Workout Like A Celtic

If you have ever wanted to know the secret of how professional athletes stay in such good shape, you are in luck. Celtics Strength and Conditioning Coaches Bryan Doo and Walter Norton, Jr. have put together the following training regimen that most anyone can use to help make exercise more fun and effective.

*note: Please consult your physician before attempting any workout or physical activity


Our goal is to raise the core temperature of each athlete and prepare them for the demands of practice and or games. We prefer to begin in a dynamic fashion, utilizing the movements our athletes will perform in competition.

We identify three muscles each day we want to target to stretch and warm-up. To complete the following exercises, use a ten-yard walkway or stand in place. Posture is important.

Hip Flexors

High Knee Walk - Al Jefferson is an explosive athlete with a limited training background. Professional practices coupled with early workouts each day have helped Al improve and also fatigued his body. We want to make Al and others stretch their hips each day to ensure their performance does not suffer as they continue to work hard.

Standing tall, walk forward on your left leg and grab your right shin while hugging your knee to your chest. Hold your knee to your chest for a one thousand count and stand up as tall as you can on your left ankle. Bring your leg down and repeat on the other leg, emphasizing posture and stretching your hip flexor.


Inchworm - The hamstrings will feel tight for any number of reasons: poor running technique, overuse, poor glute recruitment, etc. We will always hamstring stretch even though hamstring tightness is usually a signal of imbalance somewhere else. Michael Stewart has excellent hamstring flexibility because he takes excellent care of his body. He works hard everyday and is a true professional.

This is our player's favorite. Start on the ground in a push-up position. Slowly walk your feet towards your hands, keeping your legs straight all the while. Your weight will shift to your hands and shoulders while your feet move. Once you cannot move your feet any further, walk your hands forward as far as you can, touch your hips to the ground and return to the push-up position. It will help prepare your hamstrings, calves, shoulders, torso and hips for activity.


Lying Trunk Twist - Basketball players play a stop and start sport that emphasizes change of direction over top end speed. Over time, as muscles grow tired from extended or spirited play, the low back will absorb fatigue. We use a dynamic stretch to loosen up the low back for Ricky Davis. Ricky is incredibly explosive and very muscular. When Ricky is worn down, his low back will feel fatigue first. This stretch helps begin the process of movement. We want Ricky to be sweating before he starts playing. Even Ricky Davis doesn't walk in to practice and start dunking.

A simple and effective method of warming up your low back. Lay flat on the ground with your arms extended away from your body to make a "T" outline. Bend your knees to your chest so that they line up with your hips and your feet are in line with your knees. Lower your knees slowly to your left until they touch the ground or your shoulder comes off the ground on the opposite side. It is important to keep your body flat and your knees in line with your hips. Once you have gone as far you can on one side, repeat to the other side. Try it six times each way to begin and then add one rep each way per week until you can do twenty.

Torso Training

Hip Lift - We want to train the glutes everyday. If your glutes don't work well, your knees, hips and back will suffer. The glutes are a priority from the start of our workout. We incorporate this into our torso training to facilitate activation. We use a glute bridge or hip lift to accomplish the activation of our athletes' glutes. Tom Gugliotta has recovered to full health after dealing with injures for three years. Tom's glute "health" has protected his knee from further damage while returning his play to a high level.

This is another simple premise that most people misunderstand. Glute function is imperative for a healthy back and hamstrings. Lay flat on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat. Suck your bellybutton in, push your heels into the ground, and squeeze your glutes as tight as you can while you push your hips to the rafters. Hold for two seconds at the top and then relax. Repeat for three sets of ten.

Stick Crunch - Delonte West boasts a six-pack most bodybuilders would envy. That is the good news. The bad news is because of his strength and low-body fat, his body tightens up very quickly. Stick crunch helps Delonte train his abs and stretch his hips at the same time. In a terrific two for one, we can help him continue to look great while his hips feel great.

This exercise has many variations, but we will start at the beginning. Lay flat on your back and hold a stick of any kind above your eyes as high as you can. Don't move your arms while you try to bring your knees back and slide your toes under the stick. You may struggle if your hips are tight, but lower your feet back to ninety degrees and repeat for twenty repetitions. Hold your arms straight and don't cheat by trying to rock back.

