Q&A with Andre Drummond

Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond was busy setting records this NBA season: The All-Star athlete led the league in rebounds for the second time, averaging a career best of 16 per game. That makes him the second player in the last four decades to put up those numbers.

With six years of pro ball under his belt, the 24-year-old shows no signs of slowing down. Standing 6 foot 11 inches and weighing 279 pounds, Drummond played 33 minutes per game this season, his highest average yet with the Pistons.

Now he has a chance to be even stronger thanks to smart training strategies. “I’m ready to go every single day,” he says. Furthermore caught up with him to talk yoga, fruit bowls, and his go-to exercises.

Photo: Getty Images

What was your offseason workout routine?

I worked really hard on my conditioning, making sure I lost some weight. I’d wake up around 7:30 a.m. and go to the track to run laps. After that, I’d get on the bike, then do some jump rope work to increase my agility and improve my footwork. Later in the day, I’d run a mile or two on the beach to build endurance and lower-body strength. The resistance from the sand strengthened my legs. I also put a lot of time into basketball skills, and it paid off for me on the court.

How is it different from what you do during the season?

I do less cardio during the season because we run a lot while we play. I still stretch to keep my body loose and hold lots of planks, but I don’t lift as heavy.

So, there's a big focus on building core strength?

When I’m lifting, core work is my main priority because it’s so important for a guy like me in my position. I do a lot of pull-ups with holds at the top, and plank and sit-up variations. If you have a strong core, you’ll have fewer lower-back problems, so that’s one reason why I focus on it.

For my go-to core exercise, I start in a low plank position with forearms on the floor, then l move into a high plank and perform a push-up before returning to start. I do three sets of 20 reps each.

What are some specific workouts you do to increase your speed, agility, and endurance?

One of my favorites is an Every Minute on the Minute (EMOM) workout. I start at one end of the court, run for 45 seconds at a solid pace, then rest for the remaining 15 seconds. I repeat that for 20 minutes.

For agility, I like to start in a defensive stance at half court, shuffle to the baseline, then pivot and sprint to the opposite baseline. I do that 10 times in a row.

Have you branched out into other types of training?

In Las Vegas last summer, we did mixed martial arts and that is tough. We did a lot of high-intensity intervals during those workouts. It was very different and a good way to change things up from my usual routine.

As a center, you go up against some of the strongest and largest athletes in the league. What do you do for injury prevention?

In the summer, I had surgery on my nose and had to learn how to breathe all over again. I started doing yoga because I couldn’t do much else. I still use it in some daily workouts when I can fit it in. It makes me feel great; I don’t get as stiff anymore, and now I do stretches that I learned in yoga when I wake up in the morning.

You’ve been in the league for six years. What advice do you have for your younger self?

I’d tell myself how important it is to sleep and to put the right foods in your body all the time. Sleep is a major issue, and sometimes when you’re younger, you don’t realize that. I’ve gained a lot of maturity, so now I know how to train for a full season, I make sure I’m working hard every day, and I don’t take any days off.

What are the “right” foods?

I definitely love to jump in on a fruit bowl and load up on that for energy. I also eat lots of nuts and dried fruit.

What’s the most important factor in sticking to a training plan?

Learn to fall in love with the workouts that will improve your weak spots. If it’s cardio, you need to love it. I used to hate running and now I really enjoy it. I think that’s one of the biggest things that changed for me.

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