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But I Don’t Belong to a Gym…

I have spoken before about the myriad of excuses that basketball players come up with as to why they cannot lift or do some sort of strength training for basketball.  One of the biggest excuses is that they cannot afford a gym membership or that they cannot get to the gym, or something of that nature.  In my opinion, that is the lamest excuse of them all!

Basketball training does not need to be done in a fancy gym.  Many people have been strength training for years using nothing but their own body weight.  Have we come so far with all of the high-tech machines and colored weights that we have forgotten about simple yet HIGHLY EFFECTIVE  exercises like the pushup and pullup?

Last summer my basketball team and I abandoned the weight room and trained three days a week at the park using nothing more than our body weight and a few sandbags .   THE RESULTS WERE INCREDIBLE!  We did tons of pushups, pullups, and body squats.  Overhead presses and Olympic lifts with sandbags.  We mixed in some sprints for speed and conditioning and even jumped onto picnic tables for our plyometric training to ultimately create a very demanding workout.

Check out the video below for the workout I put the kids at a recent clinic I spoke at through.  We only did one round, but man were they sucking wind and we used nothing but our own body weight.

The Importance of Ankle Strengthening Exercises

Many of us have recurring ankle problems.  Whether they be minor sprains or serious ankle injuries that have turned your ankle into a purple softball, they are all awful to deal with.  And how do we deal with them?  Our response to these injuries is to strap on an ankle brace or simply lace our high tops up a little tighter and keep on playing.   Fact of the matter is that neither one of these can fix the deficiencies in your ankles and in some cases may make your ankle worse by creating a dependecy on the braces and high tops themselves.  This will only serve to further weaken your ankles thereby setting you up for future injuries.  Instead of compensating for weak ankles by wearing a brace, strengthen them through some simple exercises and never have to fight ankle injuries again. 

As mentioned earlier, strapping on the high tops can further weaken your ankles.  The purpose of high tops is to keep your ankles in place and they do not allow the foot or the ankle to strengthen itself by being able to move around.  I am in no way telling you not to wear high tops, but try doing your dynamic warmup barefoot.  By doing so, your ankle will be able to move freely consequently allowing the surrounding muscles to develop.  This can only help to strengthen your ankles and pevent future injuries. 

The following video shows three other simple exercises that will serve to strengthen the ankle and its surrounding muscles. 

Ankles are largely responsible for a person’s ability to perform all movements that are necessary for basketball.  Having to constantly change direction and cut back and forth puts great strain on your ankles.  Weak ankles force other parts of the body like your knees and back to compensate, placing them under undue stress.  Having strong ankles will not only prevent ankle injuries, but knee and back injuries as well.  So in the future,  include these simple ankle strengthening exercises in your warmup and/or your cool down and prevent ever having to strap on those ankle braces again.

They Said it Couldn’t Be Done…

Elite Basketball Training

Presents:

      K & R BASKETBALL CLINICS

For the first time ever, Elite Basketball Training will be teaming up with K & R Basketball to produce the area’s most dynamic basketball clinics. The clinics will include extensive fundamental basketball training and coaching which will develop and enhance each player’s skills in the sport. Along with that they will also experience the fun and excitement of being a confident team player in a safe atmosphere.

The clinics will be available to boys and girls ages 5-19 on Saturdays from 1-3 pm at Linwood Middle School in North Brunswick, NJ.  They will be lead by experienced professionals.  The key instructors will be, Rich Stoner, head boys’ basketball coach at Metuchen High School and USAW certified Sports Performance Coach.  Khayri Battle, a 6’5″ guard who plays professionally in Argentina and played college basketball at the University of Pittsburgh.  And, Rodney Dennis who played for Bayley Ellard High School, SUNY Farmingdale, and semi-pro basketball.  

For more information and a downloadable registration form contact Rich Stoner at rstoner42@gmail.com.

Recruiting Tip of the Month…Be Prepared

Being recruited by a college for basketball can be chaotic for someone who has not been through the process before.   For the sure shot college player, letters, emails, text and phone messages from many different schools come in by the dozens on a daily basis pulling your mind in every direction.  For others who are in the middle of the pack and are looking to get noticed the process can be the opposite.  You, your parents, and your coaches will be making the calls to the schools and trying to explain why you should play on their team.  The college basketball market is stacked with perspective players and every little bit that you can do to stand out helps.  From this day forward, Elite Basketball Training and www.richstoner.com will be giving you a recruiting tip of the month.  And, starting today, I am proud to announce our newest recruiting tool, Recruiting Cards

Click here for more information =>RECRUITING CARDS

Recruiting Cards are designed to help you separate yourself from the hordes of high school players trying to get recruited by colleges, but what else can you do to make yourself stand out?  First off, prepare yourself to play college basketball.  Many boys and girls have aspirations of playing at the college level but not all of them put in the time and effort to get there.  Being able to play college basketball is the first step you as a player need to take in order to be able to do so.  Get in the gym everyday and work on your skills.  Hit the weightroom to gain size, speed, and strength.  If you are usure how, have a look around the site for drills and information on what you need to do to become an Elite basketball player.  “The will to succeed is nothing without the will to prepare,” and if you want to succeed at playing college basketball, you must be willing to prepare yourself to do so.

