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Steps to Dunk a Basketball Using One Leg

author image Mike Samuels
Mike Samuels started writing for his own fitness website and local publications in 2008. He graduated from Peter Symonds College in the UK with A Levels in law, business and sports science, and is a fully qualified personal trainer, sports massage therapist and corrective exercise specialist with accreditations from Premier Global International.
Steps to Dunk a Basketball Using One Leg
A man is dunking a basketball. Photo Credit Brand X Pictures/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Being able to dunk a basketball has many benefits. It gives you an advantage over your defender when you are close to the basket, raises your confidence level and impresses players and fans. To start, you will probably find it easier to learn to dunk using a single leg. To do this, you need to properly prepare in the gym and during team training before displaying your skill in a game situation.

Weight Training

At the gym, focus on exercises that develop strength, speed and power in your lower body. Train your legs with mostly unilateral movements that work each limb independently, such as lunges, split squats and single-leg dead lifts. Include a small amount of bilateral work, performing exercises such as squat jumps and power cleans. Aim to do two lower-body weight workouts every week, with one focusing on speed and power and the other on muscular endurance and injury prevention.

Body Weight Work

In a game situation, you must aim and jump as high as possible to dunk, so you need to include some body weight jump work in your training routine. During team training sessions, perform standing one-leg jumps underneath the basket for five sets of three repetitions and five sets of running one leg jumps for the same sets and reps. You need to jump using as much speed and force as you can, and strength coach Joe Defranco recommends a quick descent, as this helps activate your leg muscle fibers, enabling you to jump higher.

Practice Your Run-Up

It is easy to get carried away just before you dunk due to the buildup of adrenaline and excitement you feel. This might cause you to mess up your approach and miss the dunk. Find your best takeoff points around the rim, and practice jumping off one leg from each. Then, add in a run-up while dribbling the ball before each jump. The way you approach the basket is hugely important in single-leg dunking, so don't underestimate it; train for it as much as you train for the dunk itself.

Start Dunking

After consistent training focused on increasing your lower-body strength and power and practicing your dunking techniques, you should be ready to attempt some single-leg dunks. Start in low-pressure situations, such as when practicing alone or in a pickup game with friends. When you are comfortable with this, move to dunking in team training. Finally, dunk during games whenever you have the chance.

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