By Jimmy Lamour
A basketball season can be grueling with the large amounts of jumping that is performed. It is expected that many athletes have to play multiple games and sometimes during the same week. Let’s not even mention the amount of athletes that do not absorb force correctly or use improper movement patterns during activity. This often leads to trauma to the joints and nagging injuries. The last thing you should do is start playing another season with a more competitive league. Unfortunately, that is what occurs in the high school world. The better option is to perform a recovery phase working on the muscle imbalances that have been created, build relative body strength, and improve your ability to recover.
The best way to attack muscle imbalances during the off-season is to do an assessment to find out where one limb might be stronger than the other limb. We do not believe in spending a week to assess these weaknesses as our clients have a limited time to spend with us. Our test usually involve a squat with a PVC pipe to detect any ankle mobility issues, thoracic spine stiffness, and hip flexor tightness. Also, I like our push up test as it detects weakness in the core immediately. What we define as the “core” is the abdominals, hamstrings, glutes, and spinal erectors.
We address these imbalances individually by adding some foam rolling, mobility drills, stretching, and activation drills. This is where individualization is key as you do not want to stretch the hamstrings of an athlete that already has proper flexibility in his hamstrings. As sometimes, that might increase the athlete’s dysfunction and increase their chance of injury. For instance, many of our athletes have tight hip flexors that is most likely related to the amount of time that athletes sit or are in the hip flexion position. The best way to improve the flexibility of the hip is to do a hip flexor stretch. We advise our athletes to do this on our off days as well. The increased flexibility in this region makes a quick impact in the speed, movement efficiency, and back pain of our athletes.
Relative body strength is defined in my own words as being strong in relation to your weight. For instance, a person that weighs 170 lbs that can squat 340 lbs. That is twice the size of the athlete. This type of relative strength usually means the athlete can manipulate his body weight very easily. This base of strength builds a solid foundation for developing speed, quickness, and conditioning. The pull ups and the glute ham raise have been two great indicators in our program of relative body strength. The faster kids in our program can do glute ham raises and pull ups as easy as water flowing from a faucet.
The ability of being able to recover must be a priority in every basketball player’s program as well. The quicker you recover the more maximal speed efforts you will be able to repeat and less you will be beat up after a game. Some strategies we use is you guessed it, sleep. You must get at least 8 hours of sleep to give the body time to repair it self. Athletes that are unwilling to do that are just not mentally tough enough to deserve success. Also, eating for performance will speed up your recovery. The body functions properly when fed the right amount of carbs, fats, protein, vitamins, water, etc…I am in no way saying that you can never eat a burger and some fries. But you have to make eating healthy and wholesome meals as a normal part of your life and eating junk as a interruption in your routine. Also, I like using temp runs on your off days at low intensity to flush out the bad blood and nourish the body with nutrients for recovery.
Sample Workout Session:
Warm-Up- 10 Minutes
Foam Roll Upper Back
Foam Roll Pectorals
Foam Roll Hamstrings
Foam Roll Quadriceps
Foam Roll ITB Band
Foam Roll Groin
Foam Roll Calves
Foam Roll Shins
Light Skip Forward
Light Side Skip
Light Backward Skip
Forward Leg Swing
Side Leg Swing
Push Up Plus
Band Upper Back & Shoulder Traction
Thoracic Mobility Drills
Glute Activation Drills
Ankle Mobility Drills
1A) Med Ball Forward Pass x 5
1B) Box Jump x 3
2A) Box Squat 3×5 75% Perceived Strength
3A)Inc DB Press 3 x 6
3B)Bulgarian Split Squat 3 x 5 ea leg
4A) Pull Ups 4×6
4B) Glute Ham Raise 3×8
5A) Ab Circuit Matrix
Short Sprint- 10 yards x 5 linear with 1 minute rest between sprints
Short Sprints- 10 yards x 4 Lateral with 1 minute rest between sprints
Active Isolated Stretching with Band
Post Workout Drink- GI Nutrition Recovery/RSP Nutrition Glutamine, Arginine, H20 Pro
Post Workout Sauna- 20 Minutes/ Plenty of water
For more information on conditioning and training for specific sports programs, visit Lamour Training Systems