Enough with the same workout. Your sports training should be targeted. These routines will help you play better and fire up your metabolism, says their designer, Jason Karp, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist and running coach based in San Diego, California.
Intervals with direction changeUse cones to mark a 20-by-20-foot square on a field. Start at the first cone and sprint to the second, quickly turn and shuffle sideways to the next cone, turn and sprint to the fourth cone, and then shuffle sideways back to the start. Take a 1-minute rest and repeat 9 times.
Why it works This drill improves your acceleration, agility, and ability to react to an opponent’s shot, says Karp. For a more difficult challenge, place the cones (or other small objects) into different patterns that force you to sprint in varying directions and distances.
Wind sprintsThis classic “suicide” routine will bring you back to your high-school days and improve your on-court performance. With a basketball in hand, stand at the baseline of a basketball court. Now sprint while dribbling between your starting baseline and the following spots:
1. free-throw line
3. opposite free-throw line
4. opposite baseline.
Each time you hit a free-throw line, take three shots before continuing on. Rest 2 minutes and repeat 4 more times. No court? Find a large outdoor space, estimate the distances, and do it without a ball.
Why it works This workout improves your speed and forces you to focus, aim, and maintain form when you’re fatigued, says Karp.
Interval trainingImprove your 5-K race time with this endurance-boosting technique, performed on any flat surface or treadmill. First, the math: Find the time it takes you to run 3 miles, divide that by 3, and subtract 30 seconds. That’s your goal interval pace—about 30 seconds a mile faster than your 5-K race pace. So if you run 3 miles in 21 minutes, say, your target interval pace is a 6:30 mile. Run at that pace for 3 minutes, jog for 2 to 3 minutes, and continue this sequence for 3 or 4 more intervals.
Why it works High-intensity intervals increase your heart’s ability to send blood and oxygen to working muscles, says Karp. Do this once or twice a week, and watch that race time plummet.