Kyle Lowry's 12-Week All-Star Training Program

Find out how All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry got stronger and improved his skills during the off-season.

Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry is having his best NBA season. He is scoring six more points per game than his career average, and he's starting for the East in the 2015 NBA All-Star Game.

According to Joe Abunassar, founder of Impact Basketball (Las Vegas), Lowry's success can be traced to his off-season training program. "We can tell what players will have a good season based on their summer," Abunassar says. "The ones who were consistent usually come out and have a very good, injury-free season."

Lowry is more muscular than many other NBA players. According to Abunassar, Lowry can't bulk up because he needs to be fast and lean at his position. His primary training goals were to restore and increase his range of motion, improve his work capacity and improve his technique and efficiency on his exercises.

"He has a pretty thick frame, so those goals are very applicable to him," says Abunassar. "If we bulk Kyle up, his range of motion will decrease on the court."

As soon as the 2013-2014 season was over, Lowry immediately came to the Las Vegas facility to train. Abunassar described Lowry as all business—ready to put the work in to get better. It paid off for him in the long run.

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By not taking a long break after his final game, Lowry essentially bought himself time. He was able to get stronger, faster and leaner early in the summer, which allowed him to spend the final six weeks of his off-season focusing on his on-court skills.

Abunassar says, "He came in and we got his body in great shape right away. This allowed us to push him on the court even more. By the time it was August, we were focusing on his game and we saw huge improvements on the court. It really helped him with his confidence. When we played 5-on-5 in our gym, he was clearly dominating every day. This had a lot to do with what kind of shape he was in."

Lowry's confidence in his game and fitness built the foundation for his first All-Star appearance.

All-Star Training Plan

Lowry's off-season training was a 12-week program in four phases, each with a different focus. The goal was to reach his physical goals at the start of the program and maintain his gains while he refined his skills.

The plan was comprehensive, including on-court skills sessions, strength workouts and complementary strength routines designed to prevent injury and improve mobility. Abunassar provides a detailed description of what to expect in each phase, along with the complete program below.

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Phase 1: Weeks 1 -3

On-court skill development sessions at a moderate pace (with a controlled heart rate for 45-70 minutes) were used to develop new skills and add new elements to Lowry's game.  Cutting and change-of-direction movements were not done at full speed.  Conditioning sets were minimal, and there was no live-action one-on-one or five-on-five.

Strength training was used to solidify Lowry's foundation and core. Non-explosive movements built his general total-body strength, which served as a base for the next phase. Total-body flexibility, hip mobility and balance exercises were the major focus, along with injury prevention. Strength training was done three days per week, with non-impact conditioning. Strength exercises were paired with mobility exercises to restore proper tissue length.

Court Workout (5 days per week)

  • Dynamic Warm-Up and Activation – 5-7 minutes
  • Stationary and Light Movement Ball-Handling – 8-10 minutes
  • Spot Shooting from Mid-Range – 7 spots, 10 makes
  • Pull-Up Jumpers from Mid-Range – 7 spots (both directions), 5-7 makes
  • Spot Shooting from 3-Point Distance – 7 spots, 10 makes
  • Paint Finishes Series: Floaters, Runners and Hooks – 8-15 minutes
  • Movement Catch and Shoot Sets - 5-10 makes from each spot: flare, drift, slide, trail

Strength Workout (3 times per week)

  • 1a) Hex Bar Deadlift - 3x8
  • 1b) Hip Flexor Stretch - 3x30 seconds each side
  • 2a) Bench Press - 3x8
  • 2b) T-Spine Mobility - 3x6 each side
  • 3a) Single-Arm Standing Rows - 3x10 each arm
  • 3b) Lunge and Twist - 3x6 each direction

Conditioning

Sprints – 15x15 sec. @65-75% max effort; rest for 45 seconds between sets

Cooldown

Total-body foam roll and stretch

Strength Component (Non-lifting days)

  • Mini-Band Mobility Series - 8-10 minutes
  • Bodyweight Squats - 1x15
  • External Knee Rotations - 1x12 each direction
  • Stationary March - 1x20 sec.
  • Forward March - 1x10 yards
  • Lateral March - 1x10 yards each direction
  • Straight-Leg Lateral Walk - 1x5 yards each direction
  • Egg Beaters - 15 yards

