Strength & Conditioning

  • I’ve always been an Andrea Hudy fan. She has been involved with several strength studies and seems like she is cutting edge in this area.

    But this is the time of year where we are opening our minds and looking for ways to improve our team. Everything should be open to scrutiny.

    Do we have an advantage over other D1 schools in strength and conditioning? Do we develop our players the best we can? Do we condition them well enough to prevent some injuries?

    I know Kansas has some cutting edge technology in this area. Players are assessed for areas where they need to improve, and they follow through a development plan that is monitored to see if they are reaching their goals. Everything really seems top notch!

    Back in my day, I would spend at least 10 hours a week (3 to 4 times a week) in the weight room. I definitely built mass and strength. There are different ways to train, some strategies build mass, some not. Some improving speed, some make you slower. Some build fast-twitch, some build slow-twitch muscles. I don’t claim to have any expertise in this area, just my own experiences. I was a two-sport athlete; basketball and boxing. My boxing training helped me immensely in basketball. My training focused on speed, strength and coordination. That involved a lot of work on speed and target pads. The heavy bag helped with strength and leverage.

    From my experience… dead weights helped with overall strength, but typically did not offer the best results for the energy spent doing it. Dead lifting helped build overall strength but produced a counter-effect of slowing me down and offered no coordination gains. Work on a target bag not only increased my speed, it also improved my eye-to-hand coordination. That was very helpful in basketball.


    I’m curious if we are keeping up with some of the technology available out there. I’ve started to research this area to find the best training options for my kid.

    This seems pretty popular today:


    It seems more in line with what helped me when I trained.

    Does anyone have experience with this?

  • I was like you-a ton of weight training in high school and college in the 70’s. Unfortunately some of the stuff they had us do was wrong in the weight-room: like explode and relax doing fast reps, rather than go slow up and down. The only resistance we had outside was a 40 pound weight vest.
    So much has improved since then and this vertimax looks great. If my son wasn’t down to his last 5 weeks of competitive athletics I would look into it.

    btw, speaking of two sports helping each other-one year coach required us to take Karate or Ballet. Most chose Karate of course. I will say it absolutely helped my concentration and flexibility

  • @JayhawkRock78

    I wish I had taken some dance classes… not only for the ladies. Even back 30 years ago, boxers were taking dance classes to help their footwork. I believe Ali probably changed a sport more than any one guy ever has in a sport. Guys freaked out when Ali did his shuffle… something that doesn’t even look impressive today.

    I hope I can get my kid into dance. Hard to find a sport where footwork isn’t a key essential.

    I’ve been chatting up several trainers. That’s how I found this Vertimax.

    I’m sure weight room techniques have changed considerably over the years.

  • @drgnslayr The one guy that took ballet-arguably the greatest sprinter in KU history.

  • I have been reading some studies and things lately. Every indicator is that weight training will make you stronger and more powerful, but will not necessarily make you more explosive or faster/ quicker. In fact, some studies suggest that too much weight training may make you slower instead!

    This is something that I am curious about because it seems like guys have been less explosive as their KU careers have gone on. I’m sure Hudy and her team have been keeping an eye on this, but it is something that bears watching.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 Clifford Wiley. There is a good wiki page on him. He started out in the 100 and 200- later in his career went to the 400. Fastest man in the US AND world in the 400 when Carter boycotted the 1980 Olympics (because they were in Afghanistan of all things.)

  • @justanotherfan Here is what I believe whole heartedly. You can only get so far athletically training against your own weight. Training with weights more than body weight wether it be push-ups vs bench press or squats WITH weights give you a HUGE advantage of building strength.

    I am 100% convinced I got faster and stronger because weight training gave me more strength in muscle to bone ratio. I could move my frame faster and higher because of increased muscle strength relative to my frame. And as I got to my peak years testosterone wise the same body mass (I stopped gaining weight but kept getting stronger.) took me to another level-but then I peaked out. Three years of the same training that got me there leveled out, I could not get any stronger.

    But that happens -diminishing returns.

  • @JayhawkRock78

    “Here is what I believe whole heartedly. You can only get so far athletically training against your own weight. Training with weights more than body weight wether it be push-ups vs bench press or squats WITH weights give you a HUGE advantage of building strength.”

    Besides the weight training… I did at least 1000 situps, pushups, jumping jacks and about 10 other calisthenics every single day. I don’t think I got much out of those. I considered those to be just for warming up my muscles. 30 minutes of stretching came before those. I was a work-out freak. Also ran 2 to 4 miles (trying to beat my own time) every night before bed… every night. This was all separate from playing 2 to 4 hours of ball… every single day.

    Definitely true… you can only get so far training against your own body. But I do wish yoga was big back then. Yoga is something different and allows you the ability to strengthen your body in different ways.

