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The Top 3 Conditioning Tests You Need to Never Gas Out Again

Updated: Jul 27, 2023

You’ve been there before: it’s the fourth quarter of a basketball game, or the tail end of training. Your mind is preoccupied with just one thing - trying to breathe. Most of your energy is spent trying to recover. Sometimes you bounce back. Other times, you don’t.

You wish you could have more control over this aspect of your game, imagining the move you could do if you had the motor. The good news is that whether you’re an experienced basketball athlete or new to the sport, your level of conditioning can be improved and shaped to the demands of your playing style.

The Body’s Basic Functions

The first step is to understand the systems that work behind the scenes, inside your body that make conditioning happen. It’s fundamental - just like if you don’t understand what a crossover, behind the back, or hesitation is, you can’t possibly improve your ball handling skill. Without knowing the three basic components of conditioning, you can’t improve your body’s ability to perform.

Here’s a simple way of looking at the three systems that occur inside our bodies that we collectively refer to as “conditioning.”

1. One system is responsible for short, high-intensity bursts of activity that lasts 10 seconds or less.

2. Another system handles physical workloads that last 30 to 60 seconds.

3. The third and final system is responsible for activity that lasts longer than 2 minutes.

Your body uses a combination of these systems on the court. Thus, your training must reflect a similar combination to meet the demands of your sport and playing style.

Common Training Mistakes: Focusing only on short- or long-term conditioning

If all your conditioning is 10-second intervals on a treadmill or bike, you will only become a great 10-second sprinter. Conditioning in exclusively short durations is a common trend in sports conditioning training. By no means is it wrong to train this way - we often prescribe it to many athletes- but it needs to be part of a well-rounded plan. For example, a basketball game does not consist of 10-second rounds, and exclusively training short duration activity will only get you so far.

The other trend seen in basketball conditioning is strictly running for long durations. Some athletes run so many miles each week, it’s as if they are preparing for a marathon, not a ball game. Exclusively conditioning the “more than 2-minute system” is not effective for a sport that demands explosiveness.

The Solution: Train All Three Energy Systems

It’s important to understand that these three systems work like a relay team: the team only has a chance of winning if all runners are succeeding individually and effectively passing the baton to the next runner at the transitions.

Each of the systems (10-second, 30-60-second and more than 2-minute) must be improved individually as well as the body’s ability to transition between those systems.

There are many layers to effective conditioning, but the number-one takeaway is to add strategic variety to your conditioning. Working each of these three systems at least once per week will without a doubt lead to significant improvements to your conditioning in about four to six weeks of times.

To take your performance to the next level, you should bias your training towards the system you are lease genetically blessed with.

The Role of Genetics

All people are born with genetics that lie somewhere between the world’s fastest sprinter, Usain Bolt, and the lesser-known Dean Karnazes, who holds the world record for endurance running with 350 miles run in 80 hours (without sleep!).

Some are gifted with explosiveness, while others naturally have more endurance.

To truly customize your approach to conditioning, you need to discover where you sit on this line then make an educated decision about the time you spend training each energy system.

This decision will also heavily depend on your playing style, potential opponents, and time frame to your next season/off-season.

That’s how deep our thought process goes with our athletes. When our athletes train with us, we build programs based on their natural abilities, what improvements they want to feel on the court and the kind of athletes they plan to become. We then fine tune the plan based on their real time performance, injuries, and biometrics so that they attain peak performance when it matters most.

If you want to be known as a ball player with an unlimited gas tank, the first step is to book a Performance Coaching Strategy Call today!

To kickstart your training, we’d like to offer you a one-time free coaching opportunity!

Below you will find the top 3 conditioning tests we use to benchmark my clients who play on the world’s stage including NCAA, FIBA 3x3, and Olympic hopefuls.

For a limited time, we will analyze the results of your tests and provide you with personalized recommendations to improve your conditioning…100% FREE!

Just follow these three steps:

1. Complete 1 or more of these tests within 1 week of receiving this email

2. DM us on Instagram with your results @kinthletics

3. Receive your FREE personalized coaching recommendations based on your results on Instagram!

Do NOT perform these tests if:

1. You have a known medical condition of any kind

2. You have not been recently and consistently exercising at a high level

3. You are not experienced with the equipment called for in the test

4. You have a competition in the next 2-4 weeks

If you do choose to perform these tests:

1. Ensure you are medically cleared by a physician to do so

2. Warm up properly for 10-15 minutes as they are max exertion tests

3. Stop at the first sign of pain/injury

100 Calories Assault/Airdyne Bike Test

• Work at 100% max effort until you burn 100 calories.

• Report the time it took you to burn 100 calories (and your average heart rate if using a HR monitor).

12 Minute Treadmill Run Test

• Run at your maximum sustainable pace for 12 minutes. The goal is to cover as much distance as possible in the time given.

• Report the distance you ran in the 12 minutes (and your average heart rate if using a HR monitor).

500 Meter Repeat Rowing Test

• Row 500m at your 100% max sustainable effort. Rest for exactly 1 minute. Repeat 5x.

• Report all 5 times (and your average heart rate if using a HR monitor).

Bonus Test!

Heart Rate Recovery Test

Heart Rate Recovery Tests measure the time it takes for your heart rate to return to a baseline level after a period of high exertion. It is an incredibly important aspect of conditioning as a Basketball Athlete as it directly relates to being able to control the pace of your game.

The ability to consciously control the deceleration of your heart rate, like how you control your breathing, is one of the most unknown aspects of basketball training. Every Kinthletics program includes our proprietary Heart Rate Control style of conditioning.

Take this test to see if you can reach 120bpm within 1 minute of rest after each round! Perform the following max effort intervals for 3 rounds on the equipment of your choice (treadmill, assault/airdyne, or rower).

Rest, at a stop between rounds. Rest until your HR reaches 120bpm before starting the next round. Report the duration of rest (how long it took you to reach 120bpm) after each round.

Round 1:

15 second max effort interval/15 seconds rest at a stop. Repeat for 5 minutes total time.

Round 2: 5 Minutes total

40 seconds max effort interval/20 seconds rest at a stop. Repeat for 5 minutes total time.

Round 3: 5 Minutes total

20 second max effort interval/10 seconds rest at a stop. Repeat for 5 minutes total time.

Reminder: You are only reporting the duration of time it took for your heart rate to return to 120bpm between rounds. No other data is needed.

Send us your results within 1 week of receiving this email on Instagram at @kinthletics to receive your FREE coaching!

No purchase required!


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