Longtime teammates Marissa Coleman and Crystal Langhorne continue to do conditioning drills together on their college turf, working with Kyle Tarp, a certified strength and conditioning specialist with Maryland’s women’s basketball team, in between Mystics practices in nearby Washington, D.C. Tarp developed a nine-part workout designed to strengthen muscles while getting your reflexes game-ready. Unlike traditional weight-room moves, each of these exercises builds strength for specific movement patterns you’ll use on the court — or field, diamond, course or pool — so you get stronger, faster and more nimble than your competitors. Follow along with Coleman and Langhorne in the first three exercises:
1. Ankle Balance Reach Matrix
Stand on your right foot and, bending your standing knee slightly, extend your left leg to the front, reaching your foot to almost — but not quite — touch the floor. Come back to the start, then reach your leg out at a diagonal forward and to the left. Come back to center, then reach your leg straight out to the side. Return to center, then turn your toes out as you reach the left foot straight back in a drop step. Repeat the four reaches for three complete cycles, then switch feet.
2. Lunge Matrix
Starting with your feet hip-width apart, step forward with your right foot and bend both knees to lower into a lunge, keeping your chest up and your front knee over your front ankle. Step back to start, then lunge forward on a diagonal, stepping out at a 45-degree angle with your right foot. Bend your knees to lower into a lunge, then step back to stand. Step straight out to the side and bend your right knee to lower into a lateral lunge (left leg stays straight), keeping your heels grounded. Step back to the start and finish the sequence with a drop-step lunge, pivoting on your left foot to face the other direction. Repeat the sequence on your right, then do both sides again for a total of eight lunges on each side.
3. Ball Hip Mobility
Stand with your feet wide, a medicine ball or basketball in front of your right foot. Bend your knees, sitting back into a squat, then shift your weight to the right, bending your right knee and straightening your left leg. Sinking low enough to touch the ball with your fingertips, hold for three seconds, then roll the ball to the left while simultaneously shifting your weight through the center and into a side squat on the left side with your left knee bent and right knee straight. Keep your hips low and your chest lifted throughout the move as you shift from side to side, pausing for three seconds at each foot. Do two sets of three lunges on each side. For a variation (top), roll the ball in a figure eight around your feet as you shift from side to side.