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The New York Knicks' warm-up

Pre-game for your next workout with this surprising plan.

Just like runners, boxers, and other athletes, much of the New York Knicks' training takes place off the courts—and in the gym. Before they tackle this strength training plan, designed by Mubarak “Bar” Malik, director of performance for the New York Knicks, they do this innovative warm-up. “Its focus is priming the body to move by emphasizing mobility and stability of the core,” says Malik. In short, it’s a great pre-game for pretty much any workout or sport you have on deck.

You may find it interesting that this routine utilizes a kettlebell, rather than bodyweight. “It's important to use a weighted a kettlebell during the warm-up because the grip and squeezing of the bell engages the nervous system to stabilize itself under resistance, leading to increased total-body awareness,” says Malik. Still, don’t use the same bell you plan to use in the strength routine. “The weight should be lighter during the warm-up, between 10 to 20 pounds,” Malik says.

Before diving in, do a little pre-warm-up with yourfoam roller (to increase blood flow and tissue suppleness) and dynamic stretching to actively elongate muscles, per Malik. Then, perform two sets of six to eight reps of each of the following moves.


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  • Half-Kneeling Windmill

    Half-Kneeling Windmill

    Assume a lunge position with your left leg back and a kettlebell in your right hand. Swivel the shin of the left leg in 90 degrees so it's perpendicular to the heel of the standing leg. Raise right arm overhead in an elbow-locked, shoulder-packed position. The bicep of the raised arm should be even with (not touching) your ear. Now, hinge back in the hip of the right leg and drop your left arm to the floor 10 to 12 inches in front of the kneeling knee. You should be looking up at the raised arm. Return to start and repeat on the other side. 


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  • Side-Lying Arm Bar

    Side-Lying Arm Bar

    Floor press a light kettlebell with your right hand and stretch your left arm on the ground by your head. Use left arm and leg as the axis of rotation and leave the right arm with the kettlebell straight and vertical. Straighten out your right leg and lay it on top of the left. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart and toes pointed. Contract your right hip to bring it and right side of chest towards the ground, stretching it away from the kettlebell. Return to start and repeat on the other side.  


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  • Side-Lying Leg Raise

    Side-Lying Leg Raise

    Floor press a light kettlebell with your right hand and stretch your left arm on the ground by your head. Using left arm and leg as the axis of rotation, leave the right arm with the kettlebell straight and vertical. Keep eyes on kettlebell, contract abs and glutes, and lift legs off the ground for 1-2 seconds. Repeat on the other side. 



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  • Single-Leg Glute Bridge

    Single-Leg Glute Bridge

    Lay on the floor with feet flat and knees bent, with the kettlebell in the hand of leg that will stay on the ground. Raise your other leg off the ground, pulling the knee towards the chest. This is the starting position. Driving through the heel, with toes off the ground, and extend your hips off the ground as far as possible. Pause, then return to starting position. Repeat on the other side. 


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  • Thoracic Spine Windmill

    Thoracic Spine Windmill

    Lay on floor with feet flat and knees bent with the kettlebell in your right hand. Keeping shoulders square on the ground, bring left leg across midline at 90 degrees and press into a foam roller to lock in lumbar spine. Bring left arm up to meet the kettlebell. Actively pressing into the foam roller with the left leg, lower your left arm down away from the kettlebell. Rotate palm and head as you lower arm. Repeat on the other side. 


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