Kobe Bryant’s Recovery Regimen

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Growing up in Southern California, the Lakers were my favorite basketball team.  I didn’t really start watching until after the ‘Magic and Kareem’ years, when the Lakers weren’t really contending.  Then Kobe joined the team and Shaq joined the team and Phil Jackson started coaching, and things became exciting.

Whenever I played pickup hoops with my friends I imagined I was Kobe and tried to do his acrobatic shots.  Of course I couldn’t come anywhere close to dunking and would get ludicrously winded running from one side of the court to the other… but that didn’t stop my imagination.

Kobe was one of my favorite players.

This was before the allegations in Colorado, before I realized how not-fun it would be to have him as a teammate, and before I realized I had more in common with the third string point guard on the bench than I did with Kobe.

Now Kobe is 37 years old and is playing through his final season before heading off to retirement.  He’s had a series of season ending injuries in the past few years.  First off there was the Achilles tear in 2012-2013, then the knee fracture in 2013-2014, followed by a torn rotator cuff in 2014-2015.

Here’s a graphic showing all of his injuries through 2014:

 

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Image found here

 

ESPN published an article this month, The Daily Reanimation of Kobe Bryant, and another article this past December, Kobe Bryant’s ‘all-day process, detailing all of the things Kobe has been doing to keep his worn down body in shape enough to play basketball at an elite level.

His body is so broken down after 20 seasons in the NBA that he can barely walk to his car after a game:

“I can barely stand up. My feet and legs are killing me.” He later added, “I’m not looking forward to the walk to the car.”

Now, as an adult in my mid 30s, I’m more fascinated by his recovery methods than his basketball prowess.  I appreciated the peek inside the regimen of a multimillionaire super star athlete and what he uses to optimize performance, enhance recovery, and speed healing.

I couldn’t help but wonder that maybe if I won the lottery and chose to spend all my time blogging and training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I could employ the same regimen to delay the ravages of Father Time on my own aging body, worn down by years of hardcore elite level desk-jockeying and computer work.

While he’s a far cry from his glory years, the fact that he can still keep it together is a testament to every thing he and his recovery team are doing. His training staff includes those employed by the Lakers and a team he employs on his own because his body requires THAT much attention, and the Lakers trainers have 14 other players to take care of.

Along with the Lakers staff, his personal team includes:

  • Neuromuscular Therapist
  • Two Chiropractors
  • Active Release Therapist (good to see he buys into this too)
  • Several “stretch professionals”
  • Strength and conditioning trainer

On a typical game day he’ll meet with a trainer to deal with whatever is bothering him that day.  Then he’ll arrive at the stadium and warm up with some shooting, hit the weight room, and maybe ice down.  Next, he’ll work with a trainer to improve his range of motion, followed by a session with a massage therapist, and top it all off with a 5 minute session with his strength and conditioning coach to “help ‘activate’ his lower body.”

After a game he’ll ice his joints and have a couple more sessions with his training team.

Kobe’s pre-game drink is bone broth to rebuild “his battered joint surfaces.”

His post game recovery drink is a special chocolate milk formulation:

…a low-sugar blend of organic cocoa and whole milk from grass-fed cows that’s specially prepared by a Whole Foods based in whichever NBA city the team is in.

I wonder if I could walk into the nearest Whole Foods and ask for their special Kobe Bryant Chocolate Milk.  In fact, how hard could it be to make this myself?  They give all three components already: grass-fed whole milk, cocoa powder, and low-sugar.

He also uses something called Fusionetics which sounds like a high tech combination of the Functional Movement Screen, Active Release Technique, and physical therapy:

If there’s time before a game or after, Bryant’s Fusionetics therapist, Michael Oviedo, who blends preventative therapy with cutting-edge technology, completes a 10-point range-of-motion assessment, from big toe to shoulder.

Using something called a goniometer, Oviedo measures whether Bryant’s ankles bend at least 20 degrees, the optimal target; if they don’t, Oviedo massages the soft tissue around the guard’s ankles and into his calves, relaxing the muscles until he can move as desired.

As Oviedo takes measurements, he punches his findings into the Fusionetics app on his iPad, which spits back suggestions on treatment.

On his off days:

Bryant never practices anymore. In fact, he completed his last full practice months ago, not long after the season began. He now spends his off-days in “treatment,” getting massages, or stretching, or plunging into tubs of ice-cold water, or lifting free weights, or pushing resistance bands or running on a treadmill to keep his legs limber.

AND GADGETS!  I love reading about gadgets because it means there might be a new toy I can buy!  How sad is that?  Now that I’m a grown ass man, the stuff that gets me excited are health related gadgets and supplements.

Cars?  Nah.  Videogames?  Who has the time?  Supplements and recovery gadgets?  TAKE MY MONEY!!!

The articles mention two specific gadgets that sent me immediately to Amazon.com to see if they’re available for consumer purchase:

Hyperice Vyper: A special vibrating foam roller that’s actually available on Amazon for $199.

Here’s a video of it in action:

 

Hyperice Raptor: A jackhammer like tool for myofascial release, which while not available on Amazon, can be found directly on the Hyperice website for the low low price of $3499!!

Here’s the promotional video:

 

And… just because I was curious, I decided to poke around the Hyperice website and found another interesting toy:

Hyperice Hypersphere: A vibrating therapy ball…. which to me sort of looks like a lacross ball on with super powers.  While this isn’t mentioned in any of the Kobe Bryant articles, I suspect that it HAS to be something that he uses, since he’s already utilizing the other two products.  And LOOK, it’s available on Amazon for $149.

It turns out I already do a lot of similar stuff… just to a far lesser degree.

I visit a chiropractor who specializes in ART once a month for maintenance or if something specific arises.  He also assesses the range of motion of various joints and prescribes certain therapies when I get evaluated which is essentially the low tech pared down version of Fusionetics.

The BJJ Cavewife and I have memberships to Massage Envy, so we get a monthly massage.  We drink bone broth regularly.  I have a set of foam rollers and lacross balls that I use (although none of them vibrate).

I take cold showers after days of hard training… although I haven’t been doing this as much because it’s winter on the East Coast and being a kid from Southern California, I think things are cold enough thank you very much (Jocko Willink would probably slap me in the face for being such a wuss).

The only thing I seem to be missing is the special chocolate milk.  I just checked the fridge and pantry and it looks like we have a carton of grass-fed whole milk, a bag of organic cocoa powder, and oh yes… some sugar.  Hmmm looks like I’ll be having some of that special chocolate milk after my next training session.

*Image found here

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