Abdenour Abdenour
Warriors athletic trainer Tom Abdenour is hosting NBA.com's Gonna Make You Sweat: NBA Health & Conditioning section and will be answering fan questions about health, injuries and rehabilitation through the 2001-02 season.

Here are Abdenour's responses to a selection of e-mails:

I am 13 years old and a reasonable basketball player. I am small for my age (5 ft) and was wondering will stretching or any other activity increase my height?
Halstead, England

Abdenour: I realize that height is an important factor for many basketball players, but if you need a role model, think about Muggsy Bogues or Spud Webb. They were two very exciting, skilled players that were not very tall at all. Both of them worked very hard at becoming the best possible players, and ended up getting college scholarships and playing many years in the NBA. Keep working hard and good things will happen for you.

Jason Richardson's jumping ability comes from genetics and leg strengthening exercises.
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How important do you think the vertical leap is in the NBA and what are some good exercises that NBA players do to train that aspect of their game?
Lawton, Okla.

Abdenour: The big leapers seem to have some advantages in our game, there is no question. We have one of the best young jumpers in the League --- Jason Richardson. This athlteic ability explosion certainly helps their game, but you need to technique for things like rebounding to maximize the leaping abilty. Jumping exercises such as "plyometrics" can enhance jumping skill for some folks. Good Luck.

I am an up-and-coming basketball player and I am quite tall (6-7). I have a thin frame and I need to put on weight and just generally bulk up. I go to the gym three times a week and I am slowly but surely getting there. Can you recommend a weight training programme or some kind of high protein diet which will help me on my way to becoming toned just like 'The Admiral' David Robinson or Karl Malone?
Liverpool, United Kingdom

Abdenour: It seems that you are doing the right things the right way. Stick with the strength training and a balanced diet of protein, as well as carbohydrates and fats. Also, keep an eye on our NBA Fitness site and we will give you a more compelte answer about strength training and nutrition in the future.

Hello, my name is Meghan and I am about 16. I have two things to ask. I have a displaced kneecap, and the doctors have given me some exercises to get it back in place. Things are going well, and in a month or so I should be clear to do some sports and such. I was just wondering, what you would recommend I do to get back in shape for basketball?

My second question is, my dream is to be an athletic trainer. I may only be 16, but I only have about two years left to decide where to go, and I live in a small place, so if I needed a certain course, I would need to know. I have already contacted some organizations and universities, but you being a trainer, what would you recommend for me to do to acomplish this?
Collingwood, Nova Scotia

Abdenour: Follow your doctor's advice through your rehabilitation. My guess is that there are exercises for your quadriceps, particularly in the last part of knee extension. The muscle that is active then is very important for knee cap stability. Also, he may want to put you into a knee sleeve that gives your kneecap a little more support while you are exercising. Ask him when you can resume fitness exercises, such as an exercise bike, Stairmaster, or Nordic Track type of device. This type of cross training is very good to prepare you for running once you get the medical clearance to do that.

Secondly, I congratulate you on your desire to enter Athletic Training as a career. My brother, Mike, is the Athletic Trainer of the Detroit Pistons, so this profession has been very, very good to both of us. I would suggest that you check into the web site for the National Athletic Trainers Association (www.nata.org) That will give you plenty of information regarding athletic training education and the profession in general.

I'm a 50 -year old in excellent condition until two months ago when I fell from a six-foot fence and injured my shoulder (separated ligament from muscle). After two weeks of treatment from a chiropractor, I felt fine and returned to the gym only to aggravate the injury. Now, I'm in more pain than ever. How long will it take to heal and what can I do to help the healing faster?
Los Angeles

Abdenour: Congratulations on being at an age that is somewhat familiar for me and being in excellent condition. Now we have to keep you there. I'd suggest that you consult with an orthopedic physician that specializes in sports medicine for a complete diagnosis and prognosis. Follow that up with a sports medicine clinic for your rehab. These steps are the best to establish what is wrong and how to correct it in the most comprehnsive way. There are many excellent sports medicine specialists in the LA area to select from.

Antawn Jamison is a year-round visitor to the weight room.
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I would like to know what the players do to keep the muscle tissue they gained in the summer. in my experience, once the season has started, I start losing a lot of the muscle I gained by working out hard in the summer. What can I do to prevent this and how do the pros handle this?
MOL, Belgium

Abdenour: This is a common concern for many competitive athletes. Our players also work hard in the off-season, but they try to maintain this strength by lifting during the season also. In general, the amount of weight they lift per exercise might be less than they would have done during the off-season, but the two or three days per week that they can get into the weight room is beneficial for them. Also, this is critical for the players that are coming back from an injury. Despite the amount of games that we play per week, many of our players do find that extra time they need it to get into the weight room for that important work.

