Here’s Why You Should Try LeBron James’ Crazy ‘Core and Mind’ Stability Workout

LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers attempts a layup past LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the San Antonio Spurs during the first half at Staples Center on October 22, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

While LeBron James is now a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, he spent his second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers showing why he is considered one of the best athletes in the world. James has shared many of his workouts on social media, and this “core and mind” stability workout is one he’s used throughout his career. This is a look back at one of his workout posts from the end of the 2017 season. 

Shortly after his seventh straight NBA Finals appearance, James was back in the gym. After the Cleveland Cavaliers fell 4–1 to the Golden State Warriors, the Cavs superstar posted a video of himself on Instagram performing an insane “core and mind” stability workout with a physio ball and a Body Blade:

As the NBA season approaches, the self-proclaimed “King” decided to up the intensity of this workout. Instead of using the blade, LeBron tried his luck with balancing not one, not two, not three, but FOUR kettlebells.

And while there’s no doubt that this move is extremely tough, we were curious what balancing on a physio ball while waving around a weird metal implement (or balancing kettlebells) would do for us mere mortals. So we asked trainer Chris Powell, C.S.C.S., creator of the new Transform app and trainer on ABC’s Extreme Weight Loss, what King James is getting at here.

“This move is designed to focus on proprioception—spacial awareness and deep core stabilization,” Powell says. “The center of movement originates in the core, then extends outward to the ‘sling systems’ (arms and legs) to run, jump, and shoot. LeBron is doing this exercise because it is training his core to react to an unstable environment and fire rapidly—so when he puts himself on the court, he can react quickly to any unstable environment and deliver a peak performance.”

As difficult as this may look, Powell says you can also try this move at home—you don’t even need a Body Blade. First, Powell says, create instability by standing on a balance board, balance disc, or even just one foot. Then, you’ll want to “deliver a dynamic upper-body stimulus.” There are a few ways to do this:

  • Do arm circles
  • Swing your body side-to-side
  • Pass a kettlebell clockwise around your body, and then pass it counter-clockwise around your body
  • Grasp a single dumbbell with both hands, and extend it forward, to the right, and to the left

For example, Powell says, “a great way to do this at home would be to stand on one leg and perform arm circles or dumbbell ‘clocks’—extending a dumbbell in different directions like you are placing the dumbbell on different numbers on the face of a clock.”

We’re not saying it’ll turn you into a superstar athlete overnight—but it’ll go a long way toward improving your core strength and reaction time.

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