Anyone who has watched the NETFLIX special on Michael Jordan called THE LAST DANCE will remembers Air Jordan because of his incredible ability to gain lightning fast position on his opponents, leap high and span seemingly inhuman amounts of air to the basket. However, what few people realise is that Michael spent five years as a pro basketball player before he and his team earned their first championship in 1991.
Although Jordan was consistently hitting between 30 and 40 points each game, he was equally getting pounded in the paint by much stronger opponents. This was especially true of the Bull’s arch rivals, the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics. As a result, Jordan started training with Tim Grover who was hired to specifically workout and increase Jordan’s core and lower and upper body strength.
Grover began by addressing Jordan’s core that not only consists of abdominal muscles, but also side muscles (obliques) and back muscles (erectors). A great deal of power to accomplish a variety of athletic moves comes from the core. Therefore, a strong core is essential in overall strength and agility as well as to keep you free from injury. Everything you do on the basketball court uses the core, such as grabbing the rebound or even dribbling the basketball.
Therefore, Jordan was required to do medicine ball exercises and other core strengthening exercises. He did medicine ball sit-ups, which are sit-ups performed while holding a medicine ball in each hand and up in the air as you perform the exercise. This is a great abdominal exercise that also engages the hip flexors. He also did push ups with his hands placed on a Physio ball as well as leg raises and other common core strength exercises.
Jordan focused on core workouts two days a week before going to his two-hour basketball practice. He would complete 3 sets of between 10 and 15 reps of each exercise. Many athletes do core workouts on a daily basis. However, your abdominals and obliques are muscles just like your chest or biceps. You shouldn’t train them every single day because, like the other muscle groups, they need rest. Doing core 2-3 times a week like Jordan does is ideal.
Jordan incorporated numerous strength training exercises into his workout program. He used such strength building workouts as biceps curls, deadlifts, good mornings, power cleans, and bench presses. Jordan also did squats, but was required to perform them on a balance board, holding the squat position for a period before pressing back up. Working on a balance board builds up your balance and stability throughout the body.
Besides typical strength training, Jordan also performed agility exercises. These included such stretching workouts as placing his hands on the floor and walking them across the floor with his legs held straight and still and then walking them back. He would also place both hands on the floor and extending one leg straight back while placing his weight on the planted foot.
Jordan worked on agility and participated in light weightlifting and quick repetitions 3 days a week. He preferred working out early in the morning for about 1 hour. Research has shown that morning exercisers tend to workout harder and longer than afternoon or evening exercisers.
At first, Jordan wasn’t sure if he would want to lift weights because of the effects it could have on his game. Jordan wanted to try it out for 30 days and those “30 days turned into 15 years,” said Grover.
Scottie Pippen and other Bulls teammates soon recognized the results Jordan was getting and joined him in his morning training sessions and were tagged as the Breakfast Club.
After this applied training method, the Chicago Bulls went on to win three straight championships from 1991 to 1993 and another three straight titles from 1996 to 1998. They were led in the charge by the new and improved Michael Jordan who, through his tailored workout training program, began dominating both the airway to the hoop as well as his opponents that got in his way. 6 rings later, Michael Jordan is on top of the world, known simply as the greatest to ever play the game.