The Real Functional Training

Functional training is one of the sexy phrases in the business these days when it comes to training basketball players or any athlete from any sport.  Functional training should be done in a way that it improves strength as it relates to the activities that the person is trying to perform.  Misinformed trainers often try to achieve this through various arrays of circus tricks such as standing on a bosu ball while doing biceps curls.  I assure you that, that example serves no function in any sport that I have ever played.  Furthermore, traditional exercises that are performed on machines or benches fall on the lower end of functionality as well because they are done in a controlled way that isolates the muscles.  That does not mean that you should not do these traditional exercises, they serve great purpose in building up deficiencies in certain muscles, but that is another topic for another article. So, if these types of traditional exercises serve limited purpose in the realm of functionality, which ones do?  The answer is quite simple odd-object or strongman training is a great way to gain strength in a way that is applicable to sports, thus making them great functional exercises.

We have all been there, late at night flipping through the channels trying to find anything to watch when we come across the world’s strongest man competition on Espn 2.  We sit on the couch enamored to see some guy named Magnus flipping a tractor tire or pulling a bus attached to a rope only to think that this type of “stuff” has little real world application.  This could not be less accurate.  Strongman training is becoming an increasingly popular method of training athletes and for good reason.  Adding strongman exercises like the tire flip, the farmer’s walk, sandbag loading, or the sled drag to an athlete’s workout will increase strength in the posterior chain, explosiveness, and core strength.   The posterior chain includes your calves, glutes, hamstrings, and lower back.  The posterior chain is often overlooked when it comes to training, but it should be an integral part of any basketball player’s training regimen.  Why?   Simply stated, these muscles make you faster, and speed is something all basketball players could use more of.  Along with being faster, every basketball player wants to be more explosive and strongman training is an excellent way to achieve explosive power.  The increase in explosiveness comes from the triple extension of the ankles, knees, and hips that is required to perform many of these lifts (for more information on triple extension see my article on “Olympic Weightlifting for Basketball”). Most importantly, an increase in core strength takes place due to the nature of lifting odd objects.    Core training involves many different muscles that stabilize the spine and pelvis and run the entire length of the torso, and provides a solid foundation for movement in the extremities.  It is for this reason that core training is vital to being a successful athlete.  The body is capable of a diverse range of activities that include walking, jogging, sprinting, jumping, starting, stopping, etc. and each one of these movements begins in the core of the body and radiates outward.  The instability of an object like a Sandbag allows the weight to move and an athlete must adjust to this constant motion, consequently activating the core muscles.

So, now that you know why strongman training works, how does a coach or athlete implement this type of training into their workouts?  Strongman training can be integrated directly into the workout by using each exercise along with traditional training methods.  For example, sandbags can be used to do cleans or presses instead of using a bar.  You can also use the tire flip or the sled drag as a maximum effort leg exercise on your leg days.  Strongman training can also be used at the end of workouts as finishing circuits.  For basketball players, having them do several sprints the length of the basketball court while carrying a sand bag different ways (overhead, bear hug, on your shoulders) is an extremely effective way of getting them in great condition.  Finally, you can also implement a strongman day once a week where you put the players through an assortment of strongman exercises.  This type of addition to a weekly workout is not only valuable from a strength and conditioning aspect but it can also be really fun.  Divide the team up into smaller groups and organize your own strongman competition that includes the tug-of-war, sled drag races, tire flipping for time or whatever else you can think of.  The element of competition is sure to get the players excited about training that day and will carry over into other parts of their training. 

Basketball players should always be looking for new, innovative, and effective ways to train our bodies.  Their training should be functional or focus on improving strength as it relates to their sport.  Strongman training is an increasingly popular form of functional training.  This is a direct result of these exercise’s ability to increase speed and explosive power through strength gains in the posterior chain and the core.  Aside from all of that, it is a change of pace from traditional training methods that can lose their luster after a while, and it is fun.  So next time you are flipping through the channels and see Magnus carrying a 300lb stone, do not change the channel, figure out a way to incorporate it into your training and your success will speak for itself. 

Coming this summer is the first ever Elite Basketball Boot Camp.  This is going to be a no nonsense boot camp style training session that will take place twice a week for eight weeks.  The training will include all of the great functional strongman exercises mentioned in the above article.  The Elite Basketball Boot Camp will be a fun and competitive atmosphere that due to the nature of its intensity is only recommended for the serious basketball players.  If you are interested download a copy of the flyer and watch the promotional video in the sidebar of the home page under Elite Basketball Boot Camp.  Act now, spots are limited and people are signing up fast.