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 final three exercises:
7. Rainbow Medicine Ball Slams
Start with your feet wide, holding a weighted medicine ball in both hands. Reach the ball overhead, then pivot to the right and bend your knees to get low (as though you’re lunging), slamming the ball into the ground to your right and catching it low. Keep your chest high and bend into your hips and knees, not your lower back. (Again, a semi-flat medicine ball, or one with a padded grip, will be less bouncy. But use caution with this move.) As soon as you catch the ball, reverse the movement, reaching the ball overhead and slamming it on the other side. Do three sets of five slams to each side.
8. Single-Leg Deadlift Matrix
Stand with your feet hip-width apart and hold a medicine ball with both hands. Lifting your right foot to balance on the left, engage your abs as you hinge forward from your hip, simultaneously reaching the ball toward your standing foot and extending your right leg straight back to hip level (or as close as you can come without arching your back). Return to standing, then repeat, reaching the ball toward the outside — then the inside — of your standing foot. Return to start position after each rep. Do three cycles (nine total reaches), then switch feet and repeat, balancing on your right foot. Do three sets on each side.
9. Rear-Foot-Elevated Split Squat
Stand in front of a box or block holding a weighted medicine ball at chest height with your elbows bent out to the sides. (The seat of a couch or sturdy chair, or a set of steps will also work.) Lift your right foot behind you and place it, laces-down, on the top of the box. Bend your standing knee to lower up to 90 degrees, then press into your left heel to stand. If your knee is passing your toes or your heel lifts when you lower, slide your standing foot forward to give yourself room. Do eight to 10 reps, then switch legs and repeat.