Off-Bench Oblique - This is a more advanced exercise we use train the torso and side bending movement. It incorporates the internal and external obliques to work together to stabilize the body and resist rotation. If you have ever watched Paul Pierce go to the hoop, get fouled hard and stay in position to shoot, you know his obliques are incredible supportive. Paul is a very tough player who takes his many gifts even further by working hard each day.

This is a difficult exercise, as it uses many muscles and a movement pattern most are unaccustomed with. Lay on your side on an exercise bench with your hip bone slightly off of the bench. Use your hand to hold yourself up or you will fall right over. Your partner will sit on your stacked shins and grab both side of the bench. Fold your arms on your chest and try to touch your head to the floor while keeping your body as straight as possible. At the bottom, raise your shoulders and head up to the ceiling and keep your arms tight to your chest so you don't cheat. Try this eight times each way to start and build to three sets. Once it becomes easy, increase the reps and put your hands behind your head to make it more difficult.

"2's","4's", "10's" - Court Running is an essential element in preparing for the season, and a terrific way to sustain conditioning. Our young players will not only play hard during practice, they are also in early every day to perform extra conditioning. The numbers correspond to the lengths of the court that will be run. A "2" is down to the opposite baseline and back. A "4" is down and back twice. We usually use a one to two work to rest ratio. An example would indicate if a "4" was performed in 20 seconds, then a rest period of 40 seconds would follow. Mark Blount is the standard all other big men are measured against. He is always in fantastic shape and pushes others to compete with him.
Resistance Training

Our players lift two to three times each week to improve their performance and prevent body breakdown during the season. We vary training for each player based on their needs, playing time, and how the schedule affects them. After three games in four days, training may be more balance and flexibility oriented. With three games in seven days, we will ask our players to get stronger each workout. Jiri Welsh is as dedicated as they come in the NBA. He has a fantastic work ethic and is determined to improve. His workouts are designed to improve his strength while adding size to his frame. Raef LaFrentz has successfully returned from serious knee surgery. His workouts were designed to enhance neuromuscular programming. We had to teach his muscles to work together again. One of the reasons our job is so enjoyable is the uniqueness that each athlete brings to the team. When Kendrick Perkins lost over fifty pounds of fat off of his body last year, it was more rewarding to watch his confidence develop than his body.

A typical workout would include:


Overhead Dumbbell Press - to develop strength and stability in the shoulders while preventing injury. Tony Allen has excellent upper body power and fills out his uniform jersey the way basketball players should.

This is what people commonly think of when they envision weight training. In our mind, the best training starts with your bodyweight. Push-ups are a total body exercise that works your torso as hard as it does your chest and shoulders. Start with your hands parallel with your shoulders as you lay flat on your stomach. With your bellybutton tucked in tight, push yourself up until your elbows are straight. Your body should be a straight line during the exercise. Lower yourself down slowly until your nose touches the ground. Tempo and technique go hand in hand. Go slow and enjoy how difficult doing a perfect push-up is. If you cant do thirty push-ups consecutively, you probably are not strong enough to play for the Celtics. Start with ten and work on technique and your numbers will increase quickly.


Chin-ups - Chin-ups are the standard measurement of pull strength. A professional basketball player should be able to knock out 10 chin-ups easily. Raef LaFrentz has the team record for big men with 20 chin-ups.

This is another bodyweight exercise that we are fans of. Start by grabbing a chin-up bar with your palms facing forward. Lock your grip in, lift your feet off of the ground and pull your chin above the bar. Always pull yourself as high as you can and then slowly lower yourself down until your arms are straight. Ten reps with perfect form is the Celtic standard.

One Leg Squat - Lunges are a great training exercise because they emphasize a stretch in the hip flexors while making the body stabilize on one leg. Gary Payton is a cagy veteran on and off the court. He knows exactly how much he needs to do to prepare and how his body will respond. Gary could play five more years if he so desired and his body would still hold up.

Hip Extension - We come back to the glutes. One leg SLDL is another exercise with flexibility in mind. Change of direction is the hallmark of Marcus Banks' game. When his hamstrings and glutes become tight, movement becomes difficult. With time always a consideration for a NBA player, many exercises are multi purpose. We will always to stretch and strengthen at the same time.


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