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LeBron James Dunking or how to improve your vertical jump today

Did you see LeBron James’ dunk in the game from the free throw line? What about his left hand jam on Dwight Howard? Seeing LeBron James get wet is just amazing.

In case you didn’t know: the 24-year-old forward ranks fifth in dunks (90) this season (2008/09). Only Dwight Howard (125), Amare Stoudemire (96), Nene (95) and Andrew Bynum (92) had more dunks through 02/06/2009.

Believe it or now, James, at 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds, has a 41-inch vertical. Now how did he manage to get such a vertical jump?

Here’s the secret: Olympic Weightlifting. Like Baron Davis, LeBron used Olympic weightlifting to increase his vertical jump. And here’s why:

Several independent studies have shown the effectiveness of Olympic weightlifting in increasing your vertical jump. For example, a group of lifters using Olympic lifts (high pulls, power clean, and clean and jerk) was compared with those using vertical jump exercises (single-legged and double-legged hurdles, alternating single-legged , etc.).

After 8 weeks, the Olympic weightlifting group had significantly increased their standing jump and 10-meter sprint speed over the control group using standard vertical jump exercises (Tricoli, 2005). Of course, this isn’t the only exercise LeBron used to increase his vertical jump. Squats, lunges, leg presses, leg extensions, and jump rope are things you should know if you want to improve your vertical jump.

But two things are crucial here: the correct number of reps and proper execution. That means you need a concrete training plan.

But keep in mind: Jumping ability is about power AND speed. So you also need to work on your quickness. Here is a very effective exercise to improve your quickness:

Wind sprints (6 series, 50 meters, 3 times a week). That means running at full speed or very fast for a short period of time, several times, 20-30 seconds in between.

So the next time you see LeBron James diving, turn off the TV and start working out!

PS Bonus tip: Lose a few kilos! Every extra pound is the extra weight you have to lift in the air. If you’re already in good shape, try to get your body fat below 15-10 percent.)

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