Stretching and improving mobility go a long way when it comes to improving your vertical and dunking a basketball. Mobility is something most male athletes often neglect, which is why focusing on it will be so beneficial. Most athletes have lots of room for growth in the mobility department and stretching will help prevent injury and add torque to your jump.
What stretches do you recommend?
The Pidgeon Pose
This stretch will activate your hips. Hips are the most neglected part of most males’ mobility. If you can widen those hips, you will inevitably become more coordinated and move more effectively.
Both lateral and forwards quick movement requires good hip strength and mobility. This will open those hips, and allow your movement to be energy efficient and explosive.
The stretch requires you to lay on the ground and put one of your legs in front of you and the other pointed behind you. You may not be able to do it at first. The important part is to make sure your thigh is on the ground.
I still have not managed to do the stretch with perfect form, so it is a journey.
The Leg Grab
A simple stretch for beginners, this stretch requires you to grab your ankle and pull it up to your glutes. It is typically more effective when done multiple times while moving forwards.
This stretch also requires a lot of balance. If you need to, use a wall to prop yourself up against so you do not constantly have to readjust yourself.
Try to hold for 15 seconds each while pulling hard towards your glutes. Be sure to keep both legs perpendicular to the ground.
This will stretch your quad muscles. However, if you want a deeper stretch, try the next stretch out.
The Kneeling Quad Stretch
For this stretch, it is important that you are doing this on a soft surface. The kneeling quad stretch does a great job further stretching that quad muscle. Use a wall to place one of your knees against, if you cannot do that, go as close to the wall as possible. Then, straighten yourself by keeping your back straight and your other leg as leverage. Definitely will feel that quad stretching out and lengthening.
Another key tip is to hold for 15 seconds and to go back and forth to push yourself closer to the wall. Use your leg that is not against the wall to leverage the other leg closer to the wall (if that makes sense).
The quad is the definitive muscle used for jumping, so this exercise is a must.
Another hip exercise, the butterfly is a static and an active stretch. Put both bottoms of your feet together, spread your legs and try to pull your knees as close to the ground as possible. Do this in a bouncing motion to really push your mobility wall.
This is another great stretch for the hips. Pro tip, also use your elbows to further push your mobility wall.
Touch Your Toes and other variations
This is a stretch that is fairly simple and you probably have done it before. It involves keeping your legs straight and attempting to touch your toes. If you cannot touch your toes yet, that’s ok, keep working on it and you will get there. The key to mobility is training it everyday and staying consistent.
Once you get better, you will soon be able to put your palms on the floor.
The variation of this is doing the same movement, but not using your hands, and just moving your upper half of your body to a 90 degree position. Go back and forth and you should feel a hamstring pull. The hamstring muscle is another muscle that is used for jumping, specifically when sprinting for an approach.
Arm Stretching and conclusion
Stretching your arms is not necessarily beneficial for jumping higher, but is very important for dunking. Try to incorporate some arm stretches to increase your mobility and reach on your arms.
Incorporating these stretches will not only benefit your athletic potential but also prevent you from getting injured. I know firsthand that one injury can set your jumping journey months in both potential progress and athletic loss from recovery.
If you want more tips on how to become more athletic and jump higher check out my other articles on my blog section. My blog includes things like how to get better at shooting, finishing, and dribbling. If you want to improve all things basketball click the blog button at the top of the page.