Stan Kellers doesn't have much to do with LeBron James's leaping ability.
"The most important component of jumping ability is who your parents are," says Kellers, strength and conditioning coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. But Kellers does have a workout that can help King James--and us mere mortals--make the most of what we were born with. The exercise will improve your quickness and explosiveness under the boards.
Stand under a basket or next to a wall. Grab a medicine ball and hold it over your head. Bend your knees and quickly bring the ball down to your waist. Explode straight up as you lift the ball above your head, trying to touch the ball to a target--the rim, the backboard, the bottom of the net, or a point on the wall.
After you land, pause for a second or two and jump again. Perform three to five sets of three to six jumps, resting 2 to 3 minutes between sets.
LeBron James's workout plan is about what you'd expect from the most precocious superstar in sports--a blend of cutting-edge training techniques and classic muscle-building exercises. For example, James does his squats standing on a vibrating platform, which sounds strange, but scientists have found that training this way can boost strength and power. (Low-level frequencies may help the central nervous system activate more muscle cells.) But his staple moves are pushups and pullups, and his favorite cardio workout, other than hoops, is simply riding his bike. And this goes to show that you don't need our cover guy's endorsement deals to build marquee muscle. Use the power plan below--the weight-lifting portion of James's athletic-training regimen—for a body that looks and performs like a pro's.
Begin each session with calisthenics and core moves. Then do the exercises specified for each day as pairs, or supersets, moving from one exercise to the next without rest. Do each superset three times, resting 45 seconds between supersets.
THE LEBRON JAMES WORKOUT
The King’s workout plan blends cutting-edge training techniques with classic muscle-building exercises.
Do as many reps as you can.
Aim for 10 reps.
1) Dumbbell Snatch
Aim for 5 reps with each arm.
2) Single-Arm Cable Row
Do 10 reps with each arm.
1) Dumbbell Squat
Do eight to 12 reps.
2) Swiss-Ball Hip Raise and Leg Curl
Do 12 reps.
1) Dumbbell Stepup
Do 10 reps with each leg.
2) Single-Leg Standing Dumbbell Calf Raise
Do 12 reps with one leg before repeating with the other leg.
1) Dumbbell Incline-Bench Press
Do 10 reps.
2) Lat Pulldown
Do 10 reps.
1) Single-Arm Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Do six to eight before repeating with the other arm.
2) Single-Arm Neutral Grip Dumbbell Row and Rotation
Do 10 reps on each side.
1) Single-Leg Squat
Aim for five reps per leg.
2) Single-Leg Swiss-Ball Leg Curl
Aim for 10 reps with each leg.
1) Dumbbell Side Lunge
Do 10 reps in each direction.
2) Unstable Jump Rope
Skip rope for 45 seconds on a cushiony surface, such as a stretching mat. The instability will help strengthen your ankles.