    Where the real advancements have come is in how to impact fast-twitch development. I don’t think the techniques I used in my day helped that. I think today they use “burst techniques” in attempts to help fast-twitch. Basketball is probably 90% about fast-twitch. Speed and reflexes. Then add in flexibility and endurance.

    That’s what I like about this Vertimax equipment. It allows you to work in the range of motion that fits your sport and is built on burst effort. The rubber bands offer resistance and can be adjusted to fit you current strength.

  • @drgnslayr Did you ever sleep? 😴

  • @nuleafjhawk

    Slept like a baby. Now I’m old and lazy. Hard to sleep!

  • @JayhawkRock78

    I agree that making your muscles stronger taps into that potential, but it won’t necessarily make you faster.

    As @drgnslayr mentioned, there is a lot more concentration not just on building muscle, but on what type of muscle you build. Every person has a mix of fast twitch and slow twitch muscle fibers. Fast twitch are for the explosive moves. Slow twitch are built for endurance and raw power. If you have a higher percentage of slow twitch muscles, you may be a very powerful person, but you won’t get faster or more explosive. Chances are, you will build the bulk that is typically associated with weight lifting and look strong. Think of the Mr. Olympia contestants. Lots of slow twitch development. On the other hand, if you have a higher percentage of fast twitch fibers, you will develop a much more explosive build and tone. Look at world class sprinters. They are muscular, but most never develop bulk.

    You could put two kids on the exact same weight training plan and, depending on their muscle distribution between fast and slow twitch, one may get faster while the other stays at the same speed. Conversely, one may increase their power by 10%-15% while the other may not increase their power at all simply because they don’t have the capacity due to muscle fiber distribution.

    That’s also why some guys seem to wear out much quicker on the court. Most fast twitch muscles, while great for being explosive, also tire very quickly, so a guy with lots of fast twitch muscles may have great cardio endurance, but their muscles wear out because they have too many fast twitch fibers that are more prone to exertion.

    I too weight trained in high school and I can tell you that I did not gain any weight. Weight trained like crazy and didn’t add any muscle. Finally, I talked to a guy that was a track and field coach, and he encouraged me to do explosive training. I ended up jumping higher (added about 2 inches to my vertical) and getting faster, but didn’t add hardly any power (maybe 10 pounds to my bench max).

    On the other hand, I had a teammate that, over the same time period, added over 40 lbs to their bench and about 60 to their squat doing the same program that we both started out with. However, their vertical actually declined slightly.

    We didn’t understand at that time why there were those different outcomes, but now it’s pretty clear that my fast twitch muscles weren’t ever going to respond to a program based around pure power, while my teammates slow twitch muscles were perfectly suited to respond to that program. But that’s probably also why he was a power forward and I was a point guard. My game was speed and explosion, and I got more speed and explosiveness. His was power and strength, and that’s where he gained.

    He likely wouldn’t have benefited from the track style exercises that ultimately benefited me, just like I didn’t gain much from the power exercises that saw him make huge strides.

  • @justanotherfan I need to qualify the time period I was talking about spanned from when I was 15 to 22 years old. As a sophomore in HS I was a string bean at 5’11", 135 pounds. I graduated HS 6’ 1" , 185 pounds. Some of that was DNA and a decent amount of fast twitch muscles. I was pretty fast in high school and stronger than most. Then after a year of college training table food, much harder training and some physical maturation I was clearly another level above. At the end of the next year I was even stronger however my performance barely increased, The following year I got a bit stronger yet had zero increase in performance- I had already peaked. There were a few around me who continued to improve over time but the majority peaked as sophomores.

  • Interesting conversation!

    By my late teens, I noticed my athletic improvements came in spurts. I’d reach a ceiling and stay there for a while… maybe 6 months to 2 years. Then… I’d make another leap in performance. Still not sure why. I know there is something called “muscle memory.” I’ve come to wonder that maybe I would suddenly improve my performance in one day, and my muscles memorized the performance improvement. Once I would hit a higher mark, I could maintain it. But… I never let off the gas with training. Maybe some of this is just the mind taking control of the body…

    Very curious what you all think about that.

  • Performance heavily relates to fast-twitch and slow-twitch. And I know genetics plays a big part of defining how much of each you have, and maybe even the peak potential of every individual.

    In college, I dated a track star. She was thin as a rail. Ran the 400. Competed on a National level. Sometimes we trained together. I would jump on her back… 220 lbs, and she’d hit the steps and do 100 straight calf lifts with me on her back. She did them real fast. I’m guessing she was half my weight and I couldn’t match her performance with her on my back. She was a superstar. Funny thing… I trained probably twice the amount of time in a day she would. But her goal was just one thing. Track is so specific and you focus on one thing.

