Sled Tows with Marquette Basketball

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Over the past eight seasons, the Marquette men's basketball team has been as successful as any program in the country, averaging 20 wins per season and earning seven postseason appearances.

According to Todd Smith, head strength and conditioning coach for the nationally ranked Golden Eagles, working on movements—not muscles—is one reason why the team has sustained its dominance over the years.

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Over the past eight seasons, the Marquette men's basketball team has been as successful as any program in the country, averaging 20 wins per season and earning seven postseason appearances.

According to Todd Smith, head strength and conditioning coach for the nationally ranked Golden Eagles, working on movements—not muscles—is one reason why the team has sustained its dominance over the years.

"We train triple extension, because that is how basketball players move," Smith says. "We want to strengthen their legs to be springs, so as soon as a foot hits the ground with its stored energy, they can explosively drive off it."

Smith accomplishes this by incorporating into workouts resisted runs with sleds, which improve ankle, knee and hip extension. Perform these once a week in the off-season to spring over the competition.

Resisted Running
Place harness around waist. Attach other end to a sled. Put just enough weight on sled so that you feel challenged.

Forward Sprint with Sled
• Begin in athletic stance on baseline
• Explosively sprint straight forward out of stance
• Stop when you reach opposite baseline
• Rest; repeat to opposite baseline

Benefit: Increases strength in your calves, hamstrings, glutes and quads-all the muscles you use to run.
Reps and rest: 2 loaded; 2 unloaded; use at least a 2:1 work-to-rest ratio between reps.

Backpedal with Sled
• Begin in athletic stance on baseline
• Backpedal explosively in straight line
• Stop when you reach opposite baseline
• Rest; repeat to opposite baseline

Adaptation: Place a handle in the harness; backpedal while holding the handle.
Benefit: Increases work capacity, quad strength and grip strength if you use the handle.
Reps and rest: 2 loaded; 2 unloaded; use at least a 2:1 work-to-rest ratio between reps.

Smith's Secrets
Forward Sprint with Sled:
Make sure you reach full extension with your back leg. If you can't reach full extension, reduce the weight on the sled until you can.

Backpedal with Sled: Make sure you're explosively pushing backwards and getting full knee extension. If you can't reach full extension, reduce the weight on the sled until you can.

For both exercises: Maintain a slight forward lean // Keep a strong, straight line through your core // Overemphasize your arm swing

 
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Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock