T Nation

Jumping & Dunking


I'm 5'10", 165lbs and have a standing 30" vertical. Can just touch a 10'2" rim standing. Can dunk bringing up the ball off one foot and can make an alley oop dunk off two feet. (These are all on 10'2" rims) My problem is I can't dunk bringing the ball up off two feet, could it be problems with technique or just weak upper body? I can get around 4-6" above the 10'2" rim which is probably 6-8" above a regulation one.

As for lifting, I've been doing it on and off, never really sticked to a program for more than 3 weeks but now I'm committed to start a program and jump higher and get stronger. I'm probably going to do Defranco's Skinny Bastard program to get some strength gains. Any advice would be appreciated.


Hey airness. I dont think 30" is enough for you to be doing that kind of thing comfortably. But where your problem lies is that you are trained to jump with your hands (i.e. alley-oop attempt, rebounds, blocks). All of these allow you to swing your arms to get more height which you also can do when testing your max vert. So my suggestion is to practice jumping without that arm movement. Keep trying them two hand dunks.

I had the same problem as you back when i had a 32" jump because i was a volleyball player and we always use our arms to jump, no exceptions.


You may find this article of interest:



Ahh, I have no problem jumping up with the ball off one foot, I think the difference could be that you get up really fast off one foot and I am possibly getting up off two feet too slowly with the ball...

I can get 1-2" above the rim with two hands on that 10'2" rim, so on a normal rim, I should be grabbing it well and should be able to dunk two handed with that but the dunk I made yesterday (alley oop) was a one handed one. I think maybe doing some 'dumbbell swings' might help.


Here you go:


Airness... Everybody has different strengths and weaknesses as a jumper. I am the exact opposite of you. I have 33" vertical with no steps, but running and jumping off one foot I do not get any higher. The weird thing is jumping off two feet I am about 8" higher than my standing vert and my one foot run-up.

I know part of that is practice, I'm also a volleyball player and all of my practice is two foot jumping. Chances are you are a rate-dominant jumper whereas I tend to "muscle" the jump a little bit. Still though, dunking it at 5'10" is pretty solid regardless.

One technique I do (because I love to use my arms to jump) is to kind of cradle it between my palm and forearm- it really lets me swing up and maintain the ball, when I get up in the air I just roll it down to my hands. It's the only way I can windmill. Of course, I also have huge hands so it helps me out.


I've been squatting ass to grass for a while and have been making some nice vertical gains. However, I'm a bit confused... CT talks about a close stance full squats but Dave Tate reccomends a WIDE BASE for all squats.. Anyone have their point of view on this or anyone tried a method which seemed to work pretty well for vert?


Ah, I also jump higher off two feet if I just jump without the ball, I can never get high without the ball off one foot (for some very strange reason...) I can grab (but can't really hang..lol) a 10'2" pretty easily off the run (off two feet). I can also palm the ball easily so that could be the factor to me making a (weak) alley oop dunk just getting 5" over the rim.


Jtrinsey, my main man. I didnt know you played volleyball. Cool man. You my new friend!


Maybe you want to talk to Kroll Monster. He's posted some jumping videos on this forum. He's 5'8" and from his videos looks like a very explosive athlete who has been working on his ups.


i would reccomend doing both types of squats. the close stance is more for quad strength/development and the wide squat place more emphasis on your glutes and hamstrings. i think the most important things you could do would be to deadlift and also work on your o-lifts. your post. chain strength is the most important in jumping.i'm sure you know this but plyometrics will also help you greatly.


I agree with gags as i would do both types of squats. A westside template works great for increasing your vertical jump and the muscles that you need to jump. I might do something like this.

Day 1
1st exercise- ME squat(1-3RM)
Week 1- close stance low box squat
Week 2- medium stance good morning
Week 3- wide stance high box squat
Week 4- deadlift standing on 2-4" box

2nd exercise (4x5, working up)
Week 1- romanian deadlift-
Week 2- full squats
Week 3- rack pulls
Week 4- full squats

3rd exercise- 3-5x10
single leg movement(step ups, lunges, bulgarian lunges, reverse lunge, single leg squat)

4th exercise- 3-5x10
low/back hamstrings(45 hypers, reverse hypers, pull-throughs, glute ham raise)

5th exercise-3-5x10

Day 2
speed box squat- 50-60%, 8-10x2

2nd exercise (olympic movement)
-hang snatch- 5x3, working up
-power clean from floor- 8-12 singles
-snatch off boxes- 5x3
-power clean off boxes- 8-12 singles

3rd exercise
-dumbbell swings- 3x10
-dumbell snatch- 3x10
-med ball overhead toss- 4x5

4th exercise- 3x10
single leg movement

5th exercise- abs

You follow something similar to this, you strength and explosiveness should go through the roof and therefore you vertical jump will increase. I didnt add in any plyometrics because it sounds that you already jump alot, and if your doing alot of jumping already, you dont need the plyos.


