With the help of social media, we often see our favorite athletes traveling the world, working out and spending time with their respective families. Whether it’s at the pool or by the beach, NBA players appear to enjoy their leisure time during the offseason, but they’re also focusing on cross training in different environments, and on different surfaces.
Working out muscles they don’t always use and getting out of their normal routine has become a regular occurrence for many players nowadays. With the modern NBA game being played at such a high pace and every player almost considered usable at any and every position, we’ve seen an uptick in extracurricular workouts.
“A lot of players enjoy challenging themselves outside of their sport and their comfort zones,” Mike Atkinson, head of strength and conditioning with New York’s D-League affiliate, the Westchester Knicks told DIME. “Training in the offseason should have a purpose but also be fun and safe while engaging the athlete and driving towards an ultimate off season goal.”
Take C.J. McCollum, who’s using sand workouts to strengthen his lower body and legs by changing direction at high force with limited risk. McCollum, who earned the NBA’s most improved player award just a few seasons ago, knows that he has to overcome his lack of size by doing anything he can to get an edge. Sand workouts are just one of the ways he’s gotten better year over year.
“It’s good for the joints and has low impact,” McCollum told DIME. “It changes up the routine and allows me to cross train in a different setting. It’s also fun to do in a group and it’s good for conditioning.”
Benefits of a Sand Workout
1. The ability to change directions at high force with limited risk.
2. Improve lower leg and foot strength.
3. Less impact on the body created on sand than the court which provides a safe alternative to hardwood training.
4. When used for conditioning and endurance it can provide extra density and resistance which can increase intensity of the training session.
Tips for a Great Sand Workout
1. Find a safe environment and scout ahead of time.
2. Go barefoot, let the foot get the benefits of having to react and stabilize on the sand.
3. Create drills that force athletes to react, compete and change direction fast
(Video courtesy of Class Act Sports)
“On the court is important for the foot to react off a hard surface and generate force as efficiently as possible so overtraining in sand can actually decrease speed over time,” Atkinson told DIME. “Less is more when it comes to speed and power work on sand due to the amount of ground exposure and force absorption of the sand which can counter gains when over done.”