Everyone wants to dunk.
Whether you’re a hooper or not, if you’re reading this then you can either dunk or wish you could dunk.
We’re seeing shorter guys with bounce more than ever these days on social media, but how did they make it happen?
Genetics is the classic, easy go-to answer for most, and typically a weak excuse for their own laziness and lack of effort. Truth is dunking isn’t that tough or complicated, even if you’re not gifted in height.
There are several factors that play into ones dunking ability, all controllable. Soon you will learn how to condition yourself properly, drills to increase your bounce, and easy at home techniques to max your vert.
Here you will always learn common mistakes young athletes make that hinders their bounce.
Yes, dunking isn’t easy, but it’s doable… lets look at 5 highly effective tips to become a dunker.
Here’s how to do it:
-Sit back on the balls of your feet or heels with your knees on the ground.
-As you jump, swing your arms to create momentum, push your hips forward, making sure your feet are underneath you (NOT IN FRONT).
-As your coming down, go into a squat position with your arms out.
-Come back to kneeling, one knee at a time.
This exercise will help you gain a TON of lower body power, in just a couple of months if you stay consistent.
LEAN BODY/ DON’T OVERLIFT
A common mistake young athlete(s) make is not lifting weights properly and never giving themselves the proper recovery time. When you fail to give your body enough time to recover after your lifts, then mix in your jumps and other exercises, your muscles will cramp up and inhibit your vertical potential.
Maxing out on the leg-press or squatting daily will not improve your chances of becoming a dunker, but it could hurt them.
The optimal build of a dunker is very lean, but strong. Having a lean-muscle build is ideal for dunking because the less weight you carry, the higher your able to reach.
But this is also essential for healthy knees. For football players, wrestlers, and lifters this is important information. Practicing depth jumps and regularly attempting to dunk will wear down your knees with a bulk physique. Eventually, your (potential) injuries prevent you from dunking and excelling in your other sports. If you’re under 6 feet tall and want to dunk, then your body fat percentage should be under 13%.
SINGLE-LEG STRENGTH TRAINING
When we jump, we primarily launch off only one foot.
These workouts are important for building the strength to jump high, but also for improving coordination and balance which is essential for being a good dunker.
Two effective single-leg workouts we recommend are Skater Jumps & TRX pistol squats. Beginning weightlifters can start out with 10-15 for each leg.
CORRECT RUNNING APPROACH
This is one of the most ignored techniques to successfully dunk, but one of the most crucial.
A common mistake hoopers make when the get ready to launch for a dunk is stutter-stepping. This negatively impacts your speed, hurting your take off.
When your running to the basket, you should run with a dorsiflexion. What this means is that you’re running with your toes up, pointing in the air or towards your shins, that way you’re running on the balls of your feet.
Another key factor to add to your approach is keeping your head and chest up. This will allow you to control your speed leading up to the takeoff. When your chest is faced down, when you launch your body will fly forward instead of up.
UNDERSTANDING THE TAKEOFF
The takeoff should be at the exact point when you are at your fastest.
You need to start slow, finish fast. Having a penultimate step is huge for mastering your takeoff. The penultimate steps are the last 2 steps in your launch; this needs to be as explosive as possible.
If you’re a 1-foot jumper, you’re going to want to your last steps to be very quick. Your launching foot will need to be closer/ more underneath your body. Make sure that leg has a slight bend and jump from there.
Understanding this technique and learning the proper form is a must.
An easy online program we highly recommend for helping inexperienced dunkers is Vert Shock.
5’5” Simpson College guard Emmitt Wheatley thanks this training for learning how to throw it down.
“I am only 5’5″ and after starting Vert Shock I can now throw down dunks AND alley-oops!” -Emmitt Wheatley.
The world’s HIGHEST dunker Justin “Jus Fly” Darlington also swears by Vert Shock. Since working these excercises into his routine, he’s won the Nike World Dunk Contest and his vertical is now 50.1 inches…
For those who are looking to become dunkers; regardless of height, age, or experience click on the banner below to get started.
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