How to Dunk – Tips And Tricks

So you want to know how to dunk? The easy answer is “be six-and-a-half feet tall” — but sadly, most of us aren’t so genetically blessed.

But the more ground-bound among us can take heart, because dunking isn’t entirely about genetics. It’s not even entirely about height, as former NBA Dunk Contest champion Spud Webb (all 5’7 of him) can attest.

Learning how to dunk means learning how to increase your vertical leap. And how do we do that? Through hard training and the application of proper technique.

Before we begin, let’s look at the science behind jumping. Jumping is an explosive movement that activates fast-twitch muscle fibers. Some of us naturally have more fast-twitch fibers than others (another type of muscle fiber, slow-twitch, is used more for strength and endurance).

While those of us with a greater distribution of slow-twitch fibers may be at a disadvantage, take heart — you can increase the size and function of muscle fibers through exercise and weight training.

So how do we get there? The first key to learning how to dunk sounds simple, but many athletes overlook it. In order to become a good jumper, you have to practice, practice and practice again.

Now Allen Iverson (a fantastic jumper) hated practice. He might be more famous for hating practice than for scoring. But you aren’t Allen Iverson, and practice is critical if you want to dunk.

But if you can’t dunk, how can you practice dunking? Dunking isn’t important – yet. What you need to practice are the movements. Learning how to go through the motions with fluidity and economy of movement is an absolute must. Learning how to transfer your weight and when to leap are critical. Without proper form, you aren’t going to touch the sky.

Adding strength is another key aspect. If your muscles can’t generate enough power, you aren’t going to get to the rim. A training regimen that incorporates plyometric exercises (exercises focusing on explosive jumps) may be helpful. Squat jumps are a popular plyometric exercise. Dead lifts and pull-ups are great exercises for developing overall body strength.

If you want to learn to dunk, a trip to the scale is probably in order. Carrying even ten pounds of extra fat can make a significant difference in your ability to achieve liftoff. Any added weight you’re carrying is more mass that you have to drag toward the rim, so you should work on getting yourself in peak condition.

Finally, to learn to dunk you need to be patient. Your gains are not going to come overnight. A good yardstick is to aim for 10-percent improvement every 2-to-3 months. While “learn-to-dunk-quick” gimmicks such as special shoes or body wear may be tempting, there are no shortcuts to the top.

But if you train hard and approach dunking scientifically, you can maximize your potential.

You may not be the next Iverson or Webb, but you might be hanging from the rim just like them.

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