When NBA draft prospect Frank Kaminsky does single-leg Romanian deadlifts precisely eight times on each side, it's not because he has an affinity for central European fitness techniques. Kaminsky, the 22-year-old Wooden Award winner who led Wisconsin on an impressive Final Four run, goes through specified workouts like single-leg RDLs and split squat jumps because his biomechanic and performance data informs his trainers that the 240-pound seven-footer has room to improve on his vertical jumping ability.
With the influx of advanced sports technology and training centers such as P3 in Santa Barbara, Calif., where Kaminsky is preparing ahead of the draft later this month, players are able to hone in on specific aspects of their development like never before. After putting the player through initial testing, which included the use of force plates and a 10-camera 3D motion-analysis system, Kaminsky's trainers at P3 determined he was the most mobile big man they’d ever assessed, but also that he needed to improve his "knee extension acceleration, velocity and peak concentric force," all underlying factors that contribute to a player's jumping ability.
The next step for Kaminsky’s trainers was to create a specialized workout plan that addressed his specific needs. To improve his leaping ability, the Badgers star was put through workouts like the one featuring those single-leg RDLs. Then, three times per week, Kaminsky would be tested by doing countermovement jumps with the use of force plates. The results—his contraction time and flight time—would then be analyzed by P3’s trainers, to determine if their approach needed to be intensified or scaled back. As a result, for Kaminsky, every day in the gym has been different, and that’s by design.
“Everyone has their own individual workout plan, whether they’re trying to get you to jump higher, get more explosive, or improve lateral quickness and footwork,” says Kaminsky. “There’s a lot more science behind [the training].”
For Kaminsky, who will enter the draft as arguably the best shooter among big men in the 2015 class, working on things like his overall strength, stability and velocity extension are all about turning him into a well-rounded athlete who won't be as susceptible to injuries, but also to improve the specific aspects of his game that NBA scouts may have questions about as teams decide whom to select in the draft. Part of that process is understanding the proper way to recover from workouts, games, etc.
When Kaminsky was initially tested at P3, his trainers saw room for improvement in regards to his vertical jump and lower body power. In his final assessment, Kaminsky made great strides in his approach vertical (up four inches), squat jump (up three inches) and his agility.
Now, the former Badgers star is looking to continue that improvement as he progresses to the next level. “On the court, you’ve got to work as hard as you can,” says Kaminsky. “Nothing’s handed to you. You have to go out and work for everything. That’s one thing I proved in college and I’ll continue to do in the NBA.”
Improving by Leaps and Bounds
A P3 trainer offers an exercise to help you get off the floor
- Medball Vert Chest Pass: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly turned out, and hold a medicine ball at chest level. In a relaxed, fluid motion, squat while flexing through the hips, knees and ankles and keeping the back flat. When your thighs are parallel to the ground, explode up. As you rise, extend your arms straight up and push the ball as high as possible. Do three sets of six.
Working hard at the gym? Training for that first (or fifteenth) marathon? SI wants to train with you! Head to Twitter or Instagram, upload a photo of yourself getting fit and give us a little insight into why/what you train for. Include the hashtag #trainingwithsi and your photo could be featured in an upcoming issue of Sports Illustrated. Click here for Contest Rules.