Core Activation and Development

  • Front Plank - 1x60 seconds
  • Side Plank - 1x45 seconds each side
  • Front Plank with Knee Touch - 1x30 seconds each side
  • Side Plank Hip Dip - 1x10 each side
  • Glute Bridge - 1x20

Hip Mobility and Stability (not lifting)

  • Clam Shells - 1x15 each side
  • Clam Shell Mini-Band Hold - 1x30 seconds each side
  • Fire Hydrants - 1x15 each side
  • Single-Leg Linear Hop and Hold - 2x6 each side
  • Lateral Hop and Hold - 2x6 each side

Phase 2: Weeks 4-6

The intensity of basketball skill sessions picked up, with some parts performed at game speed. New skills developed in Phase 1 were trained at game speed. Court workouts combined standard skill sharpening with new skill development in a medium- to high-intensity for 55-65 minutes. Live action 1-on-1 or 5-on-5 was incorporated once or twice a week.

In Phase 2, the volume of strength training was increased and areas of discomfort or injury were addressed with rehabilitation exercises. The goals were to make strength and athletic gains and monitor body composition targets set at the beginning of the program. Time off the court focused for two days per week on conditioning, agility and power development: running sand dunes, mountain climbing, sand agility and on-court agility training. The strength training program moved to a four-days-per-week schedule.

Court Workout (5 days per week)

  • Dynamic Warm-Up and Activation - 5-7 minutes
  • Dynamic Full-Speed Ball Handling - 8-10 minutes
  • Spot Shoot from Mid-Range - 7 spots, 10 makes
  • Pull-Up Jumpers with Change of Direction from Mid-Range - 7 spots (both directions), 5-7 makes
  • Spot Shooting from 3-Point Distance - 7 spots, 10 makes
  • Pull-Up 3-Pointers - 5-10 makes from each spot: wing transition, side ball-screen, side hand-off, middle transition, 1-on-1 half-court, supplemental shooting sessions (if necessary)

Strength Workout (4 days per week)

  • 1a) Deadlift - 4x5
  • 1b) Hip Flexor Stretch - 4x30 seconds each side
  • 2a) Bench Press - 4x6
  • 2b) T-Spine Mobility - 4x6 each side
  • 3a) Dumbbell Rows - 3x8 each arm
  • 3b) Dumbbell Lunges - 4x5 each leg

Conditioning (1-2 times per week, never on the same day)

  • Sprints - 10x full court, down and back (ideally in under 10 seconds); rest for 10 seconds
  • 33's - 4x3 full-court down and back; rest for 60 seconds
  • Mountain/Hill Runs: Sprints - 4x30 yards; rest for 1 minute; run - 4x200 yards, rest for 4 minutes
  • Sand Dune Agility and Plyos: Agility Ladder - 2x5 patterns each; Broad Jumps - 3x5; Sprint to Shuffle - 3x20 yards

Strength Component (non-lifting days)

Hip Mobility and Injury Prevention

  • Clam Shells - 1x15 each side
  • Clam Shell Mini-Band Holds - 1x30 seconds each side
  • Fire Hydrants - 1x15 each side
  • Single-Leg Linear Hops - 2x16 each side
  • Lateral Hop and Hold - 2x6 each side
  • Mini-Band Series

Phase 3: Weeks 7-9

This phase featured live action 1-on-1 and full-court games three or four days per week. Most skill training sessions were at full-speed for 45-60 minutes and included NBA offensive sets—pick-and-roll, various screen sets, etc.—to establish rhythm and build confidence in common game situations. A second on-court, usually low-intensity, session of shooting was added for repetition.

Strength sessions focused on adding power to build confidence and proprioception with added strength, speed and agility. Lowry continued to train for power and agility off the court twice a week. Daily conditioning sessions varied in intensity. The goal was to get comfortable playing with more power and agility. Strength sessions focused on total-body development four days per week.

