Five Keys to a Great Workout

With hard work comes results, but you also have to work smart. Below are five ways to maximize the benefits of your workouts.

Pre-Workout Nutrition:

Just like a car cannot run without fuel, your body cannot work at peak level without proper nutrition. While you don’t want to have a full stomach while you train, eating a good meal two to three hours before you workout will prime your body to work at its best. For short bursts of intense activity your body relies on stores of glucose for energy. As you work over a longer period of time, your body will begin to break down fats as well. So for your pre-workout meal, you should eat whole grains, fruits, and veggies. Foods that are easy to digest, provide high nutrition, and are energy dense are great fuel! Although food is one part of the equation, hydration is the other side of the coin. Making sure you drink enough water, 8-10 glasses a day give or take, will provide your body with the transportation and chemical equilibrium required to keep your body working at its best.

Warm up:

To get yourself ready to give your all and get all you can from your workout, you must warm up. This should consist of breaking a light sweat while putting your body through different plains of motion. While jogging for five minutes or so will get your heart rate up, it does not require a large range of motion. Using a row machine, or even better, doing a dynamic warm up is a superior choice. The goal is to get your entire body working. By activating muscles you will use in your workout, the blood supply and thus the energy pathways to these muscles are ignited. This will reduce your risk of injury and will make sure you will be able to recruit all of the power you can during whatever exercise you are doing.


When you get to your workout, remember that quality is always better than quantity. Try to tailor your workouts to be efficient and therefore more effective. The goal of exercise should be to improve your quality of life! Less time in the gym and more energy for other activities is a direct benefit of having a streamlined workout. Also, don’t just do exercises you like, do exercises that you need. Strength training is important for marathoners and cardio is important for athletes looking to improve power and strength. If you over look working your entire body, you are setting yourself up for injury and frustrating training plateaus.

Cool Down:

After a tough workout, it is very tempting to just get the heck out of the gym or crash on the couch. But there is one more thing that needs to be done, a proper cool down. This should consist of static stretching and/or foam rolling. Doing this will allow your body to get rid of the lactic acid build up in your muscles. Lactic acid is a by product of the energy your muscle use to function. It is also the source of the soreness and stiff feeling that you get after a hard workout. By helping your body get rid of this lactic acid through stretching and rolling out, you will speed your recovery, reduce soreness, and also reduce the risk of injury.

Post-Workout Nutrition:

While a proper cool down will help get you ready for your next workout by reducing soreness, proper nutrition will help your body rebuild and re-energize. When you workout, your muscle fibers will be broken down and damaged. The body is amazing in that when it rebuilds and repairs, it does so to make sure you will be stronger and therefore sustain less break down of the muscle tissue the next time you workout. When muscle is broken down, it will not function at full strength. If left unattended,  and with further working out these small micro tears in muscle tissue can turn into injury. The building blocks your body needs are amino acids which can be found in proteins. After finishing a tough training session, it is recommended that you intake 20-30 grams of protein within 30 minutes to an hour. Proteins can be found in leafy greens, nuts, dairy, eggs, and meats. The easiest way to get a quick serving of protein is through shakes or powders. If you use a mix, you want to find one low in sugar and carbohydrates. One final note,  if you are looking to bulk up or lose weight one principle remains the same. Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change forms. If you use more calories than you eat, your body will use the energy it has stored in the form of fat and then muscle. If you consume more calories than you burn, your body will store this energy. Make sure you are giving your body the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and grow stronger every day.


Skill Work and the Importance of Stretching- December 22

Through the first part of this year I’ve put up quite a few different workouts with many ball handling and shooting drills. If you have been doing them, you should have a pretty good idea of the type of work you should be doing to improve.

You should be putting at least one hour every day into working on your game!

I’ve heard a principle from Bob Knight that has always stuck with me and has proven true time and time again. He stressed getting into the gym and putting in quality, hard work. It is better to work hard for one hour than to be in the gym for three hours without focus and intensity.


