Jay Ramos

Pro Tip: Resistance Series, Pt. 3: Developing Power with Pushes

By Jay Ramos

With the development of important muscles like our hip flexors and overall quadriceps, we need to make sure the push we get from our hamstrings is optimal to encourage the utmost explosion.

Just beneath your glutes are the hamstrings, which are made up of three muscles. I already have mentioned avoiding machines that can harm your athletic potential, so let’s look at a very functional movement that can get your hamstrings ready to power forward and complement the quad and hip flexor work we did here and here.

The Weighted Sled Push

Sled pushes develop upper and lower body muscles

Look fun? That’s because it’s one of the most demanding explosion workouts in the arsenal. It certainly takes a toll on the legs, but your shoulders and core get some pop out of this too. It also promotes FUNCTIONAL strength, not artificial strength, because running mechanics are emphasized in a challenged environment. This is how the human body was meant to move, not seated on a machine.

Don’t have access to a sled? Be creative and try these plate pushes:

Basketball, Next Level, Jay Ramos, Speed, Explosion, SAQ, NLSAQ

Sled pushes can be done with simple plates and a towel at your local gym

You don’t need the actual sled to create this workout.

Want a basketball specific variation? Grab a basketball, have a workout partner put his hands on your shoulder and resist you on the run.  This is the partner dribble push. The partner should leave enough of a window for you to run hard while still giving you enough leeway to get full drive and keep your mechanics right.


Sled Push

– Keep your back straight and maintain a straight line from your head through your legs. You should not round your back.
– Keep your arms stable at roughly a 45 degree angle. Do not push through with your arms on the drill.
– Begin slow and find a rhythm.
– Start with five repetitions of 50 feet. Rest time should not be more than 30-45 seconds. Move onto five repetitions of 75 feet in two weeks, and eventually 100 feet as long as your stamina can keep the intensity through the entire drill.

Plate Push

The same mechanical instructions apply from the sled push. Drive the knees and keep the arms stable. Keep your back straight.

Partner Dribble Push

– Since you have a basketball and no arm stabilizers are involved, the dribbling of the basketball actually becomes a very taxing exercise in a different way.
– We don’t want you slowing down or arching your back here. If it’s too difficult, tell your partner to ease up. You should be going through with proper running mechanics to get the most of the drill.

Now go get to work.

Jay Ramos is a professional basketball trainer and performance enhancement specialist with Next Level Basketball. He is currently constructing a basketball athleticism program called ‘Speed, Agility, and Quickness’ that will be out in early 2015. Check out the preview at NLBTraining.com.

Pro Tip: Resistance Series, Pt. 2: How this pro player got his speed back

By Jay Ramos

You know that player on the court who people just don’t want to defend? That player with the quick feet and deadly hesitations that can shift you out of position on defense and put you on a highlight reel?

Former University of Tennessee guard Bobby Maze was that player. During his time as a two year starter in college, UT went to the sweet-16 his senior season, and he has gone on to enjoy a successful pro career overseas.

But when he enlisted me to do his offseason program last summer, we realized one thing very quickly: He was way out of shape. When we started working out we also realized one thing very quickly: B-Maze still had it.

Next Level Basketball Bobby Maze Jay Ramos

Coach Jay describes a harness drill to Bobby Maze (University of Tennessee).

The explosive crossover was back and he even toasted one of my NBA clients one of my stamina crushing full court 1-on-1’s.

How did he round into shape?

Resistance Training.

See that band on his waist in the picture? Bobby had to run 50 foot sprints against varying resistance, and in the process, his hamstrings began to get their strength back and his quadriceps starting to drive like they were meant to drive.

The Science Behind It:

I discussed stationary high knee running here as a way to develop the front hip flexor and create knee drive, and after this introductory exercise, we can begin to develop those hamstrings into powerful machines to help you really start generating the most force you can on the wood, and in turn, just blowing by people and letting them feel the breeze. You should have a 2:1 ratio of strength to support the knees from the quads-hamstrings, so remember that some sound strengthening like the ones we have outlined before should complement these explosive workouts.


– Acquire a still harness to wrap around the waste.
– Grab a partner
– Run four 50 foot sprints with your partner placing between 50-75 percent resistance on you as you move.