Court Workout

  • Dynamic Warm-Up and Activation - 5-7 minutes
  • Stationary and Dynamic Ball-Handling - 8-10 minutes
  • Spot Shooting from Mid-Range - 7 spots, 10 makes
  • Pull-Up Jumpers from Mid-Range - 7 spots (both directions), 5-7 makes
  • Spot Shooting from 3-Point Line - 7 spots, 10 makes
  • Full-Speed Paint Finish Series: runners, floaters, hook shots off offensive situations
  • Ball-Screen Reactive Series with Defense: 1-on-1, daily; 5-on-5, 3 times per week
  • Supplemental shooting sessions

Strength Workout  (4 days per week)

  • 1a) Deadlift - 5x3
  • 1b) Box Jumps - 4x3
  • 2a) Bench Press - 5x3
  • 2b) Medicine Ball Chest Pass - 4x8
  • 3a) Rotational Rows - 4x8 each side
  • 3b) Med Ball Squat and Throw - 4x8

Strength Component (non-lifting days)

Hip Mobility and Injury Prevention

  • Clam Shells - 1x15 each side
  • Clam Shell Mini-Band Holds - 1x30 seconds each side
  • Fire Hydrants - 1x15 each side
  • Single-Leg Linear Hops - 2x16 each side
  • Lateral Hop and Hold - 2x6 each side
  • Mini-Band Series

Conditioning (1-2 times per week, never on the same day)

  • 10's - 2x5 full court down and back; rest for 60 seconds
  • Mountain/Hill Runs: sprints - 8x30 yards, rest for 1 minute; runs - 5x200 yards, rest for 4 minutes
  • Sand Dune Agility and Plyos
  • Agility Ladder - 2x5 patterns each
  • Broad Jumps - 5x5
  • Sprint to Shuffle - 3x20 yards

Phase 4: Weeks 10-12

The final phase included three or four days of live-action 5-on-5 and daily skill development sessions at a moderate intensity. We transitioned to training camp preparation, focusing on health and conditioning without overtraining or becoming too fatigued. Training sessions simulated game situations, with a heavy emphasis on shooting repetition. Additional daily game-speed shooting sessions complemented live-action games.

Phase 4 did not include off-court speed or power training (mountains or sand). We worked to maximize muscle recovery and maintain freshness for training camp. The focus was on daily therapy and regeneration. Strength training was designed to maintain gains made in earlier phases with bodyweight exercises, mobility training and flexibility work, primarily strengthening the hips and core. Priorities in the weight room shifted from power development to strength and conditioning. Workouts were shorter as the intensity and duration of on-court workouts increased significantly. The weekly schedule varied based on how Lowry's body responded and recovered from activity. The goal was for him to end Phase 4 at a peak conditioning level, ready for training camp and feeling 100 percent healthy and prepared to endure a nine-month season.

Court Workout (3-4 days per week)

  • Dynamic Warm-Up and Activation - 5-7 minutes
  • Stationary and Light Movement Ball-handling - 8-10 minutes
  • Spot Shooting from Mid-Range - 7 spots, 10 makes
  • Pull-Up Jumpers, Mid-Range - 7 spots, both directions, 5-7 makes
  • Spot Shooting, 3-Point Distance - 7 spots 10 makes
  • Situations: Ball-Screen; Pin-downs; Hand-offs; Isolations
  • Daily 1-on-1 and 5-on-5
  • Supplemental shooting sessions (if necessary)

Strength Workout (3 days per week)

  • 1a) Deadlift - 3x4
  • 1b) Hip Flexor Stretch - 3x30 seconds each elg
  • 2a) Dumbbell Bench Press - 3x4
  • 2b) Cable Row - 3x6
  • 3a) Dumbbell Lunge and Press - 2x5 each side
  • 3b) Med Ball Throwdown - 2x8 each side
  • 4a) Glute-Ham Raise - 2x5
  • 4b) Power Step-Up - 2x4 each leg

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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: BASKETBALL TRAINING | BASKETBALL WORKOUTS | WORKOUTS | IMPACT BASKETBALL | MOBILITY | POWER | TRAIN | PRESS | SPRINT | INJURY | INTENSITY