Basketball Rehab: How Damian Lillard Gained Muscle During Rehab

December 13, 2012 | John Henderson

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Damian Lillard, Portland Trailblazer point guard, suffered a fracture in his foot that ended his 2010-2011 college basketball season. Lillard turned the injury into opportunity by transforming the rest of his body during his basketball rehab. (Find more articles on rehab.)

Despite the fractured foot, Lillard dedicated himself to four to six days of weight training per week. He was able to gain the muscle size and strength he needed to dominate during his senior year. The end result was that he was selected sixth overall by the Trailblazers.

The following strength program helped Lillard gain more than 15 pounds of muscle and increase his Bench Press from 245 to his final goal of 300 pounds.

Rehab Phase 1 (Weeks 1-4)

Monday and Thursday (Push)

Rest 45 to 90 seconds between sets

  • Med Ball Dribble Series: 2x20 seconds each
  • Bench Press: 1x12,10,10,8
  • 3-Level DB Bench: 3x6-8 each level
  • Military Press: 1x12,10,10,8
  • Overhead DB Triceps Extension: 4x10
  • Skullcrusher/Close-Grip Bench Combo: 3x10+10

Tuesday and Thursday (Pull)

Rest 45 to 90 seconds between sets

  • Plate Shoulder Warm-Up
  • Seated Cable Row: 1x12,10,10,8
  • Band Face Pulls: 4x10
  • Seated DB Shrug: 4x10
  • DB Upright Row to External Rotation: 3x10
  • Bicep Curl Dropset: 3x10+10+10
  • Seated Rear Delt Raise: 3x12

Rehab Phase 2 (Weeks 5-8)

Monday and Thursday (Push)

Rest 90 to 120 seconds between sets

  • Med Ball Dot Drills: 3x20 seconds each (numbered dot called out)
  • DB Bench: 5x5
  • Kettlebell Stability Incline Bench: 4x8
  • Incline Cable Flies: 3x8
  • Tate press: 4x8
  • Triceps Extensions: 4x8
  • 4-Way Neck

Tuesday and Thursday (Pull)

Rest 90 to 120 seconds between sets

  • Band Resisted Pull-Ups: 5x6
  • Hammer Rows: 4x6
  • Seated DB Shrug: 3x8
  • Single-Arm Cable Row with Rotation: 3x8 each side
  • Hammer Curls: 3x8
  • EZ-Bar Curls: 3x8
  • Non-Injured hip and leg exercises

Rehab Phase 3 (Weeks 9-12)

Monday and Thursday (Push)

Rest 3 to 5 minutes between sets

  • Med Ball Chest Throws
  • Bench Press 7x2
  • Single-Arm DB Bench: 4x6 each arm
  • Weighted Dips: 4x8
  • Rack Shoulder Press: 4x8
  • Med Ball Dribble Drills: 3x20 seconds each
  • 4 Way-Neck

Tuesday and Thursday (Pull)

Rest 3 to 5 minutes between sets

  • Band Speed Rows: 3x20 seconds
  • Hammer Rows: 5x4
  • Single-Arm Rows: 4x6 each arm
  • Heavy Barbell Shrugs: 4x8 (injured leg supported on a bench)
  • Weighted Neutral-Grip Chin-Ups: 4x8
  • Zottman Curls: 3x8

During phase 3 of this strength and conditioning program, Damian Lillard began an aggressive leg workout program and added weekly SwimEx workouts to improve his conditioning.

Author's Note: Special thanks to Dr. Jeff Harrison, Team Orthopedist, Joel Bass, Head Athletic Trainer, Sundance Physical Therapy, and all of the supporting members of the teams for their contribution and direction during the rehabilitation process.

Photo: deseretnews.com

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