Hello Tom, I am 6-0, 190 lbs. I need to tone up, especially my gut -- it's starting to hang over my waist. Do you have a quick exercise so that I could get the maximum results? Because I don't have a lot of time to dedicate to working out. Also I need to lose about five pounds in my chest. Any suggestions for toning and losing a little up top?

Abdenour: I wish I had a "quick exercise" to get those abs looking great, but it takes energy, time, and perserverence. There are many abdominal exercise routines that are very good but they do take some time. As far as the chest, try some good old fashioned push ups. Keep the faith.

I am playing college tennis and my lower back is sore every day from both playing and training. During a plyo workout, I feel sharp pains upon impact. Sometimes yoga helps, but it always hurts when I do intense workouts. Is it more likely that my back isn't flexible enough or that it isn't strong enough?
Santa Cruz, Calif.

Abdenour: A couple of initial thoughts ... first stay in touch with your college's athletic trainer or team physician regarding those "sharp pains" in your back. Secondly, plyometrics are an excellent method of enhancing explosion, but make sure your overall leg strength is good in order to get the most out of them. Based on what the athletic trainer and team physician determine, you may need a low back routine that emphasizes pelvic stability and lumbar strength to compliment your usual flexibilty work.

I have a problem when I do a lot of lower body workouts including running/jogging. Whenever I do this activity I seem to injure myself -- last time I did some serious jogging, I seem to have gotten shin splits, then the previous time before that I reagrevated my achilles tendon. I am very athletic, yet I think I'm missing something. Please, if you could tell me what I may be doing wrong and explain specifically how to correct it.
Toronto, Canada

Abdenour: Hang in there!!! A couple of things to check: first are your shoes good "running" shoes. As simple as this sounds, it is a pretty important piece of equipment for a runner. Next, are do you have good foot mechanics? Possibly check with an orthopedic physician or podiatrist to determine of orthotics might help minimze the stresses going from the ground to your legs. These stresses might contribute to the leg problems that you have described. Also, check to see if a stretching routine might help you, particularly with the Achilles tendon.

I'm a huge basketball fan and I love to play whenever, wherever, but I have a slight weight problem. I'm trying (obviously not enough) to lose a lot of the fat I have and replace it with muscle, but it doesn't seem to be doing too much. I see a little improvement but I wanted to know if there was any way i could speed up the process. Thanks.
Montgomery, Ala.

Abdenour: I think the best thing for you to do would be to meet with your personal physician to set up a good exercise and nutrition program. There are a lot of "diets" out there, but meeting with your doctor can get you on the path for the plan of both nutrition and exercise that is best for you. Good luck and hang in there.

Larry Hughes has plenty of muscle but not much extra weight.
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How do you keep Larry Hughes in shape? Do you think he needs to add weight? If yes, how does someone of his body type add weight with such an active and rigorous season? Do you recommend creatine for such players?
Irving, Texas

Abdenour: As you seem to know, Larry is one of those slender guys in the NBA. He works in the weight room on a regular basis and he is more muscular up close than he might look on televison. We would encourage a player like Larry to have a good balanced diet and lift weights as regularly as possible. It's worked pretty well so far for him.

I play a high level of basketball here in Australia. It is the offseason here at the moment and I wish to improve my aerobic fitness and lose the small "spare tire" around my waist. Unfortunately, I have a great aversion to just plain running for 20 minutes to get my heart rate up. Do you have a regimen or activities which I could do to improve in these areas?
Melbourne, Australia

Abdenour: Sounds to me that "just plain running" is not very much fun anywhere in the world! Unfortunately it is a great aerobic exercise. Feel free to try some cross training. One of our more popular machines in our weight room is the eliptical cross trainer. When it is done correctly and thoroughly, it can burn off almost as many calories as running. If you can find a health club with one, give it a try. Set an initial goal of 30 minutes and then build up from there. Good luck, mate.

When I see NBA players' workout programs, I see that they work conflicting muscle groups (i.e triceps and biceps) on the same day. I thought you weren't supposed to this. What would you say regarding this issue?
London, United Kingdom

Abdenour: Many of our programs might include work on "antagonistic" muscle groups such as the biceps and triceps or quads and hamstrings of the legs. That's fine. Our guys might incorporate their arms one day and legs the next day for example. Physiologically this is OK to do.

I am a avid basketball player who recently suffered a lower back injury and found out I have disc disease. Is there any way you could e-mail me a workout program that would help me get back in shape and would not reaggravate my back?
P.S. Tell J. Richardson good luck (played him in high school)

Alpena, Mich.

Abdenour: First off, I'll pass along your greetings to Jason. I bet he was a pretty special high school player. It would be hard to set up an exact program for your disc injury in this mode, but I will share with you this thought: be sure to get together with your physician or clinical rehab specialist for a good lumbar strength and stability program. This might involve exercises such as the pelvic tilt, "superman" and assorted abdominal exercises just to mention a few. These types of programs work for an NBA player when outlined thoroughly and followed up exactly. Good luck.