WNBA forward Candace Parker made headlines when, as a freshman at Tennessee, she became the first woman to dunk in an NCAA game. Since then, she has continued to develop her vertical leaping ability, becoming a dominant presence for the Los Angeles Sparks in the WNBA.
Parker performs a One-Step Box Jump to improve her already-amazing vertical jump. It’s like a standard Box Jump, but this basketball-specific exercise adds a step beforehand to mimic a jump shot or a drive to the basket.
“A lot of people will tell you to just stand and jump, but I prefer the One-Step Jump because it’s more basketball-like,” says Parker. “You try to do as many exercises in the gym as you would on the court.”
One-Step Box Jump
- Assume athletic stance with box a few feet in front
- Take one step with left leg, gather and explode up and onto box with both legs
- Step back down slowly; perform jump after stepping with right leg
- Continue alternating steps for specified reps
Sets/Reps: 2-3×20 total
Coaching Points: Use arms to help generate explosion // Land on box softly with knees bent // Do not jump back off box
To prevent knee injuries, Parker emphasizes proper technique. This is of particular concern for women, who are six times more likely than men to sustain an ACL injury. Parker explains: “You should land balanced, with your knees behind your toes and not caved in. The focal point…should be your knees, because you want to protect them and keep them healthy.”