So you want to be like Kobe? Kobe has scored over 40+ points against every team he has played. He’s become a basketball legend because he outworks everyone, both on the court and off it.
But they don’t know he was there probably at 1 p.m. getting up shots.
To put into perspective how much work he puts in, this is just ONE part of the infamous 666 workout that Kobe does- during the OFF season. That’s right- when players are holidaying in Ibiza, Kobe is putting in 6 hours of work, for 6 days a week, over 6 months. He breaks down each 6 hour workout into 2 hours of track running, 2 hours of shooting and skill conditioning, and 2 hours of conditioning and weightlifting in the gym. Today, we show you the exercises that make up the running and weightlifting parts of Kobe’s 666 Workout.
For all but the most elite of athletes, following Kobe’s entire workout will lead to overtraining and injuries, especially without proper recovery. Whilst it might not be possible to train for 6 hours a day, you can easily form an hour’s workout using these exercises as a template. As we’ve seen with Kobe, you will only get out what you put into it.
4-7 intense 30-second bouts improve endurance as much or more than endurance training
Kobe often does HIIT (High-intensive-interval-training), which involves sprinting for 100 yards and then 200-400 yards of walking or jogging. Studies have shown that short intense bouts of exercise develop cardiovascular and anaerobic fitness better than endurance work, as well reduce recovery time between activities. This is very applicable as basketball is about changing direction, quick bursts, and plyometric activities, and not about maintaining a steady speed. Distance training may actually make your players slower compared to the quick activities of basketball.
Here’s a great sample HIIT session:
- 4x 400m sprints with 1-2 minutes of jogging- try and beat your time with each rep. Each 400 must be run at maximum effort otherwise there is no point in doing the workout.
- 10x 15m hard sprints with 20-40 seconds of jogging- this exercise develops explosiveness, so that you’ll be able to burst down the court quicker on fast breaks
- Finally, 2x 200m sprints with 2 minutes rest- these 2 reps test how much you really want it. Each 200 should be faster than half of your fastest 400 rep.
One last key principle: be sure to incrementally increase the difficulty of your workout as you get fitter. The last thing you want is for your body to adapt fully to the workout. Some ways to make a workout like this harder would be to increase the number of reps, decrease the recovery time, or make one of the exercises involve running up a slope.
The Weightlifting Workout
Kobe’s weightlifting workout mixes in traditional power and strength lifts with more active, explosive drills. The three routines below are a complete set of exercises that will comprehensively develop upper body, core and leg strength.
Although Kobe would do all 3 workouts twice a week, we’d say that for the beginner, doing each workout once with a day’s rest would be the better option. Take a look through each exercise and click on it for a video and tips on how to do it with perfect form. If you’re unfamiliar with the drill, we 100% recommend that you see how it’s done first, to avoid injury and maximize gains.
Monday and Thursday (Day 1 and Day 4)- Chest and Back
Tuesday and Friday (Day 2 and Day 5) Biceps, Triceps and Hip Flexors
2-4 sets of Bicep curls of 8-12 reps
3-4 sets of Lateral dumbbell raises of 8-12 reps
Wednesday and Saturday (Day 3 and Day 6)- Legs
3-4 sets of Ab Crunches of 8-12 reps
3-4 sets of Calf raises of 10-12 reps
Some Final Kobe Bryant Workout Tips
- Kobe makes sure to take one day off a week from his hectic workout to give his body rest. If you’re unfamiliar with lifting, even if you consider yourself strong, take a day’s rest between workouts when you start off. Resting is a key module for an effectual weight lifting practice
- Muscles need to be recovered and relaxed to avoid injuries. Icing, massaging, and foam rolling can help- but the best recovery is always a rest from activity.
- When designing your own workouts, be sure to work on a variety of muscle groups to avoid overstressing one during the course of the session. In particular, muscles are often complementary, i.e they act to balance each other, such as the biceps and triceps, the chest and lats, or the abs and lower back. Make sure to work complementary muscle groups or you risk developing an imbalanced body and possible injury.
