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Strength and Conditioning Tips for Top Basketball Performance.
by John Grady
The F.I.T. ADVANTAGE

Proper conditioning is very important for athletic performance and health, as well as preparing your body for the rigors of competition and for the demands of your sport. Proper conditioning doesn't take a lot of talent, but it does take a certain amount of intelligence (to do it right).

Top conditioning separates the men from the boys, the women from the girls. It seems all so simple; it makes you think how it all can go wrong. Its common sense, but it just goes to show you that commonsense is not so common.

Here are few of my top conditioning tips to help you raise your game.

Train Body Weight

Bodybuilding still has an iron grip on the iron game, and sadly enough, also on sports performance. The beginning of your strength routine should really have nothing to do with iron in the first place. Some overenthusiastic coaches will have the athletes start with benching and so forth, bad idea. The chance of acquiring an injury is the too great; begin your strength training with the basics.

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Train with your own body weight before using weights or any other external resistance. I can't believe how many athletes scoff at the mere mention of body weight exercises. Like body weight exercises are only for punks. Nothing can be further from the truth. Body weight exercises are f---ing hard! Athletes have no business benching or squatting until they can control their own body, being able to stabilize their shoulder girdle and core by doing push-ups and full squats. I can't count how many athletes I've witnessed load up the bar for their squat and bench press (and execute these exercises with poor form) while they canít even properly do a full squat or one leg squat, with no weight! Body control and stabilization are far more important than Max strength. Without control and stabilization strength is of little use. Once you develop these qualities you will be surprised how fast you progress.

Train with free weights

Anyone who knows me knows how I feel about free weights. I am a strong advocate of free weight training over machine based training. For every athlete out there training today, the benefits of training with free weights should be common knowledge. Benefits such as stabilization and body control in three planes in motion cannot be acquired with machine training. But even in several of the strength and conditioning books I currently purchase, I still see too much machine based training (e.g. lots of leg extensions, and leg curls). People we are ďathletesĒ not bodybuilders! As far as I'm concerned machine based training is only useful for beginners for a limited time, and very sparingly.

Use various methods to train multiple joints to develop strength, and power.

Thereís more than one way to skin a cat, is what was said to me a long time ago (O.K., I admit Iím getting old!--But arenít we all?). Meaning thereís more than one to get the job done. But thereís only one way to get the job done if you want maximum strength and power - Training multiple joints. Training multiple joints helps in developing explosive force and coordination and can do so much more for you than a bicep or leg extension exercise, which really have no place in an athletic development program anyway. Theyíre more for aesthetics (show), than anything else.

Donít limit yourself when choosing MJ exercises (In this case, for those that donít know, MJ means multiple joint - not Michael Jordan!). For example: Back squats and leg presses arenít the only game in town when it comes to developing leg strength to increase your vertical jump. Try doing full front squats instead. This version of the squat is not used often enough, almost never. Outstanding exercise! You develop core strength and multi-joint flexibility (wrist, shoulder, hip, knee, and ankle) all in one exercise. Also try combining various lifts to cut training time and to intensify your training effect. For example: deep front squats with a shoulder press, lunge with shoulder press, or try combining a Romanian dead lift with a back row. These lifts will really tax your nervous system!

Train multi-planar and unilaterally

More than 85% of your core musculature / power house /pillar, whatever you want to call it, is rotational. And most sports, I'll say more than 95% take place in all three planes of motion simultaneously, backward and Forward, side to side, and up-and-down, with unilateral movements. Yet the majority of strength programs use exercises and movements that take place in the sagittal plane (Back to Front) with bilateral movements. How is that possible? Come on, I mean more than 80% of the gait cycle (running and walking) is spent on one leg. Every sports performance program on the planet should include one Leg squats, split squats, lunges and step ups. If these exercises are not in your program, then you need to seriously reevaluate your program!

Hey, nobody said that getting better was easy! Keep focused.

Thereís nothing like old school exercises for enhancing athletic performance. By just adhering to these tips listed, you'll already have a big jump on the competition. I guarantee it.

Questions on training?

Feel free to visit John's website at http://www.training-for-athletes.com and subscribe to his free, information rich newsletter. He also can be contacted directly via email at johnny@training-for-athletes.com

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Grady is the owner of Training-for-Athletes.com. A company based in Europe (the Netherlands) that specializes in Sport-specific training and athletic development. John is certified by ACE and the ISSA and has more than 15 years of training experience. He regularly trains and advises many amateur and professional athletes in the areas of athletic development.

CONTACT INFORMATION:

Training-for-Athletes.com
Mailing Address: The F.I.T. ADVANTAGE
POSTBUS 112
6200 AC MAASTRICHT,THE NETHERLANDS
Telephone: +31 (0)6 139 44 223
Email:johnny@training-for-athletes.com

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