Bodyweight Training Zone!

Rotational Basketball Movements with the CrossCore180

by Steve Hess & Chris Camacho

There has been a lot of discussion amongst coaches in every sport as to whether adding in rotation to specific exercises movements is actually safe, necessary and/or effective. As a veteran strength coach in professional basketball for more than 17 years, I have seen the transition to more functional training as a way to increase athletic performance at the highest level, but as well as in every day fitness programs as a gym owner. Movement within sport cannot be achieved without rotation.

Basketball is a sport that is played in all three planes of motion at a fast pace, and training in all three planes is critical to an athlete's success. Because there are rapid changes in direction, deceleration, acceleration and rotation through the hips as the upper body receives or makes a pass in the opposite direction of the lower body. The challenge has been to find a training tool that incorporates bodyweight training and rotation. As a professional basketball strength coach, I have to always be looking to update my training program with the most effective and cutting edge tools that allow me to make my players the best they can be.

Having been a big fan of suspended bodyweight training for years; I have seen the many benefits it has brought to the sports performance and fitness arenas. That's why when I first saw the CrossCore 180®, I was intrigued. Suspended bodyweight training exercises with added rotation, are you kidding me? Increased range of motion, increased challenges to proprioception and bilateral equalization, all while utilizing bodyweight. In my professional opinion the CrossCore180® brings another valuable modality into the bodyweight training arena and has expanded my program exponentially. I am able to increase my athletes' strength through a full range of motion; all while utilizing a fully portable unit that can be used anytime or anywhere.

The CrossCore180® exercise movements listed below are not limited to any particular phase or place in my training program. Each athlete is different as are the demands of their positions. These are simply four foundational movements I've added into our conditioning program. There are literally hundreds more.

The purpose of these movements is to actively engage and train the pelvic and lumbar stabilizers), thoracic rotators, proprioception and disassociation between the upper and lower body. Although designed for basketball, many of these movements are transferable to any sport or fitness program. That's the Sonic Boom!!!

Inverted Row with Thoracic Rotation

Perform the movement as though doing a regular inverted row (image 1a). The key here is to “Pull the Pin™” (pin out) allowing greater range of motion. Pull the body towards the handles and at the top of the motion (hands near the chest), isolate the hips and rotate through the upper body to one side and then the other (image 1b). Return to the starting position and repeat the movement.

1a 1b

Purpose: To target the rhomboids, lats and traps while placing emphasis on anti-rotators of the lumbar spine.

Suspended Lunge with Pass and Dribble

While performing a single leg suspended lunge, stand several feet in front of the player. Chest pass a basketball to the player (image 2a). Once they catch the ball have them drop into a further lunge position, dribble to right to left (left to right) and then pass the ball back (image 2b). Repeat the drill on both sides. This can also be done with medicine balls, tennis balls, etc...

2a 2b

Purpose: To increase proprioceptive awareness and strength while performing basketball specific skills in all planes.

Reach/Pull Lunge

Begin by having the player assume a lunge position and grasp the handles. Rotating at the hips, perform a single arm row, while the opposite hand reaches forward (image 3a). The movement should be done in a controlled manner with focus being placed on the player maintaining a proper lunge position while stabilizing through the hips and rotating through thoracic spine. Alternate the reach/pull motion and repeat on the opposite side (image 3b). To increase the level of difficulty, have the player manually apply additional resistance on the eccentric phase of the movement.

3a 3b

Purpose: To place emphasis on the stabilizers of the lumbar and thoracic spine while actively engaging the musculature of the lower body.

Chest Press and Alternating Hand Touches

Begin by having the player assume a moderate chest press position, with slight flexion in the elbows. Have the player reach across their body to a target (your hands – image 4a), alternating sides and hand position (i.e., high to low, wide to close, etc… give them a moving target) (image 4b).

4a 4b

Purpose: To actively engage the entire kinetic chain, while dynamically stabilizing the shoulder girdle in load/weight bearing position.

"If you're going to play and move in all planes, you have to train there as well."
– Steve "Sonic Boom!!!" Hess

About the Authors

Steve Hess
Steve is a 17 year professional basketball strength and conditioning coach based in Denver, Colorado.

Hess is a former co-owner of FORZA fitness and performance center and is one of 12 trainers worldwide who sits on the Under Armour training council. He is also the official spokesperson for the National Sports Center for the Disabled and is also a member of NBA Team Fit.

In addition, Hess has been featured on NBA Inside Stuff, All-Access with Ahmad Rashad, NBATV, The Eating Network, Men's Fitness, Men's Health, Celebrity Sweat, Altitude Sports & Entertainment Network. A graduate of Ithaca College (N.Y.), Hess received a Master's degree in Physical Education with an emphasis in Sports Medicine and a bachelor's degree in Exercise Science Fitness and Cardiac Rehabilitation in '91 as well as being a M.A.T. Specialist.

Christopher Camacho, MA, CSCS
Christopher has been involved in the sports and fitness industry for more than 20 years. Prior to joining CrossCore®, Christopher served as the Director of Fitness Development and Programming for GoFit, Director of Strategic Partnerships for Fitness Anywhere (TRX) and Director of Business Development & Sports Marketing for Power Plate North America. He has also worked with numerous professional strength and conditioning coaches and programs domestically and internationally.

Christopher earned his Master's degree from the University of San Francisco in Sport Management '02 and his bachelor's degree in Exercise Physiology with an emphasis in Athletic Training in '91.

Photos courtesy of SportXcel Denver, Erik Phillips and Ryan Kannegieter.