For the next couple of posts, I’m going to write more of an informative article on various aspects of training for sport and fitness.

Stretching and How it can improve your athleticism:

Stretching is the most overlooked part of becoming a better athlete at almost all levels of sport besides the professional level. Often, when time is taken for stretching it is done improperly.

Dynamic before, Static After:

Studies have shown that holding a stretch in a fixed position without first being warmed up reduces the power output by your muscles and can contribute to injury. So before you play or workout you should go through a dynamic stretching routine. (Like the one we do before practice). There have been many studies that have shown by doing a dynamic stretching routine, vertical leap improves. Below is a little article with some intro to dynamic stretching.

In whatever routine you do, incorporate movements that will activate and target the muscles you are getting ready to use.

Static stretching  should be done at the end of every workout you do. By static stretching after your workout, you promote more blood flow to your muscle tissues and therefore help to speed repair and recovery. As you improve the length of your muscles and their ability to bounce back, you are helping prevent future injury while increasing your capacity to produce force and power. It’s a win win! Below is an article with some more information on static stretching.

As you work to become a better athlete, remember it is the little things that can make a big difference!



Workouts for Nov 25-30

As the season wears on, this is a good week to take a little break and enjoy some good food! Have fun playing ball this week, but continue to work to get better in key areas of your game.

Tip of the Week: I know it is cold now, but this gives you another way to get better at ball handling. Wear winter gloves while doing your dribbling drills this week. After wearing gloves for a good 5 minutes of dribbling work, you will feel like you have much better control of the ball.

This weeks workouts will be lighter. I want to make sure you stay fresh mentally and physically. After all of the running last week, I want you to do two days of the plyometric work below. These types of workouts are what helped me be able to dunk. For skill work, try to get up shots when you can due to the weather and the holiday. Find time everyday to work on your ball handling. Work on chaining together moves. You don’t need much space! Combine crossovers, in-and-out, between the legs, behind the back, and spin moves. Concentrate on staying low and in an athletic stance. If you look up highlights of Chris Paul, Curry, Parker, and old school guys like Iverson, you will see a lot of combination dribble moves  There is nothing to post this week, but we will get back to full force next week after the holiday!

Strength Work:

Warm up by doing the dynamic warm up we do at practice, jogging for five minutes, or by jumping rope for five minutes.

20 Leap ups from a Chair: From a sitting position in a chair, in one explosive movement, stand up and jump as high as you can. Land softly and return to sitting in the chair. Repeat.

20 Box Jumps: Find something about medium height off of the ground to jump up onto. It could be a bench, wall, box, sturdy chair ect… Bend down into a quarter squat position and jump as high as you can up onto the object. Step off of the box, do not jump off the box. Doing this will allow you to work on your explosiveness while saving some impact on your knees.

20 Jumping Scissor Lunges: Placing your right foot about two feet in front of your left, bend your knees and jump as high as you can, Land  with your opposite foot forward. Land softly but then explode back into the air. So every time you jump, you will switch your forward foot while you are in the air.

25 Calf Raises: Standing on a book or stair with one leg, keep your knee pretty straight and lower your heel below the step. Next, raise up onto your toe like you are standing on your tip toe. Do 25 reps on both legs. Make sure the lowering of your heel is slow, but the raising of the heel is done quickly.

200 Burn Outs:  Stand on your tip toes with your knees almost locked. Jump about 3-5 inches off of the ground and land on your tip toes without letting your heels drop toward the ground. As soon as your forefoot touches the ground, quickly hop back up into the air. These should be short and very fast. Try to spend as little time on the ground as possible. Do 1 set of 200 jumps.

21’s: 21 Push Ups and then 21 Sit Ups then go down by three until you reach zero. So next do 18 Push Ups and 18 Sit Ups, then 15 of each, then 12 and so on.

Lastly make sure you do a good job of static stretching at the end of your workouts. Do not static stretch before your workouts but instead warm up a little bit. Static stretching cold muscle reduces power output by the muscle and doesn’t prevent injury.