Leg strength is one of the most important attributes of elite ballers.
Travelle Gaines, director of pro athlete development at Elite Athletics, makes building lower body strength a staple of his explosive strength training plan. Gaines says, "As a basketball [player], you need that great explosiveness, acceleration and more importantly, first-step quickness."
To improve the lower body explosive power of his basketball clients—most notably Brandon Roy, 2007 NBA Rookie of the Year and rising star for the Portland Trailblazers—Gaines has them perform Dumbbell Box Jumps once a week during the off-season.
Dumbbell Box Jumps
• Holding dumbbells at sides, assume athletic stance an arm's length away from plyo box
• Lower into quarter-squat, then explode through hips, knees and ankles and jump for maximum height
• Land softly with bent knees on top of plyo box
• Step down slowly; repeat for specified reps
Coaching Points: Perform first set with no weight, then gradually increase weight with each set // Always start the jump on the balls of your feet
Gaines: When we work with athletes of Brandon Roy's caliber, a 42-inch plyo box just isn't enough. So, we started to add weight. Brandon got to a point where he could jump onto a 36-inch box holding 60-pound dumbbells. He starts with no weight, and then works up [to] 15, 25, 40 then 55 or 60.
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