Remember, the point isn’t to put complete force against you to the point where you can’t move, it is to put optimum force against you to the point where you’re running mechanics are the same and you are exploding but resistance is forcing maximum output.

For visual, check out Bobby and NBA forward Michael Beasley doing some of this work here:


Jay Ramos is a professional basketball trainer and performance enhancement specialist with Next Level Basketball. He is currently constructing a basketball athleticism program called ‘Speed, Agility, and Quickness’ that will be out in early 2015. Check out the preview at NLBTraining.com.


Pro Tip: The Five Habits of a Professional Basketball Player

By Jay Ramos

As an athlete in this generation, you have access to the greatest tools imaginable. From injury rehabilitation, to progressive strength training, to new diet techniques to basketball innovation. Everything is out there for you to maximize who you are as an athlete.

But do you?

Playing professional sports doesn’t mean you prepare like a professional, but I can definitely say from experience that those who have professional habits and act like professionals have a better chance of succeeding and reaching their potential.

So let’s talk about you, since you want to be a basketball player.

Whether it be making that varsity cut, earning a college scholarship or becoming a pro, are you doing everything you can to ensure that you reach these goals? And secondly, are you doing everything you can as EFFICIENTLY as you can to reach these goals.

Here is a list of five professional habits that give you the right to say you #TrainLikeAPro, from someone who has worked with multiple NBA athletes.

basketball training

The Five Habits of a Pro:

1) Strength/Conditioning Training: Without a stable foundation, you’re athletic upside is incredibly limited. You want to have an explosive first step, than why do you never work on lower body strength? Want to jump higher, right? So why is your core flabby? You’re body is everything. A solid, strong, lean body will help you feel more confident on the court, prevent injury, and help performance. Having a consistent strength routine in season, and a progressive strength routine in the offseason, is a necessary habit for a Pro.

And as far as conditioning, we just go ahead and lump these two together, because if you can’t get up and down the floor, what good is there in being skilled? Want to press people on defense? You can’t have it both ways. Conditioning has to be a priority. Want to be the type of player who finishes fourth quarters? Better be in better shape than everyone else. Having a conditioning regimen is paramount.

2) Speed, Agility, and Quickness (SAQ) Training: Once you have been through stability training, and progressed to strength training, it’s time to do some explosive work. Everything should have a basketball purpose. A good way to start is with our free workout and upcoming programs, but having a component of SAQ Training to keep your basketball athleticism sharp is a good way to build another advantage on the court.

Speed is your ability to move fast, agility is you’re ability to react and change directions in small spaces, and quickness involves your burst. All three work together and to promote an explosive basketball body.

3) Skills Training: A strong, agile body can push through skills workouts even more efficiently, and this third step is where your game can take off. It’s about efficiency. Professionals train smart and make good use of their time. This means a balance between skill development and game repetition.

Definitely pound that ball out and put up volume shots, but you have to also direct your attention to repeating game scenario’s. When I worked with NBA player Scotty Hopson last summer, we spent most of our session getting repetition on two particular pivot moves to help his isolation game.

Of course he needed to get his shots up, but don’t be the player that goes in the gym and shoots around all day. Be focused and game specific.

4) Diet: Yea sorry, you have to eat right. Or not, but don’t say you’re the hardest worker if you don’t do it all and complement your training regimen with the right diet.

That’s right, a diet is part of #NoDaysOff and #OutWork. How about that? You should have a high protein, high on complex carbohydrate diet.

If you’re really serious about you’re game, don’t eat McDonald’s with your teammates before a game. Don’t eat pizza everyday at lunch with soda. In fact, never drink soda and try to avoid pizza entirely. You want to be great? Everyone would be if giving up tasty, fatty food was easy.

There are several diet protocols to follow, and I suggest following one to keep you organized. Saying your trying to eat right and following a loose diet never works for consistency. When clients consult me on diet, it usually is one that feeds an athlete appropriately.

5) Study The Game: With all the work you have put in on the court, in the weight room, on the track and in the kitchen, now it’s time to step in the classroom. You should have two film sessions a week. One evaluating you or your teams performance, which I’m sure many coaches have anyway for the whole team, and one studying professional and college basketball games. Challenge yourself to ask questions, learn defensive zones, think about player tendencies.

Basketball IQ is as much a skill as any ability you process on the court. You can never stop learning.

