorter you are though, the better your genetics need to be to have the chance of dunking.
Also, along with height, is your hand size. You can’t control that, so this will also determine how high you need to jump. I’ve only been able to palm the ball “on a good day”, so I had to really get the ball over the rim with a leap. If I wanted to do it with one hand, it had to be a little higher than usual so it wouldn’t fall out. If I clutched it with two hands, once again I needed to make sure I got up there with the height.
All that aside, let’s get to the “how to dunk a basketball” program. This program is for athletes who are in high school or older. Let’s be honest 99% of athletes younger than high school really don’t have a prayer of dunking at that age.
This workout will have a combination of the two things you need to do to be explosive: strength training and plyometrics. I will say that this workout should be part of a total body workout that hits all areas of your body, but for the purpose of this blog, I’m just going to focus on the legs.
Squats are the king of the leg exercises, so you will want to do some squats. As soon as you get done with your squats, you are going to rest 30 seconds and do some squat jumps. After the squat jumps, rest a minute and start over with the squats doing 3-4 sets total. You will do 10 reps of squats followed by 12 reps of jump squats.
You should know how to do squats, if not just watch any Youtube video on it. You perform jump squats by placing your hands behind your head and squatting down as low as you can, then fire up, jumping as high as you can. When you land, immediately fall right back into the squat jump and repeat.
The next exercise you will do will be a lunge. This will help develop the single leg strength and help you jump off one leg as well as two. After the lunge, you will rest 30 seconds and then do a split squat jump. Rest 60 seconds, then repeat for 3-4 sets. You will do 10 reps on a leg for the lunge and 12 reps on a leg for the split squat jumps. These are pretty tiring.
Once again, watch Youtube for a video of a lunge. Split squat jumps are performed by splitting your legs so that one leg is in front and one leg is behind you. They should be about hip width and there should be 2 or 3 feet between your feet. Squat down so the back knee stops just before hitting the ground, then fire up into the air as high as you can.
Switch the legs in the air, so the back becomes the front and vice versa, and land immediately dropping so that back knee gets close to the floor. Then repeat for desired repetitions.
This program will help people with reasonable jumping ability. If you have a 2 inch vertical, vertically challenged in height, or 40 years old, then this will just help you get stronger and probably not much else. Younger athletes who have some athleticism with room to develop, then I’m telling you there is a chance.
That is it. I would do this leg routine twice a week with a couple days rest inbetween. On your rest days, you could maybe do some run-ups and see how close you are getting on your dunks. Once you get that down, we will then work on the jumping over objects part.