Simple Vertical Leap Exercises to Improve Dunking

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Jump rope is a great way to help improve your vertical leap.
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Dunking in basketball requires explosive vertical leaping ability, but with some training many players can see an increase in the height they can achieve on their jump. Muscles need to be strong, but they also need to be trained for quick, explosive bursts of power as part of your dunking workout.

Deep knee bends, jumping rope and training various jumps are among the best exercises to dunk in basketball.

Read more: What Muscles Do You Use on the Vertical Jump?

1. Deep Knee Bends

  1. Begin by standing with feet shoulder width apart.
  2. Bend at the knees while keeping your upper body straight. Bend until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  3. Hold that position for about one second before slowly rising back to the standing position.
  4. Begin with 15 repetitions and increasing to 20 or 30 repetitions as the exercises become easier.

2. Jumping Rope

Jumping rope can be very beneficial for training the calf and ankle muscles for explosive jumping power. Because this exercise requires little equipment, it can be performed virtually anywhere.

Start with 30 seconds of jumping and increase your time as endurance and strength improve. For an added challenge, work up to double unders — passing the rope under your feet two times with each jump, as demonstrated by ExRx.net.

3. Deep Knee Bend With Jump

  1. Perform a deep knee bend until your bottom almost touches the ground.
  2. Instead of slowly rising from the crouching position, burst up with as much power as possible, jumping as high as possible from the crouching position.
  3. After landing from the jump immediately crouch down until the bottom almost touches the ground and repeat.
  4. Repeat 15 times at the beginning and increase to 20 or 30 repetitions when possible.

This exercise is great for building explosive power in the ankles, calves, knees and thighs.

4. Stair Running

Stair running can help build jumping ability as well as stamina and leg strength. To maximize the vertical jumping impact of the stair run, try to "get air" by leaping from one stair to the next using a bounding run. To increase the intensity of stair running, skip one or two steps between leaps.

Lean forward slightly and pump your arms for momentum when running stairs, as advised by the American Council on Exercise.

5. Explosive Leaps

  1. Jump as high as possible using only one leg.
  2. Quickly jump off the other leg after landing to perform the one-legged version of this exercise.

Two-legged jumps are performed by starting in the squat position and exploding into a vertical jump from the crouched position. These exercises should be repeated 10 to 15 times and are great for building explosive jumping ability.

Read more: How Much Should I Jump Rope a Day?

6. Box Jumps

  1. Set six, 16-inch sturdy boxes in a row, 24 inches apart.
  2. Start at one end and face the first box.
  3. Lower your body into a shallow squat, jump up onto the first box and then quickly jump down between the first two boxes.
  4. Without pausing, jump up onto the next box, jump down between the boxes —land with soft knees to help protect your joints, as recommended by the American Council on Exercise.
  5. Continue until you get to the end of the row.
  6. Turn around and jump back to the start.
  7. Repeat three times.
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