How To Jump Higher and Dunk

How To Jump Higher And Dunk

I lived my whole life being crazy tall. I was always tallest in my class…sometimes school. By my freshman year I was 6’3″ and by senior year I was 6’6″. Sounds tall right?! Well in today’s world of basketball that is not even a Center, and more like a good Power Forward.

In any case, here is the crazy thing…I couldn’t dunk! I could touch the net flat-footed standing under the hoop, but I couldn’t jump for nothing. Yet the other shorter guys on my high school team could?! How could this happen? It never made sense to me. It wasn’t until my college years before I finally met the right people to teach and push me to my limits in order to develop myself in that area. Not before long, I was a dunking pro!

So whether you have a high vertical or not, the most important thing I want you to know is if you are short, if you are old, or if you just have no “ups,” you still can learn How To Jump Higher and Dunk. I have played basketball all my life. It is the one thing from my childhood that I had dedicated myself to up through college. In my career I have met some of the most inspiring and amazing coaches, trainers, and nutritionists. So read on as I share with you my secret on How To Jump Higher and Dunk.

Why Can’t I Dunk?

Some reasons as to Why You Can’t Dunk may be self explanatory, but if you are still wondering the main reason is…you are weak and out of shape! Even if you are loaded with big muscles, it just means your muscles for jumping are weak. If you are short, or heavy, or old it does not matter. These are just excuses that are ultimately and totally alterable. I have seen with my own eyes people 5’6″ dunk. I have seen heavy guys dunk who had the right muscles developed.

Really, it all depends on your condition of strength and body weight. It is just gravity after all, and the laws of physics rule in this world. Obey the laws and reap the benefits. If you are stronger and have more power, then you will be faster and jump higher!

If you can do this routine, I promise you two things:

  1. It will not be easy! Man…at times it’s just going to hurt which is why not everyone can dunk and jump high, but it is totally achievable.
  2. You will be dunking! It could take weeks or months to develop you, but you will jump higher and dunk with ease soon if you do this routine and commit!

How To Jump Higher

Ever seen a guy just jump and fly through the air with almost little effort. It’s called having a “Spring” in your jump. It doesn’t come from the thigh muscles really. If you want this, you need to build up your feet and calve muscles. This is where much of the strength in dunking comes from. Naturally, big guys (I’m talking 6’8″ and up) don’t usually have any spring in their jump…usually cause they never needed it.

Shaq for instance had no real vertical. He was flat footed and slow, but man he was ginormous and could easily dunk…and that was his value. However, if you are not freakishly huge, you need spring like Michael Jordan, which involves building up speed and the ability to cut, sprint, and jump. Ever see a clip from Michael Jordan’s glory days. He was fast, agile, and he could also jump from the free-throw line to the hoop and jam. Because these are the muscles you need to activate the spring in your jump, and I am going to show you how to get that.

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The Best Jump Higher Routine

Players and coaches alike, I have for you The Best Jump Higher Routine that will have you or your players running faster and jumping higher than anyone in your way. It involves developing your speed and agility as well as your power and strength. If you can do this routine for just a month, you will become an athletic god! It won’t matter the sport, you will jump higher and run faster and not break a sweat doing it.

For the purpose of jumping higher and not so much the power and strength, you want to do the Cardio side three times a week and the Weight Training twice a week. Switch off between them every other day and leave weekends to rest. Therefore Monday, Wednesday, and Friday will be cardio while Tuesday and Thursday will be weight training. When you can finally dunk with ease, I recommend switching it up and doing weight training three times a week and cardio on the other two days.

Week 1

Make your weight training light. You should also be doing high reps and less sets. You have the right amount of weight when you feel the burn at about the last few reps of your first set. I recommend 12-15 reps and only 2 sets and no more than 1 minute rest between sets. Go all out on cardio days!

Week 2

Your weight training should now increase to a medium weight on Week 2. Again, your last few reps of the first set you should feel the burn. You want to be doing 3 sets of 8 reps and no more than 1 minute rest between sets. Go all out on cardio days!

