“Strength Training For The Court”
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Weight: 174. The day was stressful. A morning conference cut
basketball short. I scored six points all in the last game, but I had to
"sit" two games, and I missed some scoring opportunities early
on. That wasn't so bad. As on the basketball court, things don't always
go the way they should in the classroom. Sometimes it feels like a
battle to get young people to do what you want or to keep them doing
things you don't want. The conflict was short but sharp. It took the
rest of the day to get back on track emotionally.
My afternoon tutoring appointment called to say I was not needed. The bright
side: I could get some time in the gym without having to rush. My fitness goals
included working on arms (biceps and triceps), chest (pectorals), abdominals (my
weak area), and legs (quads, glutes, and hamstrings). To achieve these goals, I
developed three or four sets of alternating lifting sets starting with curls for
biceps, press downs for triceps, dumbbell flies for pecs, and dumbbell bench
presses for triceps, with leg presses, leg curls, and hamstring curls for legs.
I wanted to put in one hour, but no more, since I have read that strength
training over one hour can cause testosterone levels to drop, which works
against muscle mass development.
I have always had difficulty adding size to muscle. The general formula for
size is to increase weight even if it means lowering the number of repetitions.
So I decided to up all of my sets by one 5 pound increment but maintain the same
number of reps as normally would. The magic number for me is 12. If I can get to
twelve reps at the increased weight level, then I feel like I made progress over
the last session, which for me was on Sunday in my sunroom.
|It was time to
switch from the motivating chemistry of coffee and caffeine
to the muscle-restoring alchemy of a whey protein
smoothie. The muscles felt challenged but awash in
testosterone, so I felt growth, both physically, and
The leg curl
My secondary purpose in lifting tonight was not only to release the stress of
the workday, but to make my performance on the basketball court more effective.
I had been experiencing some soreness in my hamstrings, caused by overworking
them on fast breaks. Leg presses and curls would work to develop those muscles
and make them able to handle the rapid changes in speed. Triceps work will
help improve the odds of hitting the three-point shot. Oddly, much of this shot
is accomplished with a slight leg press, helping with the upward movement of the
ball. Keeping the elbow straight and "waving bye bye" to the ball with
a wrist follow-through will also increase the odds of making this shot. Bicep
training also assists in passing, which can be used to lead the runner on the
fast break down the court.
I must say that it felt great to put in that full hour at the local
gym. I moved the weights in time to the music of Green Day, Evanescence,
and Rush, with some Carbon Leaf thrown in for good measure. Green Day
puts out an aggressive punk sound that matched my emotional tempo, but
as the hour came to a close, the acoustic harmonies of Carbon Leaf
calmed the savage beast and gave me a sense of accomplishment and peace.
It was time to switch from the motivating chemistry of coffee and caffeine
to the muscle-restoring alchemy of a whey protein smoothie. The muscles
felt challenged but awash in testosterone, so I felt growth, both
physically, and emotionally.
I am ready to do battle tomorrow, on the court and in the classroom.
But it's a battle of wits and agility on the court. In the classroom
it's more an inner battle of control and intellect. In the classroom,
adrenaline is an enemy, one that tempts the mind to engage in power
struggles that only lead to failure and loss of control. Conversely, on
the basketball court, it is your friend, informing athletic moves that
counter the opponent's movements. The sessions in the gym allow my
confidence to grow knowing I have physical agility and strength to win
the game on the court as well as self-control and inner calm to win the
game as the leader of young people. These physical, emotional, and
intellectual systems are intertwined and strengthened through
discipline. It seems we learn in every setting.
Until next time,