  • @drgnslayr Absolutely there were times we would level off in performance. But our coach also had a method where he changed workouts around to try to get us to peak 2 to 3 times in the season-and it worked-primarily in the weight room. Regardless of manipulation like that I think the body naturally levels off -maybe it’s something at work trying to protect the body, maybe from injury?

  • @JayhawkRock78 hey track guy, what did you do in track? I sent a “chat” to you to check out the relays fb, thought you would enjoy it.

  • @Crimsonorblue22 HJ, LJ, at KU, plus TJ and sprints in high school along with football. I was very fortunate to have HAll of Fame coaches resulting in lots of championships.

  • @JayhawkRock78 You mentioned HJ at KU. I was an equipment manager for the track team in the late sixties. We were having a duel meet against someone. The HJ was contested right outside of the equipment room. Turned out that the team was videoing each jump. The video showed that I was raising my right leg when one of our team jumped. I was totally surprised when I saw that since I didn’t remember doing it.

  • @sfbahawk good one, I do that too.

  • @sfbahawk Then you were there for some of our best years. I imagine you enjoyed it and saw some great events.

    As for the legs, we studied films of Dick Fosbury at the Mexico Olympics and the officials were doing the same thing - lifting a leg.

  • @JayhawkRock78 I also jump in the passing lanes for steals too!

  • @JayhawkRock78 Those were the days of Jim Ryun, Karl Salb, Gary Ard, John Lawson, etc. I ran into a bunch of them when KU played Cal a couple of years ago out here.

    Jim Ryun had many memorable moments but one that amazed me was in a preliminary in what I think was 1000 yards at the Big 8 indoor meet in KC. You had to finish in top 3 to qualify for next round. He was loping along and was in third with about 30 yards to go. He sensed someone coming behind him and it was like he dropped it about 2 gears and smoked everybody. Most of the other runners we going as fast as they could.

  • Long story short my hight school dream was to jump to the Big 8 indoor in KC in front of my family and it happened my frosh year at KU.

    I am so happy about that because at least that happened-and then they went to the ICE HOCKEY-K C \ OMAHA KINGS bBall stock yards Kemper Arena stuff.

  • @sfbahawk Do remember Dennis Stewart? I got to go on a road trip with him once while I was an athlete.

    He would have been at KU about your time and was part of a worLd record relay teem.

  • @JayhawkRock78 Sorry. I was there from the fall of 1966 through spring of 1968

  • In exit interviews after the final game in 2009, the Twins asked Coach Self, “What do we need to do to get better?”
    “Get stronger,” answered Bill. “Hit the weights.”
    So the Twins dutifully arose at 6am all summer and hit the weights.
    After the final game of 2010, the Twins asked Coach, “What happened? How can we get better?”
    Bill answered, “You’re not strong enough. Get into the summer weight program.”
    So the Twins again spent the summer arising at 6am and dragging themselves into the weight room.
    After the final game of the 2011 season, the Twins asked again, “What went wrong?”
    Bill answered, “You gotta keep hitting the weights. You can never be strong enough.”
    The Twins looked at each other and said, “What was that agent’s name again?”

  • @sfbahawk Man. You mentioned “when KU played Cal a couple of years ago out here”, which instantly reminded me of that very physical game, and that ponytail 6’6 “enforcer” Gutierrez that played for Cal. The game where Thomas Robinson somehow kept his composure after getting an elbow driven into his throat by Gutierrez in a dog pile, and we saw Marcus lose his composure and get ejected after a wild swing, following getting karate’d between the shoulder blades. And…their coach downplayed it all postgame, saying his guys were simply “competitive”. Glad Cal has a different coach, I heard, if you follow their team. Take care.

  • @ralster

    I remember that game. Probably good I wasn’t in attendance. Gutierrez pissed me off so much I probably would have been hanging around outside by their team bus.

  • @KUinLA Like that story! Question: on the recruiting stories, some have mentioned the predilection for West Coast kids to want to stay “west” and look first at their own time-zone schools, then nearby places like UNLV and AZ. Being out there, have you picked up such a sense? Im just curious.

    Regarding Twins, it is a famous little story, and a credit to Kieff and Marcus that “3 days after getting beat up by MichState in '09, they showed up in Andrea Hudy’s office on their own accord to ask what they needed to do…”. Or so I seem to remember it…

  • @drgnslayr Oooo! drgn, you may have gone all “IowaState” on them! Weathermaxxed 'em for sure!

  • @ralster


  • @ralster Sorry, I can’t be much help on that point–I don’t really follow the local recruiting scene. The idea makes sense though–imagine a West Coast kid visiting back east or midwest in the dead of winter. Maybe the winter weather has something to do with Rick Barnes & Scott Drew’s recruiting abilities.

    I do remember hearing that story about the Twins. I was just making a little joke about the scenario.

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