Sweet-shooting Portland TrailBlazers guard CJ McCollum hasn’t taken a jump shot in over two months. The NBA season—and basically everything once fun—was postponed in March due to player safety concerns related to COVID-19. After a meeting with commissioner Adam Silver Tuesday, owners and executives expressed optimism for a return to play. Date not yet specified.
The Blazers were among the first NBA teams to open their practice facilities recently, but until then, McCollum and other players have had to stay in shape while stuck at home, just like most readers. And that led McCollum to get creative to work on his jumper. McCollum described his anytime-anywhere-with-a-basketball home shooting drill to Men’s Health Fitness Director Ebenezer Samuel on Instagram, during our latest Sweat Talk conversation.
McCollum had done almost no shooting for close to eight weeks (the jump-shot layoff of his life, he says). Instead, he’s been lying supine, performing form shots at the ceiling to retain wrist strength. Just like he did when he was a kid. McCollum, just like the rest of us, is back to basics.
That doesn’t mean he’s not training, though. McCollum says he’s been hitting workouts early—sometime between his dog waking him up to pee and later in the afternoon when exercise just “is not gonna happen.”
He’s built out enough of a home gym to get solid sessions. No, he doesn’t have barbells or a football field in his backyard, but he does have a Keiser functional trainer delivering vicious pneumatic resistance, an assortment of medicine balls, bands, and a few kettlebells. The kettlebells, he says, were added after quarantine life began. He doesn’t have any heavy ones because “the heavier sizes were selling out like hot pockets,” he says, but the light bells he does have are now essential.
With those, McCollum focusses on swings, single leg and alternating lunges, carries, and Turkish get-ups. Swings allow for a full body movement and helps with explosiveness and strengthening McCollum’s hips, which, he notes, alongside his IT bands, have been particular tight while quarantining. (Pre- and post-workout foam rolling helps loosen these muscles.)
For vertical training, McCollum recommends utilizing the stairs of your home or apartment, lunging around the house—“lunge everywhere”—jump roping, and jump squats.
It all gets the job done, McCollum says, even if it’s not a hardcore basketball workout, and even if there’s no hoop. When he does take the court again, he’ll be ready.
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