Week 3

On Week 3 it’s time to really suck it up. By now you are probably a little tight and sore, but you have to perform this week. This week you are going heavy and should be maxing out at your last rep in your last set. To be safe and get the best result, you should have a buddy with you for the bench press and other exercises like it. This is completely key for developing and achieving that ultimate goal of dunking that ball. You will be doing 4 sets of 6 reps. As always, no more than 1 minute rest between sets, and go all out on cardio days!

Week 4

On Week 4 do nothing…that’s right nothing!!! After Week 4 start back at Week 1 and do it all over again. It is crucial to not workout on Week 4. Your body has been maxed out and you risk possible injury and/or ruining your development in the coming weeks.

During this week you may be walking funny for half the week. However, for me I noticed that at the end of this week, went from feeling like I was hit by a bus, to feeling like I could stop a bus! After three months of this routine, I felt like I could fly on the court…and I could!!! So make a spreadsheet or list of these workouts and a schedule. Commit and go for it. If you get some mad results or find yourself dunking let me know. Whether you fail or win, or just need to get some lift…comment below and I will help you!

Cardio Routine

Suicide Drill

The Suicide Drill, also known as Killers, are one of the best yet most hated workouts in the gym…and for good reason. They make those lungs explode. By doing them your body will learn to cut corners quick and burst into instant speed. You will also develop amazing stamina. For the benefit of dunking the basketball, it will help get you the spring you are looking for.

Do 3 Killers and only rest for 30 seconds between each one. The faster you go, the sooner you will be dunking!

Zig-Zag Slides

The Zig-Zag Slide not only builds up your defensive stance in basketball, it makes you quick and works those thighs. You will be able to keep up with your opponents, burst into full speed sprint when needed, and most importantly…dunk the ball with only a two-step start. Stay Low…if you go up during the slide, then you cheat yourself for no reason, because you lose the benefit of this exercise. Zig-Zag as shown below and make sure to full sprint at the end.

Do 5 Zig-Zag Slides and only rest for 15 seconds in between.

Zig-Zag Slides

Wall Squats

Thought you get a break? NO WAY!!! As soon as you are done with your Zig-Zag slides, take 15 seconds and lean up on the wall or fence and crouch down. Put your hands in the air for better results and use use your legs to hold your stance.

Hold for at least 1 minute but aim for 2 minutes. Stand up and take a couple minutes to walk around and drink some water.

Jump Rope

For jump ropes there are many things you can do. The big thing is that you are jumping rope. For a great routine to do, see my jump rope post Jumping Rope For Weight-Loss. It comes with a great tutorial and videos to go by, plus it comes with simple enough exercises to perform. Afterwards, take a couple minutes and get ready for your BURPEES!

Jumping Rope For Weight Loss

Jumping Rope For Weight-Loss

Burpees and Kettlebell Swings

Burpees are crazy awesome, but crazy hard! At first you do a couple and think “This is nothing,” but then you hit this wall about two sets into them and are like OMG!!! You feel your lungs just burst into flames and gasp for air the rest of the way. Don’t worry this is all super good!

Burpees will give you the strength and balance you need to bring that ball with you to put in the whole, as well as, give you the spring in your jump. You may need to a starting countdown of 8, but work your way up to 15. If less is needed at least try a 6 countdown.

With a dumbbell or kettlebell of 25-35lbs near buy, perform your burpees. Start with 8 and then right after, grab your kettlebell or dumbbell and do 8 reps of kettlebell swings. Next round do 7 of each, then 6 and so on. When you finish your 1, put your hands over your head and walk around as your heart pumps like crazy and your blood gasps for oxygen.


Kettlebell Swings

2 Mile Jog

By now your muscles and lungs are exhausted. Time to finish your cardio with a good jog. A nice pace that you are comfortable with is good. You will find as the weeks go by, your jogging pace is going to drastically increase and you will be able to truly run for ever if you want to. The jog will help push you to the limit and polish off the routine well. On the court, it is also going to serve you by making you able to sprint up and down the court able to dunk every time! After all, if you’re too tired in the game…you can’t dunk!

