When you watch Chris Paul zig-zag past defenders and sink 15-foot jumpers with ease, it’s hard to believe the slippery point guard has been in the NBA for nearly a decade. He’s every bit as quick as he was during his early days with the New Orleans Hornets, when his crossovers and perfectly timed alley-oops to Tyson Chandler had many observers calling him the best point guard in the league.
At 28 years old, Paul leads a Los Angeles Clippers team that seems poised to make a deep run into the Playoffs, perhaps even to the NBA Finals—and he looks as fit and as spry as ever. Two big reasons why: his dedication to the gym, and to setting an example for his teammates.
“For me to be the point guard and leader of this team, I need to make sure [my teammates] see me working hard and doing the right things,” Paul says. “It’s all about me being accountable and setting a good example.”
Long ago, Paul shied away from the weight room, fearing that gaining muscle would hamper the mechanics of his shot. But his outlook changed in the NBA. He says, “Now I know that [lifting] helps me deal with the contact every night. It’s not about getting big and bulky; it’s about preventing injuries and getting my core strong.”
Paul’s in-season workout includes two Stability Pad moves that build core and leg strength, together with upper-body-building Chin-Ups and Alternating Dumbbell Incline Presses. Want to get fit like the star point guard? Give it a try and test yourself with the exercises below.
The Chris Paul Core Workout
Stability Pad Circles
Place the pad on the ground, then stand atop it with your knees slightly bent. Use your core, hips and ankles to rotate the pad clockwise, keeping your balance as you move. Once you complete the circle, repeat the movement going counterclockwise.
Sets/Reps: 2x10 each way
Single-Leg Stability Pad Touches
Place the pad on the ground and place your left foot in the center. Lower into a quarter squat. Touch your right foot down in front of the pad, then stand up. Do this 5 times, then repeat touching to the side and back.
Sets/Reps: 2x5+5+5 each leg
Grasp a chin-up bar with an underhand grip. Come to a dead hang underneath the bar. Pull your body up until your chin is above the bar. Lower yourself with control until your arms are straight, then repeat.
Sets/Reps: 2x as many as possible
Alternating Dumbbell Incline Presses
Sit on an incline bench holding dumbbells at your shoulders. Starting on your right, drive the dumbbell toward the ceiling until your arm is straight. Lower with control, then press the left dumbbell up the same way. Repeat.
Sets/Reps: 2x10 each arm
This article originally appeared on STACK.com: Chris Paul's Core Workout