The case against off-season rest

NBA star Troy Daniels trained through the summer and is coming back stronger than ever.

The 2018 NBA season officially tips off on October 16, but for Phoenix Suns shooting guard Troy Daniels, training started at the beginning of the summer.

He set a new record for his team last season, having scored three-pointers in 29 straight games. But instead of sticking to what he knows best, he also spent his summer strengthening his weaknesses. “For me, that was defense,” he says. To hone that skill, he spent lots of time in the weight room and playing pick-up games with other players.

“It’s easy to do defensive drills on your own, but competing against other guys is more realistic and it can really help you in the long run,” says Daniels, who, at 27, is heading into his seventh NBA season.

Before it starts, Furthermore caught up with Daniels and his personal trainer, Blake Boehringer, about the regimen that helped him become a more well-rounded player. “We focused on core and glute strength as well as hip mobility, since he’s such a dynamic shooter,” says Boehringer, a Charlotte, North Carolina-based personal trainer and owner of Accelerate Basketball.

Daniels took only two or three weeks off this summer and he’s seen measurable improvements in his performance from start to finish. “My body feels a lot better now than it did last year,” he says. Below, his off-season routine.

The Training Regimen:
This summer, I lifted about four times per week for an hour and a half, then I’d go directly to the gym for a two-hour basketball workout. In the weight room, it was core more than anything. We’re not bodybuilders, we’re not football players. We play a lot of games and the core helps sustain your body through the year.

I did a lot of planking, making them more unstable by putting my forearms on a stability ball and moving them in clockwise and counterclockwise circles. I also worked with resistance bands. I’d use them during torso twists and wear one around my waist while doing squats with someone pulling me from behind. To stay mobile and strengthen my shoulders and back, I mimic the motion of shooting using a 20- to 40-pound slam ball instead of a basketball, completing 3 sets of 10 on each arm, alternating sides. I’d also incorporate cardio conditioning on the wind bike to get my heart rate up while keeping the impact light.

The Nutrition Regimen:
Going into the summer, one of my goals was to eat right. That meant fewer indulgences (like steak and butter) and more of the right proteins and carbs like fish, chicken, and fruit. I substituted chips with almonds, but I like soul food, so once in a while I’ll still eat something like fried chicken or mac and cheese. I try to eat clean without being too specific, but I can tell the difference when I put in the extra effort.

I’d start the morning with an egg white sandwich. I don’t really like breakfast but I understand it’s the most important meal of the day, so I force myself to have it. Then I eat a lot of fuel on the go, maybe a Clif bar here and there. On the whole, I try to stick with multigrain pasta, broccoli, chicken, or sea bass (that’s my favorite fish), and vegetables.

I’ve had chefs over the years and this season I’ll be on a meal plan to record how many calories I should eat and, if I need more energy, where I should get it from.

The Recovery Regimen:
We have a long, intense season (I played 80 out of 82 games last year) so recovery is really important. Right now I’m focusing on getting a lot of sleep—drinking cherry juice is a big help—and keeping my legs fresh. I get NormaTec therapy at the Suns’ training facility to cut off circulation and promote recovery. Pretty much every athlete gets in the ice tubs. Soaking in cold water for 10 to 15 minutes eases inflammation in my knees.

What’s Next:
I just want to keep focusing on what I worked on this summer, handling the ball more and being aggressive.

Photo: Getty Images

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