Millions of children worldwide grow up watching basketball and dreaming of some day being able to throw it down on a 10-foot hoop. Most will never realize this dream. They watch the NBA Dunk Contest every year with a mixture of envy and awe, hollering at every monster slam while cursing their Lilliputian genetics that they see as the root of being vertically challenged.
But there is hope in the form of trainer Brandon Todd, a former college basketball player who has developed a system specialized in getting you off the ground and above the rim.
Did we mention that Todd is 5-foot-5?
Todd calls his system "FlytRight," and he guarantees that it will lead to a 14-inch increase (at least) in the user's vertical leap upon completion. Need some proof? Look no further than Todd himself. The vertical expert started dunking at the age of 13 when he was just only 5-2, and he played against LeBron James in high school. To offer some perspective:
Vertical: 43.5 inches
Vertical: 42 inches
Vertical: 44 inches
Average Adult Man
Vertical: 19.7 inches
As a self-appointed representative of the Vertically Challenged Men of America, I decided to catch up with Mr. Todd ask him the question that's on everyone's mind: What kind of steroids are you on and where can I get some?
Todd, who scored more than 1,000 points at Muskingum College in Ohio, assured us that there is no magic juice to make us average folk jump higher, but there is the potential to improve.
"The only secret to dunking," Todd says, "is having a platform that is guided to jumping higher, becoming stronger and faster, following it to the maximum intensity, and giving yourself about six to eight months."
If you're willing to put in the necessary time and effort, Todd says he guarantees results. The complete FlytRight regimen is available online, along with personalized training advice from Todd himself, for $19.99 a month while a condensed, user-friendly version of the system, minus Todd's training expertise, is available in as an app on the iTunes Store for $15.99.
Todd says the story behind these training methods stems from his own teenage obsession with jumping higher.
"I bought the programs, the jump soles, and everything that says it'll make you jump higher," Todd says, "and I stumbled upon a picture of a big, fat, huge, 1980's Russian powerlifter, and he was celebrating. He wasn't even trying to jump high, he was just jumping, and his feet were at the other person's head. I thought, if he's 5-8, 360-something pounds and he's jumping 55 inches off the ground on a celebration, I'm like, what's he doing?"
From there Todd began to research Russian powerlifter's workout programs. He studied how these athletes trained their lower body, took those basic principles, and applied that to his own knowledge acquired from years of training to jump higher. That allowed him to create FlytRight. Todd immediately put his system to the test the only way he could, hitting the gym.
"I had been able to dunk for a while," Todd says, "but I would always have to choke it in a little bit… I found the picture of the Russian powerlifter on the Yahoo! search at the end of my sophomore season of college, and by the time I came back the next year, I could put my face on the backboard."
There you have it: Russian powerlifters had been holding out on us all along. Damn, Cold War.
But the FlytRight system is not just a vertical training system, as Todd is quick to point out. "It's a total body workout that will bring quickness and explosion to any sport you play," Todd says. "You'll also gain muscle, which is what I really needed to help me guard people one-on-one and drive to the basket."
The man that designed the system to take your vertical from Eddy Curry to LeBron James played against the four-time MVP back in high school. Todd faced off against James seven times, and the 5-5 guard gave us a little insight into what it was like playing against a teenage LeBron:
"He's the first player, and the only player that I've ever been around, that did whatever he wanted on the basketball court," Todd says. "We'd run zone and he'd bang in a three. We'd switch our tall guy onto him and he'd dunk on him. Then we'd double-team him and he'd find everybody open. And then it'd be halftime and we're down 40.
"I see him play now and I appreciate how much work he put into his game and how much better he's gotten."
How much better might the King's game be if he decided to use FlytRight this offseason?
"Don't even get me started," Todd jokes. "His vertical would be mid-50's, easy… If LeBron took the challenge and did my program, he'd never have to shoot a jumper again."