The Shooting Drills and Strength Workout That Propelled Maya Moore to WNBA MVP

Perform the drills and exercises used by WNBA MVP Maya Moore for preventive maintenance and recovery.

You've heard the old phrase "you play like you practice." WNBA MVP Maya Moore knows it's true, so she tries to make her practices—even her practice shots—as game-like as possible. "You usually aren't shooting when you're feeling good," she says. "You're usually on the move and feeling a little tired or fatigued." That's why Moore practices taking 3-point shots in three different scenarios—catch-and-shoot, escape dribble and backpedal conditioning.

A teammate sends a chest pass her way, which Moore must catch, secure, and set up to loft one toward the hoop.

After receiving the pass, Moore says, "you give the defender a pump fake, they go flying, you take one dribble to the left or right to escape, then shoot."

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Maya Moore's 'On the Move' 3-Point Shooting Drills 

You've heard the old phrase "you play like you practice." WNBA MVP Maya Moore knows it's true, so she tries to make her practices—even her practice shots—as game-like as possible. "You usually aren't shooting when you're feeling good," she says. "You're usually on the move and feeling a little tired or fatigued." That's why Moore practices taking 3-point shots in three different scenarios—catch-and-shoot, escape dribble and backpedal conditioning.

Catch-and-shoot

A teammate sends a chest pass her way, which Moore must catch, secure, and set up to loft one toward the hoop.

Escape dribble

After receiving the pass, Moore says, "you give the defender a pump fake, they go flying, you take one dribble to the left or right to escape, then shoot."

Backpedal conditioning

Moore backpedals to the half-court line, then sprints to a target spot to receive a pass, catch and shoot.

Perform each of these variations from five different spots beyond the arc—the left corner, left wing, center, right wing and right corner. Try to sink five at each spot before moving on to the next.

Maya's Mighty Workout 

Since her teams in the WNBA and overseas essentially have her playing professional ball year-round, Moore has adjusted her lifting to be less about strength and power and more about preventive maintenance and recovery. "It's more high-rep, lower weight work, performed for endurance, along with specific preventive exercises, focusing on areas like my quads, back and ankles. And my core," she says. "Thankfully I've always had great coaches who emphasized core, core, core."

Dumbbell Push-Press

Maya Moore Dumbbell Push-Press

  • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a dumbbell in each hand at shoulder level.
  • Lower into a half-squat, then simultaneously extend at your hips and knees and drive your hands overhead.
  • Lower the weights to your shoulders and repeat.

Sets/Reps: 2x12

American Deadlift

  • Stand with your feet shoulder width-apart.
  • Hinge at the hips, bend down and wrap a resistance band under your feet, so you are standing on the band.
  • Holding on to the band with your hands, flex at the hips to extend up as if you were performing a Deadlift.
  • Maintain tension on the band throughout.
  • Lower and repeat.

Sets/Reps: 2x20

Multi-Directional Physioball Crunch

Maya Moore Multi-Directional Physioball Crunch

  • With your feet on the floor, place your lower back on a physioball and hold your hands near your face.
  • Engage your abdomen to lift your torso off the ball and rotate to the right.
  • Lower and repeat to the left.

Sets/Reps: 2x10 each side

Bridge Sequence (Plank, Side Plank, Glute Bridge)

  • Start by holding a plank from the push-up  position, keeping your core tight and back flat.
  • Roll onto one side, keeping your elbow tucked under your body for support. Your feet should be the only other body part touching the ground.
  • Hold, then switch sides to rest on your opposite elbow.
  • Lower yourself to the ground, roll onto your back, and bend your knees so your heels are almost touching your butt.
  • Push through your feet and lift your hips into a bridge position.
  • Maintain a straight line from your knees to your shoulders.
  • Perform the moves consecutively, holding each position for 20-30 seconds before moving on to the next.

Sets/Duration: 2x20-30 seconds, all 4 positions


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: BASKETBALL TRAINING | PHYSIOBALL | BASKETBALL DRIBBLING DRILLS | MAYA MOORE | BASKETBALL WORKOUT | WNBA