In Conclusion:

We like to use the motto #TrainLikeAPro at Next Level Basketball, and from my perspective working with professional athletes, shortcuts to greatness don’t work. If you want to conduct yourself like a professional, like anything else in life, it takes a real commitment.

With the ‘Five Habits of a Professional Basketball Player’ I promise you will have a competitive advantage. Be consistent for a period of time and it will be readily apparent. Three or four aren’t enough. Do them all.

Jay Ramos is a professional basketball trainer and performance enhancement specialist with Next Level Basketball. He is currently constructing a basketball athleticism program called ‘Speed, Agility, and Quickness’ that will be out in 2014. Check out the preview at NLBTraining.com.

Pro Tips: How a strong lower body helps your ball handling

By Jay Ramos

Ball Handling seems to be everything players want to do. Amateur trainers use gimmicky youtube drills, players want to emulate street ball moves, and everyone wants to cross someone up on instagram.

Well, it’s not just the move itself that makes it happen. It’s how fast you can make it happen. The change of direction is based on setting up your defender first, than exploding into a move to place the force they put into defending you the other way.

We will have plenty of fundamental ball handling material to give you grip and strength as well as technique for your moves, but let’s build your body to perform them explosively.

You need good hamstrings to push past a defender on your moves. You need good gluteal muscles to stay low, and generate the force you need (Plus it hides the ball).

Do this series of squats to get started:

1) Air Squats: Keep your chest up and your feet pointed straight. Go as low as you can and back up in a moderate motion. Don’t rush it. When you’re ready, grab a few dumbbells and hold it to the side as you do the repetition.

2) Timed Squats: Go down for your air squat, hold for three seconds when you are low, and come up.

3) Held Squats: Get low in your defensive stance and hold the position for 30 seconds. Progress to 60 when you can.

Squat Miami Basketball

Challenge yourself to do a squat circuit like this:

1) Air Squats – One set of 15
– 20 second rest
2) Timed Squats – One set of 10
– 20 second rest
3) Held Squat
– 30 seconds

Repeat twice. Increase repetition on first set to 25, second set to 15, and last set to one minute in two weeks.

Do these daily and build stability and strength in your lower body. It’ll help that crossover be that much quicker, and as a bonus prevent injury on the court.

Jay Ramos is a professional basketball trainer with Next Level Basketball. He is currently constructing a basketball athleticism program called ‘Speed, Agility, and Quickness’ that will be out in 2014. Check out the preview at NLBTraining.com.

Tip of the Day (10-22-14) – Benefits of jump roping for basketball players

By Jay Ramos
Jump ropes are a popular tool we have been introduced to as early as elementary school. It’s a cheap, familiar tool we can use anywhere. And that’s great. You know what else? It serves a basketball specific purpose and should be a part of every basketball players took box! Jump roping has obvious cardiovascular benefits and can be used as part of a circuit training workout to condition the body, and it can also be used as a part of a warm up routine. In addition, it works to develop crucial speed, agility and quickess (SAQ) components that translate to the basketball court. Here at Next Level Basketball, we are currently putting the finishing touches on our ‘SPEED, AGILITY AND QUICKNESS’ program, where I put together the same drills and framework my NBA clients do, and you better believe the jump rope is a part of how we warm up, every…single….session. You can too.

Scotty Hopson NBA Basketball Training Miami


NBA Guard Scotty Hopson warming up with the jump rope.


The jump rope develops coordination and rhythm, first of all. It also promotes agility in the sense that it forces an action within a small amount of time. It can even be considered a beginners plyometric as it develops bounce with your feet in a plantar flexed position (Bent downwards). Although there are some intriguing workouts and combinations that can be done on the jump rope, in this post i’ll give you insight on a warm up routine I use for all my high end players before we progress into our workout and after we motion stretch. My athletes will go through a 120 rep jump rope routine (Depending on the athlete, within 45 seconds, one minute, or more), where they begin with 30 single leg hops with one leg at a time, before doing 60 on both legs. The jump rope is an affordable, simple tool that every player can put to use. I like to focus on developing athletes while I develop basketball skills, and the jump rope is one thing I won’t do without that can help you today.

Jay Ramos is a professional basketball trainer with Next Level Basketball. He is currently constructing a basketball athleticism program called ‘Speed, Agility, and Quickness’ that will be out in 2014. Check out the preview at NLBTraining.com.