T Nation

Increase Vertical Jump


So I've focused on strength through out my weightlifting career, but the other day my friend and I were talking about how cool it would be if we could dunk. I can squat 315 for 7 reps low bar and below parallel. I can deadlift 360 for 3 reps. I'm 17, weigh 180, and I'm 6'2". My standing vert was tested on a digital platform a few months ago and it was 33". I have pretty short arms so I can only touch about a cm over the rim. Ive never done any sort of plyometric or jump training. Im wondering if there is some sort of "tried and true" basic program that I could follow to increase my vert. If there no specific program, could someone at least list some staple exercises and a set/rep scheme to follow? Thanks for all the help guys

Strength will still be my priority, but I figure I could do the jump training 2/3 times a week.

Current Weight Program:
Monday: Horizantal Push and Pull
Tuesday: Squat
Thursday: Vertical Push and Pull


You're 6'2", with a 33" vert, and can't dunk?? I don't see how that's even possible, but if that's the case, it sounds like you just need to practice jumping. I mean, I do have pretty long arms, but I can dunk at 6'2", at 200 lbs, and I'm a lot weaker then you. I doubt my vert is even in the 30's. I'd suggest just practice jumping and trying to dunk a few times a week


Lol, I actually just have a really long neck and a big head. My shoulders are at the same height as a lot of my friends who are 5'9".


Is the crease that your leg and hips make going below your knees on those squats? Sorry, it's just the discrepancy between your pull and squat that's throwing me off. Or does your grip just suck?


Yes, I believe I am hitting proper depth. My deadlift has always been my weak lift. My grip isnt the issue. I think my leverages are just bad considering I have a long torso and short arms.


Get really strong, fast, and jump a lot. Kneeling jumps, kneeling borad jumps, and infinite weight combinations with both of those work well. Box jumps, concentric only jumps, and seated box jumps help Explosive Strength. Use weight on those as well.


Hi Brian,

 I coached Track & Field for 7 years and ran in college.  I was never a sprint/jump coach, but I do have a little insight for you.

 First off, the bad news.  You say you can get a cm above the rim?  At my best I could get about 25 cm above the rim with one hand and have never been able to dunk a basketball.  In order to dunk you either need to be able to palm the ball, or you need to get your hand slightly above the mid point of the ball when its above the rim so that you can push down. That means you need to get the bottom of your palm about 5" above the rim.  So you've got about 11" or 12" to go. 

  In order to improve your jumping, in addition to our lifting you need to do dynamic and plyometric type exercises.  It's not enough to be strong, and its not enough to be fast and explosive.  Your neuromuscular system needs to be very quick and responsive.  Think about hitting a punching bag.  You want to explode, hit it hard, and rebound off the bag as quickly as you can.

  You need to train your legs to hit the ground and immediately spring into the air.

   The best for this are box jumps.  You force yourself to explode to jump up onto the box, but more importantly, you want to drop off the box, hit the ground, and jump onto the next box as quickly as possible.  The added force of your body hitting the ground after a drop will train your legs to respond to the additional impact.  

   jumping rope will also help, as well as simply practicing your jumping.

So 1) box jumps, 2) practice jumping, 3) jump rope, 4) lift, and 5) don't get fat.


speed squats, box jumps, and just try dunking over and over. im 5'11 and ive hit my head on the rim multiple occassions. I can 2 hand dunk on vertical. Windmill off backboard and i'm working on a 360. Before i started lifting, i could grab the rim, but that was it. My vert went up 15" in 6 months doing deep squats, box squats, and speed squats.


I'm a bit more blessed in the genetics department than you at 6'5 with long arms, but Ive never done a box jump, broad jump, or any sort of plyometric training in my life...I have been able to dunk since the 8th grade (when I was 6'3) and could 360 by the time I graduated high school, with little to no weight training save for some my junior-senior years.

I attribute this almost solely to riding a bicycle so much as a kid...I would literally bike everywhere I'd go up steep ass hills (both ways!) every day of the week...


Oh yeah I also bought a pair of those strength shoes but never worked out in them more than a couple weeks at a time before losing interest....go buy a bike


Foam block jumps. Sounds dumb, works great.





There's some pretty silly shit going on in here, including one guy claiming a 50+ vert. Op, chances are your very is considerably less than 33". At 6'2" with a 33" you'd be dunking with ease. Squat, sprint, jump, practice dunking= easy dunks.


Thanks, just what I was looking for.


It could very well be less than 33". This measurement was taken off one of those electronic platforms that seems to measure how long you are in the air or something. I dont know how accurate it is.


Ya, 33 inches is unlikely. I have been tested at 32 inches and I can dunk(just barely though) at only 5'11.


After some more searching on this site, the most common piece of advice seems to be, "Dude, just squat and jump." I think I will do just that, because it is so simple. Would doing 5x5 of plain old bodyweight standing jumps everyday sound like a good idea? Should I use more/less volume/frequency?


Squat or deadlift twice a week and jump at least 3x a week. For the lifts, I would recommend low volume. You look bulky enough the way it is, and more mass will only keep ya down (unless it's all in your glutes, hams, and quads). For jumps, focus on quality. I do a lot of singles or sets of 3 with at least 30sec between reps.


What was your vert when you were dunking and can u post the workout u were doing? Also do u have any pics or vids?


He's lying. I'm 31, 5'9", have had 2 major knee blowouts and I can still dunk pretty easily. A lot of my hops are natural, but some is trained. Still trying to get to where I was in my mid 20's. If you have any questions, ask.