You follow something similar to this, you strength and explosiveness should go through the roof and therefore you vertical jump will increase. I didnt add in any plyometrics because it sounds that you already jump alot, and if your doing alot of jumping already, you dont need the plyos.


LOL that's a crap load of work

I sure couldn't handle that much without chemical assitance :slight_smile:
All the fatigue from the strength and rep work would kill your power in jumping that's for sure...

Here is a quote from Kelly Baggett,
I wouldn't follow it exactly, but use the principals behind it...
which is somewhat pretty similar to the DB Hammer style approach -

Build up a base of strength if your lacking, then switch to a functional to technical split.
One workout you train your function, then the next one you apply the skill
Once gains stop, then you figure out what you lack and proceed and repeat

Knowing that you're probably gonna ditch what I'm fixing to say in favor of a bunch of complicated BS that will take you the next 6 months of your training time to figure out, here's a very simple answer as to what I'd recommend you do:

  1. Get stronger. Until you're going all the way down with 300 lbs on your back you simply don't have the raw horsepower necessary to blast 192 lbs up in the air like you'd want.

  2. After you accomplish #1, shift into more explosive work.

  3. There is an easy (fast) way and a hard (long) way to accomplish the above.

A: The easy way consists of going to the gym every monday and friday or Monday and Thursday. On one day knock out sets of 5 in the squat followed by some Glute Hams for sets of 6-8. On the other day knock out sets of 6-8 in the bulgarian split squat followed by some more glute hams.

Maybe do some light squats as well just to keep the feel of the movement. Try to put more weight on the bar everytime you hit Mondays workout. Do this until you can throw around 300 for reps.

Prior to your workouts on Monday and Friday, as well as on Wednesday, do a low volume of some garden variety plyometric drills such as a few sets of lateral jumps, low squat hops and low box depth jumps or whatever else you want. They all do pretty much the same
B: I'll let others tell you about the hard way.

  1. Once you have accomplished #3 you will now have a bigger motor in your car and can then focus on modifying that motor to get the most out of it.

4A. Keep the same basic schedule in place. Monday and Thursday or Monday and Friday etc. On one day do some depth jumps followed by some wave loaded jump squats for sets of 5 for a total of 4-5 sets of depth jumps and 8 sets of squats. The squat weights will vary between 20-50% of your max.

Do one set with more weight followed by one set with lighter weight and alternate back and forth until you've done all 8 sets. At the very end of your workout you might do a few sets of 3 reps with 80% of your squat, as well as a few glutehams, just to maintain your strength.

4B. On the other weekly workout make it a workout based around jumping and sprinting for PRs. Simply go out and get warmed up and try to jump as high as possible from a variety of starts (running, single leg, standing, bouncing off a box). Maybe add in some sprints if you want.

  1. When you no longer are getting consistent weekly results from 4A and 4B (which might take 3 weeks and might take a couple of months), then it's time to start over with #1.

  2. Keep repeating Steps 1 through 5 for as many years as you like until you either get to where you want to be or until you get old, gray and worn out.


I handle that kind of volume all the time, i really wasnt even under the impression that that was alot of volume. If you wanted you could lower the volume of assitance lifts to 2 sets, althought i think that would be pretty low volume.


Thanks guys! I really appreciate all the help. I think I'll keep the Westside for Skinny Bastard upper body plan and do the Kelly Baggett lower body plans. I'll keep you all updated with my progress!



Yeah I play volleyball for Stevens Tech, it's a small school in north Jersey but our volleyball program is pretty strong- currently #6 in the country in d3 baby! Where do you play?

btw... CoolColJ, I've been enjoying reading your training log on the DB forum, keep up the good work!


And when i say, 3rd exercise and 4th exericse or whatever. Thats just a list of possible exercises, you dont do every exercise on the list.


Here's a picture of me dunking a tennis ball (lol) on a 10'2" goal. Hopefully in a few weeks I will be dunking a real ball on this goal just by bringing it up off two feet.


4" above the rim is about the length of one finger. Plus you're bending your fingers slightly to apply downward force on the ball (otherwise it's not really a dunk, that's more like pushing the ball over the rim and grabbing on to it), so you're getting even less than that. I could be wrong because I don't play basketball, but it seems like you'd need more clearance than that to dunk.


True, I usually get 6" over that rim, but on Friday (which was when the picture was taken), I had some pain in my right quadriceps so it kind of took away 2" from my jump, it would be an pretty clean dunk usually off one foot considering I can palm the ball easily. I can get about 8" over a regulation goal. so that's basically my whole right hand.