Weight Training Routine

Weighted Squats

Weighted squats are a great full body workout. Your agility and balance will strengthen along with the muscles needed to jump up and slam dunk. With this exercise, even dunking from a flat-footed position will be possible.

Leg Press

The leg press benefits in the same way as the squats but you are focusing more on the thighs and the positioning allows for more weight. This is more about your vertical than balance and agility. You will really gain some power in your jump with this one. Your cardio will get easier too.

Leg Lifts

Leg lifts are really going to work your core strength. Your core handles all movement from your body. There is very little you do with your body that does not involve your abs. Jumping is definitely one of those things. You will also feel the burn in your upper thighs near your hips as well.

Do 2 sets of 50 (25 on first Weeks 1)

Weighted Punches

You need your arms to be strong enough to bring the ball up to the rim. This is great for fast fists in the boxing arena, but on the court you will get some serious power in your upper arms and shoulders. One-handed dunks, two-handed dunks, windmills, nothing will matter after you master this one.

Bench Press

Now you are working your chest, arms, and core. The bench press will give you unrivaled power. Again this exercise is geared to getting you to easily bring up the ball. You will no longer be a pushover on the court with this one. If the guy on the other team thinks he’s going to stop you from dunking…they better bring it!

Seated Rows

Seated Rows work more of your back, core, and arms. All crucial in the dunking process.

Seated Lat Pull-Down

Seated Lat Pull-Down are awesome for getting your arms and shoulders ready to dunk hard. Who knows, maybe you want to just grab on the rim a little, or tear it off the board. In any case, you will be less finesse and more aggressive with your dunking by doing your Seated Lat Pull-Down.

Weighted Step-Ups

This is probably one of the biggest exercises that got me some great results in dunking. The motions and extra weight really simulates the big jump you may need to make. When you often go to dunk it is not always on a sprint and you will have people on you that you need to jump through. This exercise really gives you the power to do that. Grab on as they may, they are just coming along for the ride as you sink that ball in the whole!

That’s The Whole Routine

Be sure to shoot after each routine as your new power and muscles will change your shot and need getting used to! Not really a bad problem to have if you ask me. This workout routine may seem intense and intimidating and it should! If this was easy, everyone in the world would be an NBA star. Being able to dunk is not just a special gift one has. It is earned, and some have done activities and workouts in life to gift them with the ability to dunk and others need to work to earn it more. Which ever the case, this routine will have you dunking fast! I promise you if you can do a month you will see huge results…Good Luck!!! Again, feel free to comment below and share on your wins and struggles.


  1. Looks like a intense training but also quite fun. When do you think will I feel the first results and should I change the exercises after a few weeks?


    • Results are going to vary. After the week of rest from Week 4 and beginning Week 1, you will most definitely notice a change. Your body should be all ready to go and you will feel great as you do the exercises.

  2. Wow, a really complete description and visual example. I thought, I don’t need to dunk, but after reading to the bottom, I can apply this training to many goal areas. May be a bit lively for me, I will have to find a way to adjust it to a more moderate pace.

    • It is hard, in fact, I remember my first week I did this workout in my college days. We actually had one guy on the team vomit from the intensity, and then get back in and finish the routine. I remember at times felt sick as well on the first week. This workout is a serious workout constructed for power and mad results in the athletic and vertical jumping arena. Without someone there to push you it most likely won’t be like what my team experienced, but it will be effective nonetheless and push you to your limits.

  3. Oh seeing suicides on here brings back bad flash backs from high school haha. Great article and looks like an awesome work out plan. Have you ever used any of those shoes that are supposed to increase your verticals also? Was just curious I’ve never met anyone who has used this and was wondering if they actually worked or not.

    • My team and I joked about them back in the day. From what I understand, they really don’t work. Shortly after those came out years back, the word was you would get an inch or two at best. A workout like the one I have shown will bring 10 inches or more.

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