T Nation

Intro to Dunking

Hello and thanks for reading.

5’11" 165#

As the title suggests I want to dunk a basketball. Always have. Can’t even touch rim. Always been a powerlifting type. Back squats and big bench. That’s all I really cared about.

So I’m gaining mass and making gainz. Even getting in a 3.5 mile run every week. Then I hurt my back, lumbar region pre existing injury. Long recovery. Still big now all fat. After a couple years I couldn’t get back to where I was and then hurt my shoulder doing bench. No more bench… RIP

This brings me back to dunking. So for the last 2 years I’ve focused on Oly lifts, dead lift variations, and front squats. Got down to 165#, the first thing I felt I needed to do to dunk. Now I’m changing my training to focus on Oly until its nice out and I can jump more.

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Full power snatch 2x12 65#
-ankle mobility
-hollow holds (:20)

Below knee hang clean 3x6 125#
-groin iso hold (:20)
-U abs 8e

Front squats 3 sec negative 2x12 125#
15min ss on bike

12 snatches will get you sweating

You should get some pointers from @adarqui I heard he’s pretty good at dunking basketballs

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30inches for me. I’m squatting 20 kg more now,

Thanks for looking out

I’m sorry, I was referring to a really old thread made by some guy who wanted to “cut down on fat , muscle, and bone mass” so he could be better at being a “professional” dunker. I don’t have any advice for you on how to get better at dunking cuz I’m a big white boy that can’t jump, please don’t follow any of that guys advice lol

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Check out this thread from last month. After reading, let me know if you have any more questions.

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Thanks for the link. Nobody knows how to train for dunking

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I’m not sure what you mean, there is quite a bit of info out there. Albeit, there isn’t much on this site because this site is catered to strength and physique athletes.

@Frank_C might have some additional thoughts on it.

I appreciate the help. The link was all good advice, but that kids gotta actually start jump training. He could squat 500 and not dunk. I do like the 1/4 squats and rest pause.

I mention oly lifts simply because he should tailor his training to power(strength/time) instead of pure strength. Everyone just had diff squat and dl variations.

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I’m 32, 6’5", 230 lbs, and can dunk 2 handed flat footed. I’d like to think my training is somewhat effective. I know I’m tall but I seem to have maintained my athleticism while others have declined (referring to age).

My experience has taught me that leg strength is the base. Once you’re past the beginner stages of lifting then add in simple plyos. I like super-setting squats with bodyweight jump squats. I like a set of 5 heavy squats followed immediately be 5 jump squats. I do 3 sets.

I also throw in other simple plyos such as lateral cone hops and single leg hops back and forth and side to side just going over a line on the ground and trying to be as fast as possible with the jumps.

My current program is 5/3/1 with power cleans done before squats. Today I did my 3/3/3 week with 220, 250, 280 lbs. I play basketball for my plyos.

The key to being explosive is increasing your strength but also taking the time to train your muscles to move fast. Lifting weights is slow. Even heavy Olympic lifts can be slow. It’s recommended that you train with 60-80% of your max on Olympic movements. It’s been found to be the best for improving power. Anything heavier gets too slow (including my last set of cleans today).


In because I am reopening my own dunk training now that I am going to be slimming down.


Love all of it, super jealous of the flat foot jump

How many total sets squats and cleans do you usually do like that? Hoping to avoid doing too many too often

I’m new to 5/3/1 but I’m basically doing 3 sets. I’ve done other programs in the past that worked up to 5x6 on squats but I like sticking to 3 sets.

To be honest, I’ve done single-leg leg press and developed the strength needed to jump (I know it’s blasphemy!) I think all that is needed is a good quad building exercise. If you think about jumping, you usually don’t get into a deep squat position.

I like to work hard for a few sets instead of wasting time and energy on lots of lighter sets.

I took about 6 months off from basketball. All I did was lift and occasionally run sprints. I focused on power cleans and bumped my max from 295 to 315lbs. When I went back to basketball I could still dunk flat footed. I believe the power clean workouts are the reason I could do that.


3 sets each is my sweet spot as well.

ISO hold day - trying to limit joint damage. Inspired by GH Meltdown Training 3 (maybe 2)

Various incline BB bench holds
Wide/narrow pull up holds

  • 5 sets :20-:35 each

TRX fly/push up
TRX high rows
TRX neutral rows
TRX Overhead Raise
Calf raises

  • 3 sets 12+ reps each no rest

TRX Plank
Hip Bridge
-:50 each 2x

Big chest pump. First time trying this setup. Really trying to keep myself fresh for cleans tomorrow.

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Power cleans 5x2-3 175-185# --> gotta work on the catch

  • hang knee raises
    -Paloff press

Rear elevated Split Squat 3x10 3 sec backload 30#
Physio ball leg curl series 3x10e 3 sec backload

Hip add/and w/band 2x10e
Calf raise series 2x15e

Lots of gas in the tank. I can high pull the bar up enough but I’m not getting under to catch it. Getting under is my biggest limiting factor at the moment.

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Search ThibArmy and you’ll find your way to CT’s personal blog. He recently posted a couple videos on training for the catch. It’s simple stuff but a good reminder of the technique.


I’m just being a pussy but I’ll look for sure, thanks!

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Today is pump day. Most of the week has been back loaded, today is about as many reps as possible short negatives. I like taking the weekend off so this is a great way.

Band front squats 8x5 60sec rest

No rest from here on out, all supersets using low weight
TRX push ups 3 x many as possible
Pull ups. 3 x many as possible

Stretchers. 3 x map
Muscle snatch 3 x 6
W grip ohp. 3 x map

Lat raise 2 x map
Straight arm push down 2 x map

Fly to Press 2 x map
Y A No$ 2 x 10 each

Big pump!