Why Is Dunking So Hard?

Dunking is hard because human beings are not optimally designed to jump extremely high. Cats, for example, have a musculoskeletal system with strong hindquarters and back that allow them to leap several times their heights. We do not have that luxury. Unless you are someone who is really tall, the act of dunking may require extreme athletic ability and training.

Actually, less than 1 percent of the population can dunk a basketball on 10 feet. To do something less than 1 percent of people can do makes you a huge outlier. The truth is that dunking is hard for the average person. Do you want to be that 1 percent outlier?

How do I become the outlier 1%?

As a one percenter myself, training to dunk, and become consistent and better is what I do. Here is the simple blueprint to dunking. Focus on two particular things.

  1. Lower your body fat percentage

  2. Get Stronger

These two things will make the dunking journey more seamless and easy by sheer knowledge of what to work on. The goal of this information is to make the process simpler, and therefore easier. I am not promising it will not be hard. Dunking will always be hard, my goal is to make it easier for you.

Number 1: Body fat and diet

This is a common theme in not just dunking and the vertical training information, but every facet of athletic potential training. Fat is rarely ever beneficial in an athletic setting, and for athletic movements, specifically dunking. The more fat you can get rid of, the easier jumping will be.

Do you struggle with losing fat?

Losing fat is not a quick process. It is a long game process that is extremely difficult. Just like dunking, if it was easy then everyone would be physically fit and 10 percent body fat. 

How do I approach fat loss as a long term strategy?

To lose fat is to eat less calories. Calorie deficit is something that is the de facto process of fat loss. However, you do not want to drop too many calories at a given time. Do not try to lose weight quickly, it will not be sustainable. Just be determined and have a long term mindset.  First you need to track a given amount of calories you would eat in a given day, and a given week. It is important to not underscore it either. Then, I would recommend dropping 100-200 calories from the daily intake.

body fat example
losing body fat example

The key is to follow that routine every couple of weeks to a month. Maybe you started at eating 3000 calories, then 2800, and sooner or later you get to 2400. The impact that will make on your weight loss will be astronomical over time. 

It is also important to make sure your diet is still providing some nutritional value despite cutting calories from your daily intake. Basically, it does not matter what you eat, except make sure most foods are providing nutritional value. The most important to prioritize for nutrition is macronutrients such as carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.

Protein is the most important macro.

Since our next segment is strength training, protein will be vital for recovery in the weight room and other exercises.

Number 2: Get Stronger

Another common theme in the realm of athletic performance, strength training and its benefits on explosive movements. Just like fat loss, if you can exert more force, you will in turn jump higher. I know, it’s really complicated.

front squat demonstration
nordic hamstring curl demonstration
front squat demostration hold

What exercises should I prioritize?

Everytime strength training is involved with dunking, the utility knife exercise is squat. The squat gets the most important jumping muscle activated, the quads. But the squat gets even more beneficial and safer with a simple variation of the back squat, the front squat.

Another exercise I would recommend is the nordic hamstring curl. It is extremely difficult to do, but will benefit you in both speed and hamstring integrity for injury prevention. 

What’s so special about the front squat?

The back squat has a tendency to cause lower back pain, while the front squat has minimal to no back pain. The front squat also works on the hamstrings more. Hamstrings are used for the approach speed of a vertical leap.

Front squat also allows for safer lifting. Why? Because if you fail a front squat lift, unlike the back squat, you can just drop the weight. This allows you to push yourself harder than a back squat because you have the confidence to not injure yourself if you fail. 


How should I approach the form?

Focus on the depth of your squat. Most people can do a squat at 90 degrees, but go further. To be a ‘1 percenter’ or dunker, you have to do what others are not. Depth should be ATG, or ass to grass.

How strong should I be at those exercises?

For the front squat, you should be able to rep 1.5 times your bodyweight. If you weigh 150 pounds, that means you need to squat 225 pounds at least 3 times. 

How do I get to 1.5 times my body weight?

By implementing the fat loss protocol with weekly gains in strength. It is being efficient at two things, one is lowering your body weight, and strength training makes you stronger. What ends up happening is you become proportionately strong. 

Proportionate strength is like an ant who can lift 50 times its weight. Obviously that’s not possible for humans. Changing your mindset to proportionate strength will help in your dunk journey.


Dunking is hard, we can’t change that. What we can change is our mindset and our dedication to the craft of dunking. Everyday you get closer to dunking, the task becomes easier and easier. If you asked me if dunking is hard, I would tell you no. We ask someone who is overweight and does not train the same question, we get a different answer. Just like anything, putting time and commitment into something will make it easier.

The coolest part about dunk training is the side benefits as well. On your journey, losing weight, getting stronger, being more physically fit and explosive will help you in so many things outside of dunking. 

stretches for vertical

Bottom line is you are either part of the 1 percent or you are the 99 percent. The 1% program allows you to become the outlier. It’s really outlier or average in the basketball and athlete scene. It’s up to you to decide which one you want to be.

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