Basketball-A Running Sport

It has been said, “You don’t play basketball to get into shape, you get into shape to play basketball.”

Basketball is a beast of a sport to be “in shape” to play. Both football and baseball rely on short bursts of power followed by longer periods of rest. There are also specialized positions that dictate what type of athlete plays in each. Soccer is a sport with a lot of running, but can be geared more toward 50% effort for 60% of the game, with all out sprints for about 20% of the 90 minute game. Basketball can be much different depending on your teams style of play. But to be the best, you must be able to sprint the floor, be quick side to side on defense, jump high, and be strong enough to play through contact.

In this post I want to talk about off season running. As a player, this is the part of basketball conditioning that I hated more than anything else. But the longer I play and stay around the game, the more I realize that running is so important! While you can reach a certain level of fitness through playing and working on your own, it is very hard to do this in the off season. Playing a high quality, intense 5 on 5 game during the summer is pretty hard to do. Think about it. When was the last time you were at your local rec center and guys were playing all out defense all over the court the entire game? I would say this never happens. Getting out and shooting on your own and working out also will get your heart rate up, but it is easy to settle into a “comfort zone” when building skills.

Adding some interval training three times a week to your summer routine will give you a head start on the season, build speed, strength, prevent injury, and will make the rest of your game easier. Being able to run the court when others are tired will get you layups and good looks at the basket.

Getting Faster

Working up to doing multiple short bursts of 100% will challenge your body to get faster. This type of training as opposed to long runs of 60% effort, think a 5K, will recruit your fast twitch muscle fibers. Research has shown that each person has a set amount of fast and slow twitch fibers as well as some that seem to be able to go back and forth. By working at high intensity for shorter time periods, you will get these transition fibers to act as fast twitch, thereby maximizing your explosiveness!

Injury Prevention

If you work your way up and establish a base of conditioning through the summer, you will be less likely to come down with things like shin splints and tendonitis in your knees. These two injuries are a case of doing too much too fast! Once these conditions manifest themselves, they can be very hard to get rid off without complete rest.

Sample Workout

In running, it is very important to work your way up slowly in intensity in order prevent injury. Before getting to the main part of any workout, do a proper warm up. Dynamic stretching a foam rolling are both great options.

If you haven’t been doing much or any running, you should start slow! Here is a way to build yourself up, staying on each step for at least three workouts.Do these workouts three days a week with at least a day of rest in between each workout.

Step One-30 second sprints at 90%, 4 sets with 30 second rest in between each sprint.

Step Two– add four sets of 15 second sprints at  80% before doing the 30 second sprints. Rest for 15 seconds after each 15 second sprint.

Step Three-add one 45 second sprint after the set of 30 second sprints.

Step Four-add one 60 second sprint after the one 45 second sprint.

Step Five– The Ladder- 10 sec sprint-10 sec rest-20 sec sprint-20 sec rest-30 sec sprint-30 sec rest-45 sec sprint-45 sec rest-60 sec sprint-60 sec rest.

Once you can go up the ladder, turn around and go back down the ladder, starting with the longer sprints and finishing with the 10 second sprint.



Basketball is a game of stopping, starting, long sprints and short sprints with limited recovery. Interval training will prepare your body and mind for the challenges that the game will through at you.






Weightlifting is a skill

This is from the blog of Shawn Windle, the strength and conditioning coach for your Indiana Pacers. If you want to get stronger on the court, you must lift and lift in the right way.


The more you practice a skill, the more efficient the motor pattern associated with that skill becomes.

Powerlifting is no different, except that a loaded barbell is heavier than other sporting implements. Who wants to make 90% of their free throws, or practices by shooting basketballs once per week until they’re unable to lift their arms? Yet that’s exactly what people do when they want to improve their squat.

The more you practice, the more you improve muscle recruitment, firing rate, and inter and intra-muscular coordination. It makes you approach powerlifting as a mechanic trying to fine-tune an engine, trying to get every last bit of horsepower out of the machine he’s working with.

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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!