Atlanta Hawks

Josh Smith Dunk Or How To Increase Vertical Jump

Josh Smith from the Atlanta Hawks is a hell of a dunker. In fact, the 6′ 9” small forward may now have the highest vertical in the NBA (41-inch). The 2005 Slam Dunk Champion had more dunks (101) last season (2006-2007) than Vince Carter (86), Shaquille O’Neil (83), Kobe Bryant (59) or Dwyane Wade (59)!

“I first learned how to dunk at age 13, going from seventh grade to eighth. I was going in for a layup and I kept rising, so I figured let’s keep going here, and I dunked it.” – Josh Smith

The 22 year old always had decent jumping ability, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t work on it at all. Far from it! Just about every morning of the NBA off-season Smith heads down to the gym. There, he spends a lot of time on two things: lifting and plyometrics. Josh Smith’ jumping program has two essential elements, both of which focus on:

strength and quickness

The first part of the workout consists of Olympic-style weightlifting moves like the push press and hang clean, which combine traditional strengthening exercises with plyometric-like moves.

The second part is all about the plyometrics themselves. Plyometrics work the lengthening contraction of a muscle and then follow it quickly with a concentric contraction, which has particular benefits for basketball players looking to jump higher and more quickly.

If your legs are already strong enough (that means you have been training your legs for some time), you can add the following elements to your workout twice a week for the power and quickness you need to rise in the air for a dunk. If not, you first have to establish a basic leg strength to avoid injuries.

Push Press:

Starting Position: barbell across the top of your back. Bend quickly at the knees and hips and then explode upward and push the barbell up. Take the barbell back to your shoulders and repeat the exercise for a maximum of 5 reps. Start with light weights and add weight later. Then do 5 sets of one or two reps.

Hang Clean:

Starting Position: bar above your knees, your torso at a 45-degree angle to the floor. Now pull the bar up along your body. Raise onto your toes and pull your body forward. Start with light weights and do 2 to 5 sets of five reps. You can add weight later and work to one rep per set.

For more exercises and crucial things to know about vertical jump (f.e. why often what you “don’t” do is more important then what you “do” do) please take a look at this page I strongly recommend:

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