If you're like most basketball players, you spend hours running around the court on your toes, which switches your glutes from "on" to "off."
"When you keep jamming the front part of your foot into the court, you become very quad-and hip flexor-dominant," says Korey Goodwin, performance manager at Athletes' Performance, Las Vegas (APLV.) "This reduces the activation of the muscles on the backside of your body, like the glutes. When your glutes aren't activated, you get bound up in the hips, which can result in jumper's knee, tendonitis and a lack of power and explosion."
APLV, the newest Athletes' Performance location, has teamed up with basketball training expert Joe Abunassar, of Abunassar Impact Basketball, to create a training mecca where the clientele includes NBA elites such as Kevin Garnett and Chauncey Billups. To create rock-solid, powerful ballers, Goodwin and his training team place a premium on getting their clients' glutes to fire properly. Try the following exercise to help you flip on your glute switch.
Single-leg Box Squat
Stand on one leg with your back to 18-inch box or bench
Hold off-leg slightly above ground next to down foot
Lower hips into squat position until butt touches box or bench
Keep knee in line with ankle, and back and core tight
Return to starting position
Perform 2-3 sets of 10 reps for each leg
Coaching Points: At first, only squat to a depth at which you can maintain proper form. Increase the depth over time, but never to a point at which you sacrifice form. Make sure your knee stays straight ahead. It may feel like you're rolling the knee out, but you're not. If you let the knee turn or drop in, you switch on the muscles in the front of your leg instead of your glute.
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