Why ‘individualization is so important’ for Wisconsin men’s basketball summer workouts | Wisconsin Badgers Men’s Basketball

A scene straight out of a “Rocky” movie plays out on the floor level of the Kohl Center on Fridays during the summer.

The University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team holds what it calls “strong man” workouts on Fridays.

The players go through circuits where they push and pull sleds, use battling ropes, swing sledge hammers, flip tires and carry heavy barrels filled with water.

Strength and conditioning coach Jim Snider said it’s often the players’ favorite day of the week.

“I bring a DJ in and let the DJ spin the records and just try to create a little bit of atmosphere,” Snider said. “It’s really loud. It’s hard for anybody to hear anything. It, No. 1, makes it fun for them (and) No. 2, it gets them ready for hostile environments we’re about to go into. Some of these young guys aren’t used to that. It’s loud. It’s crazy. There’s music going on. I try to imitate some of that.”

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Snider tailors seasonal workouts to a specific focus, so not every workout is like this. Spring workouts are centered around recovering from the wear and tear of the season. Summer workouts are focused on building strength and getting the players in shape for the season while fall workouts are about maintaining the strength built in the summer.

“I try to build higher volumes and stuff in the summertime because typically we’re not practicing as much,” Snider said. “That way, they’re still getting a similar load, and as we get closer to the season, the lifting volume comes down a little bit, and then the practice volume comes up. It’s kind of a teeter-totter effect.”

The Badgers lifted about four times a week over the course of the eight-week summer workout period that started June 13. They also practiced in preparation for this month’s trip to France.

Each day featured a different muscle group to work out. Mondays were for the upper body and Tuesdays the lower body. Conditioning became the focus Wednesdays, giving a break from lifting. Thursdays were full-body workout days, and the week finished with Friday’s strong man workouts.

“Coach Snider will do a good job of, if you’re bigger, you might do a different kind of squat,” junior Steven Crowl said. “Or if you’re shorter, you’ll do a different kind. He adapts to how tall you are, your strengths, your weaknesses and what you need to get better at. He does a good job of keeping it kind of similar, but at the same time, building it to each of our own individual strengths and weaknesses.”

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The 7-foot center went from playing in 11 games his freshman year to starting all 33 as a sophomore. The increased playing time caused him to lose weight, so Crowl’s area of ​​emphasis this summer was to build and maintain the strength he will need for next season.

“Steve has a lot of gifts,” Snider said. “His downside is his frame is a little bit on the small side, but he’s growing into his body. Just trying to give him some size and some strength to be able to handle the durability of the body contacts and things like that.”

Snider also wants cater workouts based on injuries.

Isaac Lindsey has undergone two hip surgeries. When they’re doing a lower-body day and players are doing front squats, Lindsey will do a safety squat, which uses a different bar and is in the middle of a regular and a front squat. It’s easier to control and protects his body, while also allowing him to build muscle.

“We can always just try to tweak and change exercises that way,” Snider said. “I’m not inside of a 7-footer’s body, so I don’t really know what it feels like.”

Players stay behind after workouts to occasionally get additional training, such as when Tyler Wahl and Chucky Hepburn spent time on bikes after a workout last month. Snider said it’s helping prepare them for the season.

There’s also specialization based on position. A guard might do more plyometrics — things that are more speed- and agility-based. Bigs might focus on catching weight and staying sturdy during it so they get used to being jostled when battling in the paint. Snider will have them do different lift variations that mimic what goes on in the post.

“It’s not easy, especially because we’re big on team, team, team,” Snider said. “But individualization is so important.”

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