Lower-Body Rotation for Change of Direction

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To change directions efficiently, an athlete must be able to stop and reduce the force of his initial movement before applying force in another direction. The faster an athlete is able to explode through the hips, the faster he'll be able to transition, according to Erick Land, founder of Xtraordinary Sports Performance in Salt Lake City, the training home for Deron Williams and several of his Utah Jazz teammates.

"You watch Deron play, and see the way he goes at his opponent, then reduces force to become slow, and then becomes very explosive to drive toward the basket. He's able to change direction because his body is conditioned to produce force, reduce force and stabilize," Land says.

Land prescribes two key rotation-based exercises to develop force production and reduction: the Clamshell, used to activate the glutes and hips, and also to strengthen the piriformis, the muscle responsible for rotation within the hips; and, after activation has occurred, the One-Arm Row With Rotation, an explosive movement that conditions the body to properly distribute weight for efficient change of direction.

• With a Thera-Band wrapped above knees, lie on side with back against wall, feet together and knees bent at 90-degree angle
• Push knees apart, rotating top knee up and then toward wall
• Return to start position; repeat for specified reps
• Perform lying on opposite side

Sets/Reps: 2x10 each side
Coaching Points: Keep feet straight and on top of one another // Press bottom glute against wall

One-Arm Row With Rotation
• Stand with cable machine set to low position at left
• Assume Lunge position with left leg forward and right knee just above ground
• Reach across body with right arm and grab handle
• Push off left heel, explode through hips and rotate right while pulling cable
• Finish with hips pointed away from machine and right hand at waist with elbow tight to side
• Return to start position; repeat for specified reps
• Perform to opposite side

Sets/Reps: 2x12-15 each side
Coaching Points: Maintain athletic base // Initiate movement through hips // Keep chest up, shoulders back and core tight

Erick Land is the founder and owner of Xtraordinary Sports Performance in Salt Lake City. He trains several members of the Utah Jazz, including Deron Williams and Paul Millsap. His 2010 NFL pre-draft class featured two former college players signed as undrafted free agents.

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock