Tank Hops

How Frank Kaminsky improved his vertical leap before the draft
June 22, 2015

WHEN 7-FOOT, 240-pound NBA draft prospect Frank Kaminsky does single-leg Romanian deadlifts eight times on each side, it's not because he has an affinity for central European fitness techniques. Kaminsky, the 22-year-old Wooden Award winner who led Wisconsin to the Final Four in two straight seasons, goes through such exercises because his biomechanical and performance data informed his trainers that the All-America center has room to improve on his vertical leap.

As technologically advanced training centers become more common, players are able to home in on specific aspects of their development like never before. After going through initial testing at P3, a training facility in Santa Barbara, Calif., that included the use of force plates and a 10-camera 3-D motion analysis system, Kaminsky's trainers determined he was the most mobile big man they'd ever assessed. But he needed to improve his "knee extension acceleration, velocity and peak concentric force," all underlying factors that contribute to jumping ability.

Kaminsky then set out on a specialized plan that included the single-leg deadlifts, split-squat jumps and plenty of core work. And three times per week he executed standing jumps from force plates, which measure push-off and landing. After each session his trainers analyzed his neuromuscular fatigue to determine if the approach needed to be intensified or scaled back. "Everyone has their own individual workout plan, whether they're trying to jump higher, get more explosive or improve lateral quickness and footwork," says Kaminsky. "There's a lot more science behind [the training]."

In his final assessment, Kaminsky improved in his running start vertical (up four inches), squat jump (up three inches) and his agility. And the former Badger is determined to continue getting better. "Nothing's handed to you," says Kaminsky. "That's one thing I proved in college, and I'll continue to do in the NBA."

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Improving by Leaps and Bounds

A P3 trainer offers an exercise to help you get off the floor

Medball Vert Chest Pass

Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out and hold a medicine ball at chest level. In a relaxed, fluid motion, squat while flexing through the hips, knees and ankles and keeping the back flat. When your thighs are parallel to the ground, explode up. As you rise, extend your arms straight up and push the ball as high as possible.

Do three sets of six.

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PHOTOTIM AYLEN/AP (KAMINSKY) PHOTOKHA VO (EARL) ILLUSTRATIONILLUSTRATION BY JASON LEE

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)