Kobe Bryant has come a long way since his 1996 rookie season when he first stepped on the court as a skinny 17 year old. The drastic improvement in his game from the late 1990s is undoubtedly due to natural maturation and an intense drive that fuels his hard work. There is a workout floating around the internet that is supposedly what Kobe put himself through one off-season. It is entitled the 666 workout, consisting of six hours of training, six days a week, for six months out of the year. Obviously it can be difficult to check whether or not this is an actual workout done by Kobe Bryant or something someone else made up. Either way it is a decidedly brutal schedule for anyone.
When you see number 24 on the Lakers play the game it is clear that you are witnessing one of the best basketball players of his generation. Regardless of how you feel about the man personally you have to respect his work ethic. So how do you train like Kobe Bryant? If you look at the 666 workout it is supposed to consist of two hours of running, two hours of basketball, one hour of another cardio, and an hour of weights each of the six days. To me this workout seems like overkill in some areas such as the two hours of running. That is a lot of running to be doing especially since some of that time would have to be dedicated to sprinting and all of that endurance work isn’t necessary if you are also playing basketball.
Let’s design a workout that maintains the necessity of hard work but reduces the excess and fleshes out some more detail. As an aside if you’re a Kobe Bryant or basketball fan be sure to check out my article (Kobe Vs. Jordan Using Statistics To Determine the Best)
I will keep the two hours of basketball but change it to two hours of skills work in the morning. During this time period you should be perfecting your ball handling skills and shooting technique. Start out with 20 minutes of dribbling drills with both hands to get yourself warmed up and give you better handles.
Follow that with 10 minutes of defensive slides. For example start on one side of the paint and slide in a defensive position to the other side. Sprint towards the free throw line then slide towards the original side. The next step is to back pedal to the starting position.
That leaves you with a 90 minute shoot around. This time should not be wasted on random shots around the court. Have a plan of what you need to do work on and stick to it. Start inside shooting around the paint and work your way out to the three point line. If need be make a game out of it and don’t let yourself leave until you hit a certain amount of shots or from a definite spot on the court.
Since this is a Kobe Bryant based article study his moves (yes I know Jordan fans he admits he stole them from the greats) and try to execute them yourself. Watch the footwork, it is perhaps the most important aspect of the game.
Like I mentioned earlier Kobe has bulked up quite a bit since his first years in the league and even since his first three titles with the Lakers. The muscle you build in the weight room cannot just be aesthetic it is a necessity to be functional for strength and explosiveness while playing basketball.
If we are going to be training six days a week we must split the body up into sections that we can exercise twice a week and still allow them to get plenty of rest.
First up is the chest and back day of exercises:
(3 to 4 sets 8-12 reps each exercise)
Incline Bench Press
Bent over rows
Next day in the cycle should be legs:
Calf raises on the leg press machine
Jump squats (don’t use more than 25-30 lb dumbbells)
Third day consists of arms and shoulders:
Bent over lateral raises
Abdominals training three days a week:
Crunches on exercise ball
Cable or machine crunches
Try to do these in a cycle with 15-20 reps one exercise after the other.
Conditioning is a necessity when you’re a basketball player and make no mistake about it Kobe keeps himself in top shape during the off season. When I’m doing a training schedule like this that includes pick up games of basketball I like to give my joints some rest once or twice a week by swimming laps in the pool.
With the six days a week schedule the split would look something like this:
Day 1-Sprinting (coupled with agility drills and a few plyometric exercises)
Day 2- Pool Day (laps for speed and endurance)
Day 3- Endurance running
For the other three days I would try to get my cardio in simply by playing some full court games at least 2 of those days and follow on the third with a pool day or sprinting. Don’t try to do too much and burn yourself out.
For sprinting days, warm up with some light jogging and stretching. Do full court sprints, suicides, or dribbling full court at top speed and doing lay ups at each end.
On endurance days work your way up to 45 minutes and try to beat your own record for distance in that amount of time.
Always remember to take time off from your workouts and not over do it. A week worth of rest can allow your body to recuperate and let it get past any performance plateaus.
If you want game like Kobe Bryant you’re going to have to do more than just play a game of basketball a few times a week. To reach the elite level of basketball fitness that is only possessed by a few including the Los Angeles Lakers star takes hours, days, and ultimately months and years of training. By no means am I saying that you or I will ever be a great NBA player nor am I proclaiming this program to be perfect it is just an example of the amount of work that is necessary if you want to go onto the next level. Now go out there and start your own Kobe Bryant workout.