Dunk Progress Check on 10 Foot Rim

Craig Barclay, coach for the Trent women’s volleyball team, gave me some excellent advice last week. He said that I should start working on dunking smaller balls on a full-height (10 foot) rim. That way, I’ll be doing everything at full power in terms of getting off the ground – something I wasn’t necessarily doing when dunking on lower rims.

So, today I tried some single-leg dunks on a 10 foot rim.

I’m only just getting over the rim with my one legged jumps… but I think there’s room to grow with my single leg jumping technique. I should be able to get a little higher if I can attack the takeoff with more speed and drive my right leg up more explosively.

And I managed a new personal record today! I dunked a lacrosse ball with a two legged jump! I was super stoked about this. I felt like I got really good height, and I was happy to really throw the ball down through the rim at a good angle.

It looks like my hand is over the rim by a good amount if you pause the video at the apex of my jump, and this is really encouraging because I’ll be able to dunk a basketball once I can hit my wrist on the rim. Though there’s way more to it than that, as I’m slowly becoming aware of.

There’s also the significant factor of the skill needed to dunk a basketball, and this relates to timing, hand size (luckily I do have big hands and can palm the ball), and a variety of other factors – many of which are mental.

So – thank you Craig for the advice and for pushing me to a new personal best – dunking that lacrosse ball!

 

Dunk Journey Progress Report: Week 8

I’ve been doing vertical jump training for about 8 weeks now, and I’m beginning to see the first glimpses of improvement.

One thing I didn’t know, but makes total sense once you think about it, is that all basketball nets are slightly different heights. So I keep a tape measure in my gym bag and measure every rim before a dump/dunk session and that way I know whether I’m improving or not.

It also discredits any past performance where I wasn’t measuring the rim. For example, I have a memory of dunking a volleyball shoe from standing, like 6 years ago. Ya, that rim was probably low… 9 feet or something.

There’s also the significant factor of the skill it takes to dunk a basketball. So here’s my first dunk on a lower net (9 feet 6 inches).

And my first two-handed hang on a 9′ 10″ rim.

And a height check on a 10′ rim.

All the marbles are on the 10 foot rim. I need to be able to DUNK on it come September, or I lose $100 in bets with various friends. I have lots of ground to cover still. 8 Weeks of training and I’ve gained 1 inch so far. Probably a little more if I rest… but even without rest I’m jumping higher than I ever have in my life.

I’ve finally broken the plateau! Here are the measurements after 1 month of the “8 Inch Race” my buddies and I are doing:

vertical-jump-progress-measurements
Note: Myles was injured for the second set of measurements. Kyle got 4 inches in one month!!!

1 inch of gain in my vertical doesn’t seem like much for the insane amount of effort I’ve been putting into this. But it is. Zero would have been hard to recover from, so even seeing a little bit of gain is enough encouragement to keep pushing.

As of now, dunking on a 10 foot rim in September seems like a long shot. Most of the people I’ve researched have generally taken between 1 and 2 years to make dramatic improvements on their vertical jumps.

But having a big goal and some cash riding on it is great motivation to train, so I’m just going to keep working hard.

Postgame Report on my 1000 Burpee Month

If you don’t see any change whatsoever, except for my pants – that’s because there hasn’t been any. Not a damn bit!

I almost didn’t finish. Half way through the month I was lagging way behind and a friend of mine (Shaggy – we rented his place for a bit in Hawaii) texted me that he was almost done the 1000 burpees. So I had to finish. I couldn’t have Shaggy finish my own god damn workout without me.

So I did somewhere between 50 and 70 burpees each day and caught up, and it sucked and I hated every day of it.

But the overall purpose of all of this – which is to force me to exercise every day mainly so I don’t end up staying indoors for 3 straight days and not changing out of my track pants – was a wild success.

I haven’t had that cagey feeling, that restless shitty “I need a shower” feeling – and not from exercise but from precisely the opposite. Nobody should ever need a shower because they haven’t exercised. And I was doing that. Or not doing it. And it felt like shit. So now I’m needing showers again because I stink because I worked out. And I feel way better for it.

This month, 1000 deadlifts.

Maybe there will be visible change, but probably not. I’m feeling the internal change, so that’s enough to keep me going.

That and god damn Shaggy texting me every few days with an update that he’s ahead of me in reps – again.

Check out my face in this picture. Looks like I have half an orange in my mouth and I’m about to cry. Probably was about to cry.

Ryan deadlifting in the snow

1000 Burpees? WHY!?!

So, without being obligated to post a workout video for the past couple days – I just flat out stopped working out. Damn! So much for a habit forming. And last night I had a crazy hard time falling asleep. Probably because my body is used to expending at least a bit of energy every day – and I didn’t do a damn thing.

Everywhere I look, it seems like people are talking about burpees. In the audiobook I’m listening to (Spartan Up) the author talks about doing 10,000 burpees in a week. Another author I follow talks about his aunt committing to 40,000 burpees in a year.

After a little Googling and YouTubing, I’m now convinced that burpees are awesome and that I should do some. So this month I’m going to do 1000, all of them outside. I’ll even post before and after pics to see if there’s any notable change.

Before pic:

Ryan before 1000 burpees

So far I’ve done 43 (18, 15, big rest, 10) and felt close to vomiting. Guess we’ll see how it goes!

The 1000 Rep Month: Day 70

I go for the 2 minute handstand in this FINAL DAY of this video series.

My goal in publishing a short workout video each day was to force myself to form a new habit of working out each day (in accordance with Google’s estimation that it takes 66 days to form a new habit).

Despite having completed the series, I won’t know if the habit has formed until I’m no longer socially obligated to post these videos. So we’ll see.

As for the deeper reason behind working out every day – which was to improve my mood – that has been a total success. I had been finding myself getting frustrated and cagey if a day or two went by without any outdoor time or exercise, and simply doing a couple minutes of (even super light) exercise (and preferably outside) has 100% abolished those shitty feelings.

Keeping that realization at the front of my mind in upcoming days will help keep this going off-camera. It feels great to get outside and move a bit. It’s not intimidating if I don’t have any expectations of myself in terms of workout intensity.

Along the way, I discovered that skipping and handstands emerged as being great fits for me because they weren’t intimidating at all, and yet forced a minimum effort (ie jumping high enough to get over the rope, or holding 175 lbs overhead for over a minute).

Even entering into either of these exercises with an internal motivation level of “half-assed” – the very nature of the exercise forces you to perform at a reasonable level.

So, after all that rambling, here is my final video in this series:

The 1000 Rep Month: Day 63

Only 7 more days to go, and I still haven’t tried for 2 minutes in a hand stand. I’ve been thinking about it, and next time I try I think it will help to have a stopwatch going so I can see how close I am.

Today’s workout was doubled up with a playground visit next to the Peterborough Archives (which is the only place I know if in town where sunsets can be seen!).