Do this workout three times a week, beginning about four weeks before you start playing. Rest 90 second after each sprint.
Week 1: Three 15-second sprints at 80 per cent of your full effort.
Week 2: Five 20-second sprints at 90 per cent of your full effort.
Week 3: Six 30-second sprints at 90 per cent of your full effort.
Week 4: Eight 30-second sprints at 95 per cent of your full effort.
To skitter all over the court in a classic, low defensive stance like Allen Iverson’s, you need to improve leg endurance and your ability to chance directions quickly. We developed these basketball-specific weight exercises with help from Greg Brittenham, C.S.C.S., a respected strength and conditioning coach, who had previously spent 20 seasons with the New York Knicks.
Improves defensive-shuffle endurance
a. Grab a dumbbell with both hands and hold it by cradling your fingers around the ends of the weight, and stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
b. Lower your body until your thighs are parallel to the floor.
c. Slide two steps left as if you were performing a defensive shuffle.
d. Stop and press back to a standing position. Repeat in the opposite position.
e. That’s one repetition. Do three sets of four to eight repetitions twice a week.
For explosiveness and agility
a. Start in the down position of the sumo slide with your thighs parallel to the floor and dumbbell in your hands, using the same grip as above.
b. Take two rapid slide-steps to your left.
c. When your left foot touches the floor on your second step, immediately take one slide-step back to your right. Repeat until you’ve done eight to 10.
d. Then do the exercise sliding right first.
e. That’s one set. Do three sets twice a week.
Improves vertical leap
a. Squat over a pair of dumbbells as if you were going to deadlift them.
b. Grasp them with an overhand grip, your palms facing away from you.
c. Explosively stand and pull the dumbbells straight up.
d. When you’re upright, lift the weights in an arc over your upper arms, to the tops of your shoulders. Your upper arms should be parallel to the floor, your elbows pointing forward.
e. Do three sets of five.
Elevate your heart rate to warm your muscles and avoid strains. Do the Knicks’ three-step warm-up.
Named for the famed centre George Mikan, this classic warm-up drill starts your legs and arms moving.
a. Grab a ball and stand underneath the basket.
b. Shoot a right-handed lay-up by jumping off your left leg and shooting with your right hand. Catch the ball after it falls through the basket.
c. Then immediately shoot a left-handed lay-up by jumping off your right leg and shooting with your left hand.
d. Do 10 lay-ups on each side.
a. Start in the corner – 3.7 to 5.5 metres from the basket – and shoot from the sport until you make it.
b. Then move back about 1 metre and shoot again until you make it.
c. Stay in that spot, but this time, fake a shot, dribble right and shoot the ball.
d. Then repeat, dribbling to the left.
e. Finally, fake a shot and drive to the basket for a lay-up.
f. Repeat the drill at the top of the key and in the opposite corner.
g. Always make the shot before you move to the next position.
Focus on the Achilles tendon – it’s the most common problem area for basketball players. Here’s how to do an Achilles stretch:
a. Stand about 30 centimetres from a wall and place both hands against it.
b. Step back about 60 centimetres with your right foot, planting your heel firmly on the floor.
c. Then bend your left knee and lean your weight against the wall; hold the stretch for about 30 seconds.
d. Do two sets with each leg.