Performance trainer Travelle Gaines, founder of Athletic Gaines, shares how Olympic gold medalist and NBA All-Star Jimmy Butler prepares for the season. Gaines has now been working with Butler over the past two off-seasons, after injuries early in Butler’s career slowed him down. This duo has been focusing on drills off of the court that will make Butler stronger and more explosive on the court.
Mini Band Lateral Shuffles
With a resistance band around your ankles, and another around your knees, begin in an athletic starting position with your feet hip-width to shoulder-width apart. Step laterally with one of your feet as far as you can, and then step in with the other foot. Keep tension on the band at all times when you are stepping, and don’t let your feet come together.
“This is a great exercise to get your hip and glute muscles activated and firing,” Gaines said. “Additionally, if you want to improve your lower body strength, hips and glutes should be a focus as it will help you jump higher, run faster, and be more explosive the more they are developed.”
Do it: 2 sets of 10 shuffles each way.
Resisted Lateral Lunge with a Twist
Place a large resistance band around your core, and have a partner grab hold of one end. Take a wide step out, lunge down, twist your body, and then return to center. Make sure to do reps on both sides of your core.
“This is a great core exercise that also builds lower body strength and balance,” Gaines said. “The lunge with twist is also a great way to challenge your balance and engage muscles one leg at a time, which is key for Jimmy on the basketball court as he is constantly moving laterally as one of the top defenders in the NBA.”
Do it: 3 sets of 5 reps each side.
With a resistance band around your ankle, lie on your stomach and slowly raise your heal to your buttocks and then back to the ground. Switch legs after each set.
“This exercise targets the glutes and hamstrings, which are key for Jimmy to be explosive on the court,” Gaines said.
Do it: 3 sets of 10 reps.
With these simple but crucial exercises in his repertoire, over the past few seasons Butler has gained the strength and confidence needed to get back to the top of his game. Now as basketball season approaches, one thing is on duo’s mind: continuing to become more explosive.