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Training to Dunk a Basketball

by
author image Steve Silverman
Steve Silverman is an award-winning writer, covering sports since 1980. Silverman authored The Minnesota Vikings: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly and Who's Better, Who's Best in Football -- The Top 60 Players of All-Time, among others, and placed in the Pro Football Writers of America awards three times. Silverman holds a Master of Science in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism.
Training to Dunk a Basketball
Improving leg strength is one of the ways to get up high enough to dunk a basketball. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images

Jumping higher is often a goal of basketball players. Not only can it help them be more effective players in the all-around game, it can also help them get up above the rim and learn how to dunk a basketball. Dunking a basketball gives a player a certain confidence that allows him to know that under the right circumstances he can put the ball in the basket any time he wants.

Conditioning

To dunk a basketball, you have to get in excellent cardiovascular condition. Doing interval training will help you improve your overall conditioning and build leg strength. Go to the local high school or college track and run sprints of 100, 90, 80 and 70 yards in succession. Don't take more than 15 seconds between sprints. When you finish all four, take a two-minute break and repeat the set. Do one more double-set before you leave the track.

Lower Leg Strength

The ability to get height on your jump comes largely from the muscles in your lower legs, your calf muscles and your feet. Do calf raises to build strength in these muscles to help you get up in the air and sustain your leap long enough to dunk the ball. Get in the middle of the room -- where you can't touch any walls -- and raise up on your tip toes. Hold that for a count of at least two, then return to your original position. Do this 25 times, take a one-minute break and repeat the set. Add intensity by holding a barbell across the back of your shoulders.

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Jump Soles

Jump soles are attachments that go on the front of your athletic shoes that will help you build running speed and jumping height while you practice. One of the best exercises to do with your jump soles is to alternate sprints with walking. Go to the track and sprint 20 yards followed by a 10-yard walk. Do this five times, take a one-minute break and repeat the set. Do this four times a week to build explosive jumping ability.

Considerations

Taking steps to improve your leaping ability will help you jump higher. However, jumping higher without having all the other skills important to playing basketball won't make you a better all-around player. It is OK to work on your leaping ability but work on the rest of your game as well.

Benefits

Improving your vertical leap to the point where you can now dunk will increase your self-confidence dramatically. Most basketball players can't do it. A lot of players who can have explosive natural leaping ability. However, taking the steps to work on your leg muscles and the key muscles that control jumping height shows effort and hard work. Those who you play with will have new respect for you and you will feel better about yourself.

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