How to Train for the Big Dance
Posted on Mar 7, 2017 10:22:00 AM

Its that time of year again - March Madness!

In the spirit of March Madness at TRX, we think it's appropriate to share some stats and some TRX Exercises that are basketball inspired.

Unless you’re currently a college basketball player, you’re probably not hitting the court at the Big Dance. March Madness, however, will be a part of your life for the next month. According to Smithsonian Magazine, approximately 60 million Americans fill out a bracket each year despite the fact that the odds of correctly filling out a tournament bracket are one in 9.2 quintillion. Sports Illustrateds Frank Deford suggests the public is obsessed with March Madness because it’s the largest national single-elimination competition in the world. “Every game, all 67 of them, the losing team is sent home... In a nation that prides itself on second chances, there are none.”

More than one-sixth of the population is invested in the outcome of March Madness. We’re glued to the games. We cheer the teams as they chase destiny. All that’s missing is an individual fitness component. But the NCAA tournament can factor into your exercise routine. With a tool like the TRX Suspension Trainer, it’s easy to add basketball-inspired moves to your workouts. One big training secret that Tim DiFrancesco, Head Strength & Conditioning Coach for the Los Angeles Lakers shared with us is high-performing hips!

By developing impressive hip stability, strength, and power, a player will jump higher and improve his or her speed.  But that’s not all!  What goes up must come down, and having hips that are capable of controlled landings or decelerations is critical. High-performing hips are often overlooked as a necessary component for taking pressure off the knees and protecting players from common basketball-related knee injuries.

Incorporate the following four TRX Suspension Training exercises into your training routine to help get your hips functioning like the pros:


  • Adjustment: Straps at mid-length
  • Position: Stand Sideways to the anchor point
  • Start: Stand on leg closest to anchor, grip handles at center of chest
  • Movement: Hinge at the waist and allow the arms to rotate across the body
  • Return: Return to start position by initiating the movement at the hips.

This exercise challenges the lateral hip musculature, core, and upper body in multiple planes. It helps to develop stability and strength while standing on a single leg. Use this exercise as a warm-up or as part of your single leg training.  Shoot for 1-3 sets of 8-15 reps.


  • Adjustment: Straps at mid-length
  • Position: Standing facing the anchor point
  • Start: Stand on one leg, and bend elbows bringing the handles to ear level.
  • Movement: Hinge at the hips lowering the chest to be parallel to the thigh (or close to), then rotate the entire upper body in the direction opposite of the standing leg, with the hip and shoulder moving as one (Quick Cue- “Like a rotisserie chicken”) 
  • Return: Rotate the entire body back to the start position, and drive through the hips to return to single leg stance position.

This exercise requires tremendous balance and endurance from both the hip and the core. Use this exercise as a warm-up or as part of your core/lower body training. Shoot for 1-3 sets of 8-10 reps.


  • Adjustment: Straps at mid-length
  • Position: Stand facing the anchor point
  • Start: Holding on to each handle, position the back knee on the floor behind the elevated surface with the front foot firmly planted on the elevated surface (6-8” high)
  • Movement: Stand up to a tall single-leg stance while incorporating a row.
  • Return: Slowly lower back down to a low-lunge position.

This exercise targets your primary glute muscles as well as your upper body.  It develops hip strength for moves like a single leg jump or sprint action.  Use this exercise as a warm-up or as part of your lower body training. Shoot for 1-3 sets of 8-15 reps.


  • Adjustment: Straps at mid-length
  • Position: Stand Sideways to the anchor point
  • Start: Holding both foot cradles with a clasped grip, position foot  (closest to the anchor point) on the elevated surface (6-8”). Step out into a lunge with outside leg and position handles into the center of the chest.
  • Movement: Lower back knee down into a lunge and press handles straight away from chest.
  • Return:  Drive through mid-foot and heel of front leg, feel as if you are pushing the ground away, simultaneously pulling the handles back to the center of the chest as you return to a full standing position. 

This exercise will help you to develop strength during a single leg jump or landing. Use this exercise as a warm-up or as part of your lower body/core training. Shoot for 1-3 sets of 8-15 reps.

You don’t have to be on your way to the Big Dance to brush up on these basketball-friendly exercises. Use March Madness as your motivation to move in a new way. Your chances of correctly selecting a bracket may be slim, but—with hard work—you can be a fitness winner.

Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS is the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and founder of TD Athletes Edge.  He is nationally renowned for his evidence-based and scientific approach to fitness, training, nutrition, and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

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