How many people do you know who are 5’5″ and can dunk a basketball?

Brandon Todd Dunking

Brandon Todd is 5’5″ and can dunk a basketball. At that height, you need a 42+ in vertical leap to have a chance of putting the ball in the hoop. This is pretty insane. Todd trained for three years, putting on 85 lbs of muscle to gain the power needed to dunk.

I was enthralled by the short film on Todd I found via Garry Tan’s Posthaven.

In it he says:

I used to look like I wasn’t even on the [basketball] team. 5’5″ 117 lbs. I didn’t want people to count me out because my height. I was reading an article about russian powerlifitng and I saw this fat russian powerlifter celebrating at the end of competition and he’s like three or four feet in the air.

That’s when I started really studying how they develop explosiveness. I had to do so much ridiculous training. Running and lifting and throwing stuff. just to put a little basketball through a 10 ft cylinder.

People ask me – why do you train so hard? And I say ‘how many people do you know who are 5’5″ and can dunk a basketball?’

Because that’s what it took. Because it’s not normal to jump that high off the ground and take a basketball with you, and then land safely. It’s not normal. It’s not something everyone is doing. But now, some kid somewhere might hear about my story and think ‘Oh, he’s as tall as me! If he can do it, maybe someday I can do too.”

As I prepare to launch my book, Winning Isn’t Normal, I felt this story really struck me as a great example of the W.I.N. philosophy. Todd wanted to do something audacious. Continue reading…

I Just Tied a Pushup World Record [VIDEO]

We’re well into September and that means a check in on my monthly Fitness Challenge. The challenge for August was Aztec Pushups, and I had a lot of fun training for them. I would do a roughly .90 mile loop (Runkeeper route) and do 6 sets of 5 Azetc Pushups on each spoke of the wheel in DuPont Circle.

I’m very happy with my final tally of 31 pushups, which puts me at the same number as the Guinness World Record, set in 2012 by Brandon Collofello. I’m looking into applying to challenge the record and will continue to train the pushups, even as I head into next month’s fitness challenge.

Watch the video here below (email readers need to click through)

Are These The Hardest Pushups Ever?

(Can’t see the video? Click through)

After finishing up my max squat jump challenge, I wanted to bring it back to something that worked arms, shoulders, chest. Something that was hard, and wouldn’t have a rate limit.

Pushups are always a good candidate for an upper body workout, but I didn’t want to plain vanilla pushups. I started Googling around and found these so-called “Azetc” pushups. They kind of remind of me jackknife dives so I’m adding that to the name.

They are freaking hard! It requires explosiveness, like a really aggressive clapping pushup. But it also requires quads, hip flexors and abs to pull your legs in to touch your toes. In the video, you can see how after a while, I need to take a breather even in a one minute scenario.

They’re also pretty fun. I’m looking forward to seeing how many I can do at the end of the month. I personally feel that finger pushups are also high up on the list, but I’m willing to call these Aztec Pushups at least ONE OF the hardest pushups out there.

It turns out the Guinness Book of World Records for Aztec pushups was recently broken by a University of St Francis student, from 20 to 31. I feel like I could get pretty close to that if I’m diligent with my training. Let’s see…

There’s Probably a Limit to How Fast You Can Do Squat Jumps

(Can’t see the video? Click through)

The weather has been great in DC (despite my earlier complaints about the heat) and I enjoyed shooting the finale to my July Fitness Challenge of squat jumps.

In the beginning of the month I was able to do 52 squat jumps, but you could definitely tell I was getting slower toward the end of the minute. This time around, after doing a fairly light squat training routine, I felt I kept a pretty high pace the entire time.

Basically what I’m saying is that I’m not sure if I trained really hard for a long time, I could even get to 100 squat jumps. This might be better done as an endurance thing. Ah well, you train, you learn.

FitChal #7: Max Squat Jumps in 1 Min

(Click through to see the video)

This month I’ve decided to take on squat jumps as my fitness challenge. I haven’t gotten gym access to the building at the Smithsonian yet so I need a challenge that I can do anywhere. This one isn’t going to require much in the way of equipment.

Squat jumps are a great plyometric exercise to build both strength and power. You can do them with your hands on your hips or over your head. I put up 52 in my pre-trained attempt and hope to far exceed that in the finale.

I know a lot of you are sick of all the fitness/athletics posts – and I promise that my next few posts will be more technical / startup-y. Thanks for bearing with me.