How athletes train: Danny Green

The Raptors guard talks core training, pancakes, and post-NBA plans.

After being selected in the second round of the 2009 NBA Draft, Danny Green played for the Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs before his stints in the G League and with the top-level pro league in Slovenia. In 2014, after returning to the Spurs, he helped the team secure the championship and set a record for the most 3-pointers made in an NBA Finals series. Last season, he was one of five players in the league selected to join the NBA All-Defensive Second Team.

Even though Green wants to accomplish much more on the court (like helping his current team, the Toronto Raptors, clinch their first NBA title), he recognizes that his time in the league is finite. “I’m thinking about what I want to do once my basketball career ends,” the 31-year-old shooting guard says. “I have a lot of interests off the court, like broadcasting.” He's even attended a four-day seminar at Syracuse University to learn how he can transition into TV after the NBA.

Furthermore caught up with Green to hear about his core training, his eat-whatever’s-around approach to food, and his hours-long post-game recovery routine.

The Training Regimen:
In the off-season I did two-a-days, split with lifting and on-court work. I tore my groin last season, so I put in a lot of leg work to regain full strength.

To build up my core, I used the Core X System, which was invented by [Raptors’ director of sports science] Alex McKechnie. I’ve also done some boxing to improve hand-eye coordination and keep my body balanced.

No matter how much running you do, even if it’s uphill or in altitude, nothing simulates the physicality needed for games like actually playing basketball. So as preseason approached, I trained on the court and practiced the moves I’d be doing in a game. For me, that means lots of running, shooting, and ball-handling.

During the season, I do more corrective work and lift to maintain the strength I built over the summer and prevent injuries.

The Nutrition Regimen:
I’m not a picky guy. I eat when I’m hungry, whatever is around. There are times when I eat what I want in the off-season, but I burn those calories during my workouts so it all balances out.

Once the season starts I’m healthier. At our facility in Toronto we’re surrounded by organic and gluten-free foods like chicken, vegetables, turkey, and eggs. Even the pancakes we have are organic and clean.

On game days, my nutrition isn’t super strict. We usually have breakfast right after practice, then I take a nap, and when I wake up I’ll eat something again. Before games I have carbs to give me energy. I try to give myself time to digest before I get on the court so I can feel good out there.

The Regeneration Routine:
I’m not the fastest player getting out of the locker room. My post-game recovery process usually takes a couple hours. If you don’t focus enough on recovery, you’ll start to wear down as the season goes on.

I try to keep my body stretched and elastic so I can sustain playing high minutes. I’ll do about 10 minutes of icing in a foot bath for my calves, Achilles, and feet, or I’ll sit in the ice tub. I also get massages from the trainers and use the NormaTec, usually two or three 30-minute sessions throughout the night.

Yoga and Pilates keep my body loose, strengthen my muscles, and help with injury prevention. This training comes in handy when you have to make unpredictable movements during a game. Yoga is also good for mentality. If you’re taking care of your body and you’re in a good state of mind, that keeps you confident on the court.

What’s Next:
We have a great group of guys on the team and I’m excited to see what we can do. I’m trying to branch out and learn as much as I can about business and other things while I’m playing. I’m still looking to find what I want to do, but sportscasting is definitely something I’m exploring.

Photo: Getty Images