Slam dunk is one of the iconic acts of basketball. However, we often assume that only people with ideal height can dunk. Considering the average height of NBA players is 6’7″, there is a basis for this comment. But height is not the only factor.
For people of average height, is there any hope for them? Let’s learn more about “how tall do you have to be to dunk?” with Scott Fujita in this article.
How Tall Do You Have To Be To Dunk?
Some people say that it would be best to dunk it if you were at least 6 feet 4 inches tall. Additionally, your vertical jump height should be about 35 inches. At least with these numbers, dunk a basketball should be easy.
Basketball rims are usually about 10 feet above the ground. This number is vast, and of course, not everyone can perform a dunk on it.
However, that doesn’t mean anyone under 6 feet can’t touch the rim. Even in the NBA, we see Spud Webb or Nate Robinson do extraordinary things.
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So what determines how to dunk? It includes two aspects: standing reach and vertical jump.
How tall do you need to be to dunk?
Standing reach is the height that you can reach with one arm while standing upright on the ground. Measuring is very easy when you need to stand up and go as high as possible.
Often people only pay attention to their height. However, standing reach is also an important parameter that affects your jump height.
Of course, if you are tall, your average standing reach by height will also be high. But that’s not enough. You also have to consider arm length to get the final standing reach.
If you look at the NBA Draft Combine, you can see all the stats of the NBA basketball players. The exciting thing here is that people are only 6 feet 2 inches tall but have the same standing reach as someone 6 feet 9 inches tall.
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On average, a person’s standing reach is about 1.33 times their height. NBA statistics also show the NBA’s outlook skewed to the right. In other words, the height of a basketball player is not as important as the length of his arms.
The average standing reach by height is 1.33
With only standing reach, you still can’t afford dunking. It’s tough for someone under 6 feet tall to have a standing reach over 9 feet. So it would help if you improve your vertical jump for cases like this.
Related: Highest vertical jump
The vertical jump is entirely different from height or standing reach. While those things are genetic, you can jump higher with practice. You can’t be the height or arm length of basketball players, but you can change your vertical jump height.
How to dunk with an average height
How High Do You Have To Jump To Dunk?
If you are shorter – both in height and standing reach – you need to jump higher than usual. Practicing to get a vertical jump to a dunkable level is challenging but doable.
There are two types of vertical jumps: standing and maximum.
Standing vertical jump means you stand straight in the position and jump up. As for the maximum vertical jump, you can run and gain momentum to increase the strength of your feet.
Usually, people will be more interested in maximum vertical jump because it matches the actual conditions. When playing, no one will stand still and try to jump to dunk a basketball.
Anyway, the basketball hoop will be about 10 feet off the ground. So it would help if you tried to jump to make up the difference between your standing reach and that 10 feet. If you want to touch the rim comfortably, add 6 inches.
These numbers also mean that the taller you are or the enormous standing reach, the fewer jumps you will have.
Practically and based on the average vertical jump metrics I mentioned earlier, I’d say 6 feet 6 inches is the optimal minimum range for tunneling. If you are lower, you will spend a lot of time trying to reach the lap. On the other hand, Taller people are not necessarily good jumpers, but they won’t need to jump too high.
How Difficult Is It To Dunk Based On Your Height? How Tall To Dunk?
1. Challenging: 5 feet 7 inches – 5 feet 9 inches
Nate Robinson proves that you can dunk even if you are short
Although we say that nothing is impossible, dumping with this height is extremely difficult. Assuming you are 5 feet 9 inches tall and have an average arm, your standing reach would be about 7 feet 7 inches.
That means you’ll have to jump about 29 inches to hit the rim of the basketball. Also, you need to be able to jump 35 inches to dunk. This number is quite impressive even for professional basketball players.
Not every NBA player can do that. However, a few outstanding individuals like Spud Webb or Nate Robinson have vertical jumps up to 40 inches. They have extraordinary physical strength, which is quite rare.
2. Challenging: 5 feet 10 inches – 6 feet
The closer you get to 6 feet, the easier your dunking will be. You will only need to jump about 24 inches to reach the basketball hoop and 30 inches to dunk. Of course, we assume the case where you have standard arm lengths.
Although 6 feet is only 3 inches taller than 5 feet 9 inches, they decide many issues.
The first problem concerns self-limitation. When you’re training intensely and are close to reaching your physical limits, the last few inches will be the hardest.
Also, a person 6 feet tall will usually go with longer arms. So you’ve added about 1 inch to your standing reach.
At this height, you won’t be able to dunk without proper vertical jump training. However, if practiced carefully, dunking becomes quite comfortable.
3. Standard: 6 feet 1inch – 6 feet 3 inches
This height allows you to dunk comfortably without having to go through too much vertical jump training.
Many NFL football players are at this height, and they prove that they can jump better than basketball players. The reason is that the exercises of rugby are more explosive.
Of course, those with poor physical strength must practice well to be able to dunk.
4. Easy: 6 feet 4 inches and above
Being this tall, you already have many advantages over people of average height. However, if you do not have a healthy body, exercise is still essential.
However, smaller bodies are usually more athletic than larger bodies. The human body becomes more extensive, reaction time, acceleration, and power-to-weight ratio decrease.
It’s also why you’ll rarely see a sprinter over 6 feet tall. Usain Bolt is an exception. This legend grows to 6 feet 5 inches tall.
But to be fair, the higher, the better the advantage when dunking.
How Can I Improve My Vertical Jump To Dunk?
Vertical jump workouts to dunk a basketball
Now you know the height and difficulty depending on the measurement you need to jump to dunk. Next, we’ll glance at how to practice to help you jump higher.
You will need exercises to train and tone your muscles. The body parts that you need to pay the most attention to are the abs and calves.
Calf lifts are the most important exercise for strengthening calves. In addition, you have to do many other types of activities that involve large muscle groups and the upper body. Scott Fujita will list the exercises that are right for you below:
- Calf raises
- An elliptical machine.
Stretching, strength training, and plyometrics like box jumps and squats are also essential.
Of course, a healthy and scientific diet also plays a massive role in your training. If you want to practice more professionally, consider finding a coach. They will analyze your body situation and recommend a reasonable exercise regimen to improve your body.
How tall do you need to be to dunk?
To summarize, with a height of about 6 feet, you can dunk a basketball very quickly. But people of shorter height can still fully afford to dunk. Although that means you will have to go through more intense muscle training and vertical jumps.
With effort and luck, you will likely dunk. We hope that our article has enlightened you with helpful information. Thanks for reading!