“One and two and three and four and get those sit ups right and/tuck your tummy tight and do your crunches like this.” – Kanye West, “The New Workout Plan”
It may not be advisable to take fitness tips from a rapper, but there’s a possibility that Mr. West’s gotten a few pointers from his NBA buddies. Basketball players grind it out night after night, which takes a serious toll on their bodies. That’s where their trainers come in. Although fitness coaches may not grab the highlights for their infinite wisdom, they are a driving force behind healthy and high-performing ballers. But just because their tips are passed onto high-flyers and sharpshooters doesn’t mean they can’t be passed onto you. Here are five pointers from some of the best NBA trainers in the business.
Photo: Steve Hess/Facebook
Steve Hess: remember the little things such as diet and flexibility
If there were a poster boy for NBA trainers, Steve Hess would be on the marquee. Hess has been the strength and conditioning coach for the Denver Nuggets for over fifteen seasons, and has aided in the physical shaping of stars like Allen Iverson, Carmelo Anthony and Andre Iguodala. He’s a charismatic individual who’s as emphatic about healthy living as any other health guru. His focus relies on the importance of flexibility, nutrition and supplements. All three of those components often get lost in the shuffle, so it’s important to be cognizant of them. A proper diet plan will add greatly to your goal, flexibility will help you become more limber and loose and the right supplements taken at the right times of day will complete the equation.
Photo: Foran Strength & Conditioning/Wordpress
Bill Foran: focus on strengthening everyday movements
There are multiple reasons as to why the Miami Heat have made three straight trips to the NBA Finals, and Bill Foran can account for most of them. He’s been the team’s trainer since their inaugural season in 1988, and he’s worked hard with every star that have taken their talents to South Beach. His routines mainly revolve around full body workouts. While it’s fairly conventional to split your upper- and lower-body workouts, Foran sees things a bit differently. In an interview with Stack.com, he goes into detail about his routines: “It’s a lot different 10 years ago, when we did sit-ups and back extensions. Now it’s more stabilization and working the core the way it’s utilized in everyday life and in athletics.” Apply that to your regimen and see how your results fare.
Photo: Still image from YouTube video
Shawn Windle: add a weight training regimen
By way of Indiana, Shawn Windle is often credited for Roy Hibbert’s improved physicality inside the paint. Hibbert (one of a select few traditional centers left in today’s NBA) was once stiff and immobile until Windle put him through a rigorous training regimen to transform his skills from a lost art to a rare hot commodity in the league. Windle’s focus centres around strength training. Some of the exercises he used with Hibbert included squats and deadlifts. Strengthening your body by means of weight lifting will go a long way. It’s key to start off with a preliminary goal in terms of the number of sets and repetitions you’ll perform. Once you feel that you’ve mastered a certain amount in both categories, then gradually increase it to give yourself a challenge and improve your physical strength.
Dwight Daub: shock your nervous system with exercise
Dwight Daub’s the man to give credit to in regards to the agility of Kevin Durant. Daub has been a strength coach for 17 years, and has worked with KD to use his slim frame to his advantage when facing against more physically imposing players. Daub has a system that he likes to call “balance capabilities,” which helps Durant pass through opponents while maintaining proper footwork. Daub attributes this to challenging the central nervous system in conjunction with the body. An easy way to replicate Daub’s method would be to run or jog through rough terrain areas such as trail paths that will challenge you to keep moving while maintaining your equilibrium.
Photo: Pro Hoops Strength
Mark McKown: consistency in exercise is key
Mark McKown has shared his tricks of the trade with “The Mailman” Karl Malone, John Stockton and Deron Williams. The fitness coach stresses the importance of maintaining your physical shape throughout the season. The best way to equate this to the everyday person—that is, one who’s not employed under Adam Silver—is to always stay active. It is always important to give your body rest to repair muscle tissue, but long-term inactivity will reset your muscles. In other words, that nagging amount of pain you get from going to the gym for the first time in three months is exactly what you’ll be expecting if you don’t remain consistent with your workouts.