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

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


Next Level SAQ: What is Speed?

By Jay Ramos

Speed. Agility. Quickness.

You’ve heard about SAQ for months from us at Next Level Basketball. It’s because as a basketball player, in this century, sport specific training is becoming more advanced, and the way we go about performance enhancement is very particular to basketball players in this case.

Performance enhancement is about overall athleticism, in this case ‘basketball athleticism.’ It’s not just jumping high. It’s not just about being quick. It’s not just agility, or dexterity. Or ‘explosion’ synonyms like ‘burst.’

It’s everything.

And being the best athlete you can be is about a program that delivers on everything as a foundation for your athletic performance in this sport.

Supplemented with proper strength training in nutrition, which we will delve into soon, Next Level Speed, Agility, and Quickness *(Our upcoming program) is a guide to basketball athleticism, so every cut you make off the ball, every sprint back in transition, every crossover dribble, every defensive slide, and every blow by wow’s the opponent with unsuspecting athleticism.

It’s important to understand why ‘Speed,’ ‘Agility’ and ‘Quickness’ are the pillars we begin with though. Let’s cover speed for now.

What is SPEED?

Speed, Basketball

You know what speed is, right? A self explanatory term you’ve heard about for years! But there’s more to it.

For the purpose of basketball, we aren’t only training you for intermediate distance speed, where say, you might need to sprint up the floor in transition. We’re training you for short distance speed. That ONE step you need to beat an opponent off the dribble. That ONE lateral shuffle you need to be in position to help on defense.

Running isn’t as simple as just running. Technique matters. Stride length matters. Stride rate matters. Starting ability is essential, and of course, endurance comes in handy.

Every one of these points is touched upon on our program. In fact, in one of our three progressions, the ‘ladder progression’ we specifically pound on stride rate, stride length and starting ability as a basis to running before we do anything else.

We don’t long sprint. Not because it won’t help your’e endurance, but we prefer to train you for what will happen in a basketball game. It will come in bursts. There will be starting. There will be stopping. And you will never have to run 100 yards on a possession straight. Know what we do? We have our athletes run with the ball after specifically doing several exercises at different stride lengths to condition you to adapt to multiple situations and move with the ball in your hands.

You may be running 50 sprints and be making endurance gains and even speed gains, but how smart is it to train that way? If you play basketball, getting speed isn’t about training like a track athlete!

In my next post I will cover ‘Agility’ and what it truly means for a basketball player, and our program, ‘Next Level Speed, Agility, and Quickness’ will be available shortly. See you inside.

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