Defense in basketball can be more taxing than offense, because it involves a lot of backward movement. Build your defense specific conditioning with the Backward Treadmill Exercise, courtesy of Shawn Dassie, director of sports performance at Athletic Republic [New Braunfels, Texas] and trainer to Indiana Pacers guard Danny Granger. Dassie's athletes walk backwards and backpedal in a good defensive position on a treadmill set at different inclines and speeds.
He says, "At the lower inclines, between two and 10 percent, we [perform] sets between 45 seconds and a minute [long] at a low speed to help build endurance. As we go higher, we increase the speeds and decrease the time on the treadmill to engage different energy systems. We're recruiting these muscles in a very sport-specific fashion, but we're recruiting them two to three times harder and faster than we would be doing on normal ground."
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