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Karl Malone's Training Secrets
Karl Malone workout

Karl Malone, named one of Fifty
Greatest Players in NBA history.

All That Jazz
"NBA Star, Karl Malone,
Shares his Training Secrets"
By Erik Karl Fulkerson & Stan Granch
Photos Courtesy of NBA

4.8%... That’s the current body fat percent-age of the NBA’s twice elected MVP Karl Malone who stands 6’9" and weighs in at 256 lbs. "Karl Malone was not a Michael Jordan when he came into this league, he made himself a great player through hard work," says Utah Jazz Coach Jerry Sloan.

Indeed, as a rookie and 13th round draft pick by the Jazz he listed at 250 lbs with 10.5% body fat. Not bad, but both Karl and his coach agree, his commitment and dedication to fitness and weight training over the last 11 years has left him nothing less than awesomely chiseled and is the reason behind the now legendary improvement of his game.

In January of last year he became the third player in history to amass 30,000 career points joining Kareem A b d u l -Jabbar and Wilt Chamberlain. And he just keeps on getting better and better. Karl had a rookie free throw percentage of 48. Compare that to the consistent 79% he maintains today. Malone currently ranks 4th in the NBA in Points Per Game (25.8); 6th in Field-Goal percentage (50.9); and 11th in Rebounding (9.6). Karl has been selected for the all-star team twelve consecutive times and recently was named one of the Fifty Greatest Players in NBAhistory.

Karl Malone slam dunk Early in his NBA career he determined that success on the basketball court would be directly related to how hard he worked off it, and he became dedicated to weight training and fitness. Karl goes on to say "I was going to be good at whatever I did because I was going to put the time in, and the effort in, and I was going to make the sacrifices to be good." Malone says, "I think by lifting weights, you get power. I also think that you get focus, direction, discipline, and patience."

He likes to work in places where its hot, and no air conditioning is allowed during his workouts, he wants to sweat. "If I’m not sweating I don’t think I got a good workout," he said. Karl prefers free weights because he feels they give a better cut.

A typical day in Karl Malone’s Arkansas Training Camp
Up at 6:00 am for an hour on the Stairmaster – level 12. Then sprint work at the local high school for an hour (see below for specific exercises), then "stadiums" (running up and down the stadium stairs), then weight training (again see below). The finalé is another hour on the Stairmaster.

Before any workout Malone starts with his Good Morning Stretch. Keeping the back straight, he bends at the waist, head held up high. After stretching the hams he’s on to the quads. Following that, he works the achilles and calves with standard stretches.

He also likes to use sitting and supine butterfly stretches at the end of each work out along with yoga stretches like the Cobra. On more intense training day’s, especially those with a lot of sprinting, Karl does additional stretching exercises. In resistance training he always warms up a muscle group by doing a set with light weight. Some of the variations he incorporates into his routines are half reps and pauses at the top.

bungee, parachute workout Secret #1
Resistance Training Alternating Dumbbell Press on a flat bench - legs off the ground forcing you to keep your body balanced and giving greater isolation of chest and arm muscles. Malone also recommends a 3 n’ 1 shoulder exercise by standing and holding a plate weight. 10 to 12 reps horizontally in front followed by a set at 45 degrees, and finished by one set at 90 degrees over head. Oh yeah, no rest in between sets.

Secret #2
Balance Board Alternating dumbbell curls while standing on a balance board. Much easier said than done! Followed by tricep kick-backs with a slight forward lean. Remember, no falling!

Secret #3
Medicine Ball Malone’s medicine ball ab series is impressive. You start with a flat back, knees bent, feet on the floor. While holding the ball, you do reach through crunches, followed without stopping to a 45 degree angle set, and finish with a 90 degree overhead crunch. 10 to 12 reps for each and NO CHEATING! Hold the ball, remain in position, and do crunches from side to side. Malone calls this the "Mister Twister." Now for Butt Lifts. Place and hold the ball between your knees, ankles crossed, feet off the floor, and lift those glutes! Works lower abs too.

Secret #4
Stability Ball Picture a large plastic beach ball about three feet in diameter. Start with push-ups, first with your hands on the ball at an incline for 6 to 8 reps then switch with hands on the floor and your feet resting on the ball, and do 6 to 8 more. Now lay your back on the ball and do crunches. Do some more holding a plate weight both above and behind your head. About 15 to 20 reps each. Keep going and do dumbbell presses both with your feet apart and together, all the while trying not to roll off the ball. Do 10 to 12 reps again positioning your back against
the ball at an incline. Now do alternating presses. Sitting on top of the ball (it is theoretically possible you know) do rotating dumbbell presses. Keep feet together. Remain sitting (Ha! easier said than done) and do two sets of backfly's to work the rear delts. Do the first with feet apart and the second with feet together. Follow with tricep overhead extensions, hammer curls, and alternating curls .

Stability Ball Squats
How, you may wonder? Well, place the ball against a wall with your back. Have a dumbbell laying in front of you. First do 15 or so squats rolling the ball up and down the wall as you go. On your last one, pick up the dumbbell and do some more!

Hamstring Bridge
Feet on top of the ball, back on floor with hands at 45 degrees. Do butt lifts.

The last Stability Ball exercise is Hamstring Curls. Same position only roll the ball towards you with both feet. Now lift one leg straight up in the air and roll the ball with the other foot. Switch. 

resistance with bungees Secret #5
Parachute/Bungee Running Chutes. Using two small parachutes tied to a belt, Karl does sprints using wind resistance for power and strength enhancement.

Two bungee cords tied to a lifting belt. Resisted sprints-forwards and backwards, then resisted slides, also jumps.

bungee sprints with Karl MaloneSecret #6
Power Hiking A favorite of Karl’s to do with his Utah neighbors in the Wasatch mountains. Begin with a 5-Step warm up. High knee lift walk, 10 to 20 steps; brisk walk 2 to 5 minutes; lunge walk for 10 to 20 steps; knee lift skip for 10 to 20 steps, and last the Mailman Shuffle of 3 side steps, pivot, then again. Now alternate cross country running with jogging and brisk walking. Do 20 to 30 minutes, three times a week.

Larry Miller, owner of the Utah Jazz, said Karl’s workouts are just mind boggling. No argument here! Want to follow the Mailman in his workouts? Because Malone’s workouts are so legendary a series of fitness videos entitled Karl Malone’s Body Shop are now available. Series titles are Total Body Sculpting, Gut N’Butt, The M.V.P. Workout, and A First Class Life. In this series he shares the details of his workout routines including his Secret Training Tips above. Designed for beginner and professional athlete appeal, these tapes are excellent. Unlike many fitness tapes, they are enjoyable to watch and very easy to follow having high production quality combined with Karl’s natural charm.

Karl Malone video