Can I Dunk If I’m White?

Yes, no matter what race or genetics, it is highly unlikely that you cannot dunk specifically because you are white. 

Even the least athletic and short individuals can get their first dunk with proper training and dedication to that training. People have been conditioned to believe that white people have less athletic potential. 

The race excuse is used by individuals who do not want to work hard for their vertical jump gains. 

Dunking is not exclusive to one race, and it for sure does not exclude white people. The only thing that excludes you from dunking is yourself.

If you don’t believe me, I am living proof. I went through a stage in early high school where I blamed my genetics and being white for not being able to dunk. It was reinforced by others telling me the same thing. To dunk and be white would have made me the outlier.

Do not compare yourself to the majority, it will make you satisfied in mediocrity.

So that excuse was held high for years.

But, in reality I wasn’t putting in the work. I ate like garbage, could barely squat 135 pounds off the bar, my mobility was as stiff as a board, and I had virtually no control over my body. 

What changed? 

I slowly started putting in a little work and I saw results, I became relentless to the point where the work became routine.

 I started loving the process. And through that process I wish I had someone telling me exactly what to do, because I could have made better, faster progress in my vertical and dunking journey. 

Do you need direction in your vertical and dunking journey?

Well, you came to the right place. I have 4 key things you can work on to be the outlier. Fat loss, strength, mobility, and technique.

dunk example

Fat Loss and Diet

Being white is not the reasoning for your lack of dunking abilities, it is your body fat. If you are not at least under 15 percent body fat, then you are not optimizing your abilities to jump and dunk.

Fat is useless in jumping, it does not do anything but weigh you down

The average male athlete will have between 9-13% body fat. This is a good goal for most athletes aspiring to dunk. Depending on your genetics you can rest a little lower or you’ll need to rest at a little higher body fat percentage. 

Some will be comfortable at 9% body fat. While others will feel weak and need to rest at a higher body fat level.

How exactly do you lose fat?

This question is made complicated by the fitness industry for a reason. It is as simple as this, eat less calories. I would suggest calorie counting to know exactly how many calories you normally eat, and then subtract about 100 to 200 calories. 

Essentially to lose weight, just be in a caloric deficit. 

Be careful though, you want to pace yourself in this process, it’s a long game when it comes to fat loss, because you do not want to crash and burn. 

The last thing you want to do is completely starve yourself, because you will binge eat. 

Do I have to eat clean?

Not exactly, it is important to get nutritional value out of the foods you eat, but fat loss does not necessarily require eating completely healthy. In theory, you could eat like trash as long as you do not go over your set calorie deficit.

But it is not smart long term, keep the foods mostly clean as you are going to need the nutrients for recovery in your dunk training. Focus on carbohydrates, fats, and most importantly proteins. 

If your macronutrients are not being fulfilled you will not get vertical gains over time.

The goal for fat loss is to be at a calorie deficit while still getting proper nutrition. This means it is still possible to sneak a bad snack or food here or there as long as the calories are not too high because it can take away how much room you have left for other foods that are nutritious for the day. 

Losing fat will not only help you on your dunking journey, but will make every other facit of life easier as well. Shedding useless weight will allow you to feel lighter metaphorically, and literally. 

Strength Training

Being white is really not the reason you cannot dunk a basketball, it could be that you are just plain weak. It is hard to admit or face the fact that you could be lacking in the strength department. As humans, we normally turn a blind eye to our weaknesses, but admitting you are not where you need to be in strength is the first step.

What’s the ideal strength I should be at to dunk?

The question is different for everyone, but to generalize I would say at least be able to squat 1.5 times your bodyweight. For example, if you weighed 200 pounds, a consistent dunker would be able to squat 300 pounds.

This is another reason why losing fat is important, because your power ratio will increase as you lose weight and gain strength. 

What weight lifting exercises should I add to my workouts?

Dunking is mostly core, hip flexion, and legs. For that reason you should prioritize the squat. However, the front squat variation is superior to the back squat for a couple of reasons.


nordic hamstring curl demonstration
front squat demonstration
exercises for core and abs
front squat demostration hold

Why is the front squat superior to the back squat?

The front squat does a couple of things better. One, it requires more core strength to hold the weight during a set. Two, because it’s a more forward motion, it hits the hamstrings more than back squat. And three, it is a safer movement for injury prevention, as escaping upon failure is just dropping the weight. 

Why is a failure escape important?

Being able to escape safely during a failure of a set is important for two reasons. One, you have a way less chance of injury. And two, because you have more control, you can push yourself even harder without worrying.

Why is pushing myself to the limit important?

Pushing yourself is the only way to grow muscle and strength. The scientific term for this is hypertrophy. If your muscles are not in a hypertrophic state, you will not get stronger.

Every workout should feel hard.

Do not worry, you will eventually fall in love with the process. Everyone is designed to use their bodies, and push them to the limit. You will finally value sleep and that bed will feel better than ever. Speaking on that…

Make sure to rest. Rest days are important.

I would not work out more than 3 times a week. Two reasons, time management, and if you are working hard on those three sessions, you will be so sore and exhausted, you will need the rest.

Mobility and Stretching

Perhaps the most neglected part of most peoples, particularly males bodies is their hip mobility.

Do you ever feel stiff and non mobile?

This is probably because you do not stretch enough. It is always recommended to stretch after your legs are warm after a workout.

Why work on your mobility?

The benefits of stretching include increased coordination, flexibility, and torque on your vertical jump, which will in turn help your dunking journey. 

Mobility also prevents injuries from occurring as often.

stretches for vertical

One of the major setbacks in a dunking and vertical journey is the injuries. The less you have the better. Why? Because every injury can set you back months of progress while you rest. 

Most injuries do not allow you to weight lift or do rigorous activities. 

stretches for hip mobility
stretches for hip mobility

What stretches do you recommend? 

My personal favorite hip flexor stretch is the pigeon pose, but you can also incorporate the wall psoas stretch, butterfly stretch and touching your toes to stretch the hamstring. You can add some elasticity to your muscles by moving back and forth on the stretch as well. 

When should I stretch?

It is important to stretch after the muscles are warm and have been used, it has been shown in studies that if you stretch a static or ‘cold’ muscle, you can lose mobility. Make sure to incorporate stretching post workout or usage of the muscles you are stretching.


This may be the most important of the four as it is the most direct to jumping higher and dunking. There are two different types of techniques to jumping, the one foot and two foot approach.

What does each approach entail?

The one foot approach consists of sprinting as fast as you can and then jumping either off of your right or left foot. The nuances of the movement include swinging the opposite leg up for extra momentum.

The two foot approach consists of a fast approach speed with a final penultimate step, where you push as hard as you can. After this step, there are two variations, either the right to left, or the left to right foot placement. 

My advice would be to master one at a time. Ideally you would want to master both one foot and two foot with both of their variances. 

demonstrative approach of one foot jump
demonstrative to two foot approach

Final Thoughts

If you are white and you tell yourself you cannot dunk because of your skin color, you are feeding into a lie to hold yourself back. Do not let a myth discourage you to fulfill your athletic potential. Any race can dunk with implementing this information, and so can you. 

If you want to take that extra step, and get my full program and maximize your genetic potential, check out the our services page.

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