Three Secrets Behind Russell Westbrook’s Basketball Explosiveness Workouts
Russ is one of, if not the most explosive player in the NBA. But, not a single soul, besides his coach, knows the training methods surrounding his explosiveness.
Yes, Russell Westbrook’s basketball explosiveness workouts are shrouded in secrecy, even to his teammates. When he’s working with his trainer, Joe Sharpe, they’re in a private room working one-on-one. Nobody gets in, and nobody gets out.
With someone that explosive, there are tons of players dying to know the methods behind Brodie’s superior explosiveness…
And I might have a hunch as to the factors behind it.
So, below I’m going to lay out the three secrets that, I believe, are the driving factors behind Russell Westbrook’s explosiveness workouts.
Breaking Down Russell Westbrook’s Explosiveness
The thing that’s so impressive about Russell Westbrook is his ability to elevate high into the air in a fraction of a second. And this ability allows him to violently pound the ball through the rim, and sprint down the court to make game-saving blocks.
And while Russ may be naturally explosive, there’s definitely some nurture behind his explosiveness.
For one, you’ll notice that before he goes up for a dunk, he barely loads his lower body, showing two things…
- A Proficiency in Absorbing Force
- High Amounts of Absolute Power
Another thing you’ll notice is that his transition from sprint to dunk is seamless. See, some players clunk their feet on the ground as they approach the rim. Not Russ, he’s light as a feather as he glides across the court, which allows him to put his explosiveness on full display.
Just look at this:
Below, I’m going to talk about these topics in-depth, so you can learn how to harness these explosive capabilities for yourself.
Russell Westbrook Jump Tip #1: Work on Force Absorption
Most jumpers have to load up before their jumps. When I say that, I mean that they have to bend at the knee and hip, before they accelerate upwards.
When you watch Russell Westbrook, it seems like he barely loads up before he explodes off the ground. This is a display of his superior ability to absorb force.
Force absorption is something that’s neglected by most athletes, but is a key factor in becoming more explosive, and throwing down windmills. It’s also critical for the health of your knees, because if you don’t know how to absorb force, you probably don’t know how to land correctly.
To go even further with that, the first step in getting better at force absorption is learning how to land.
How to Land When Jumping
To properly land after a jump, you should land with your hips and knees slightly bent in a fixed position. That means on impact, your hips don’t drop, and your knees don’t bend more.
In addition, you’ll land with your weight more on the balls of your feet. If you do this properly you shouldn’t get any pain in the knees after a plyometric workout, AND you shouldn’t be able to hear yourself land.
A good cue to get yourself, or an athlete, to land properly is to imagine you’re landing on ice, and the ice will break if you land too hard.
Going Further With Force Absorption
Once you’re landing properly, make sure to do it when doing plyometric exercises. Then, you can progress to single leg force absorption exercises.
Start out by learning how to absorb low amounts of force on one leg. You can do this by standing on two legs,you’ll pressing up onto your toes, then dropping your feet to the ground, but only land on one leg.
After you get good at those, you can perform single leg plyometrics and land on one foot. For example, with single leg tuck jumps, I usually have an athlete land on two feet. However, if you want to get more efficient with your force absorption, you can land on one.
Just know, you’re dealing with high amounts of force here, and if you don’t land properly, you could do damage to your knee.
Russell Westbrook Jump Tip #2: Get Efficient in Transition
Another reason that Russell Westbrook can explode into the air, seemingly without loading his hips or knee, is that he’s very efficient in transition.
The transition phase of a jump is the time spent at the bottom, before you explode up. But, transition can also refer to the transition from a sprint to a jump, which we know is very important if you want to dunk.
This transition phase has everything to do with the efficient transfer of force. And getting more efficient at this take multiple training strategies. One of them is reactive jumping
Reactive jumps teach you how to transfer force more efficiently AND limit your contact time with the ground. This is absolutely crucial if your goal is dunking, because you need to be able to transition from a sprint to a jump efficiently. A lot of guys who are clunky in their transition lose momentum from their sprint, and don’t jump as high.
Yes, if you can’t transfer the force efficiently, you’ll get stuck in the mud and won’t get up very high.
So, there are many ways you can perform reactive jumps. For the purposes of getting Russell Westbrook explosiveness, you’ll want perform a depth to vertical jump, and a single leg broad to vertical jump.
How to Perform a Depth to Vertical Jump
To perform a depth to vertical jump, you’ll stand on a bench and perform a depth jump.
Remember to land properly (as I explained above).
When you land, you want to spend as little time in contact with the ground as possible. Remember, our goal here is to work on our transition so that it can be smooth when we take off.
Make contact with the ground and push off in a way that propels your body upwards.
How To Perform a Single Leg Broad to Vertical Jump
This one is a little more complex, mostly because it involves one leg. Before you perform this, make sure you can adequately absorb force on one leg, and make sure you have single leg stability.
To perform this movement, you’ll start on one leg. From there, bend the knee slightly and push the hip back, as you would for a single leg broad jump.
When you first perform this movement, I want you to perform a sub-maximal single leg broad jump. This is so you don’t hurt yourself, and you maintain control when transferring force.
You’ll perform your sub-maximal single leg broad jump, make contact with the ground, and explode up.
Again, you want to spend as little time on the ground as possible to maximize the effectiveness of this move.
As you get better at this, you can perform more powerful broad jumps before progressing into your vertical jump.
Russell Westbrook Jump Tip #3: EXPLODE
You don’t get Russell Westbrook explosiveness without the ability to produce HIGH amounts of force. Yes, for the third and final tip, I’m telling you to increase your absolute power as much as possible.
There are a few different methods you can use for this, such as complex training, and concentric focused training, but the method I want to talk about with you is contrast training.
What is Contrast Training?
Contrast training is a method of training that involves an athlete performing a strength lift, such as a trap bar deadlift, then performing a power movement that utilizes the same muscles as the strength lift, such as a power bound.
This tricks the nervous system into firing more effectively, as, during the power movement, the nervous system doesn’t know you removed the weight of the strength lift. This causes the nervous system to fire at the same rate it did during your strength lift, in turn, increasing your power output.
Over the long term, contrast training increases the athlete’s rate of force development, or the speed at which an athlete can produce peak force.
And, it’s been proven, that the faster you can produce peak force, the higher you’ll jump.
So, it’s definitely something you’ll want to include in your training if you want Russell Westbrook explosiveness.
How to Perform Contrast Training
As I said above, contrast training is done by performing two movements that recruit the same muscles. One of them is strength-based, the other is explosive.
Since the abilities to jump off two legs and a single leg are both vital to dunking, I’ll share contrast sets for each.
The first contrast set is for explosiveness off of two legs:
- A. Back Squat 6×3 2/1/X Tempo
- B. Tuck Jumps 6×3
Between these two movements, you want minimal rest. Studies have shown that post-activation potentiation (the mechanism behind contrast training) lasts for a couple of minutes, but for our purposes, we want to limit that time in-between the two movements.
The next contrast set is for single leg explosiveness:
- A. Bulgarian Split Squat 6×3 2/1/X Tempo
- B. Power Skips for Height 6×2 each
More Explosiveness Tips
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