Kobe was obsessed. During the season, he worked extremely hard. But the off-season? An animal. – Horace Grant
As Horace Grant, former team mate of Kobe said in an interview: During the season, work extremely hard. In the off season? Become an animal. Use this offseason to build your body and skills. Get this program and exercises inside the practice planner app now.
Appendix of Exercises
Feel free to favourite this page for your future reference!
- Hold the bar with a wide grip, but not so wide as to redirect the force to the shoulders
- Keep your back and shoulders flat against the bench, which prevents injury to the lower back and also allows the chest to be the main focus of the exercise
- Do not use momentum to pull yourself up. Keep the legs loose and hanging down.
- After reaching the top, squeeze and contract the back muscles. Then, slowly let yourself down with control to reap the full benefits of the eccentric (muscle elongating) phase of the exercise.
- To avoid involving the shoulders in the incline press, make sure to press them slightly downwards against the bench
- Remember to push the weights directly up towards the ceiling, not forwards
- Do not stick the chest out or lean back when pressing up, try to relax the chest muscles during this exercise- this is a SHOULDER exercise, not a chest one
- Don’t lock the elbow joints at the top of this exercise or you risk injuries to that joint, which is vital for a smooth shooting motion
- Whilst wide grip pull ups focus on widening the muscles of the upper back and lats, chin ups work on the lower lats and the serratus muscles around the pecs. Make sure your grip is right.
- Focus on contracting the back muscles so as to not over strain the biceps.
- Keep your back straight, stomach muscles tightened, and head in line, looking slightly forward throughout the exercise- even when pushing up off the ground.
- Push ups with the elbows close to the body mainly target the tricep muscles- keep your hands a little wider than shoulder width to work the chest muscles.
- Bend your legs at the knees and hook your feet one over the other. This keeps the back arched forward and involve the chest muscles
- As you reach the top, don’t lock the elbow joints, but rather squeeze hard with your chest for 1 count.
Hanging Leg Raises
- Your legs should start hanging straight down. Pull them up to 90 degrees and hold them there for 1 count.
- Avoid using weights in the exercise until you are completely comfortable with it, or else you risk severe back injuries.
Feet Elevated Bench Dips
- If you are aligned correctly at the start, you should be in an L, with your legs parallel to the ground
- Lower yourself to the ground until the upper arms and forearms create a 90 degree angle
Barbell High Hang Power Shrug
- Use the extension through the ankles, knees and, hips as you straighten your body to help lift the weight
- Keep the arms straight throughout the exercise
- Keep your back completely straight whilst bending forward. Make sure to keep the eyes looking ahead and level, as if you look at the ground you risk bending your spine and causing injury.
- As you straighten your body to lift the weight, generate the power from the hip flexors and glutes.
- Focus all your work on the muscles of the hamstring as you lift- do not use any momentum.
- The objective is to simply bend at the waist, keep the knees locked
- As you squat down it is important that your knees never go forward beyond your toes, as this can damage your knees. Picture (and practice) sitting back in a chair to get proper form.
- Research has shown that back injuries are often caused by lacking lower back endurance. If squatting with weights hurts your back, we suggest you perform exercises such as lunges, box squats, and ab crunches with a medicine ball, to strengthen your lower back first.
- Never slouch forward because you risk getting injured. Always feel that your heels are on the ground as you squat
- Pause at the top of each squat to ensure you aren’t using momentum to cheat
Single Leg Box Squats
- If you’re finding this exercise difficult, start by lowering yourself with one leg and using both to stand up. Then, progress to squatting with one leg but pausing on the bench.
- Avoid bouncing off the box. If you can’t help it, try doing the exercise without it once you’ve mastered the form.
Glute-Ham Raise Hip Extensions
- Have a spotter, especially if you’re new at the exercise to help you get into the upright position after lowering your body.
- Flex at the knees to activate the glutes and hamstrings to raise your body back up. Keep it straight the entire time.
- There are two distinct pulls in the power clean- the first is like a deadlift but emphasizing the elbows be turned out, to set up the second clean. The second involves using the lower body, rather than the arms, to lift the bar upwards
- In the catch portion, make sure to bend your knees in a half or quarter squat to absorb the force.
- This is a rather advanced weightlifting exercise so if you’re a beginner, get guidance.
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