Women's hoops: The defense never rests (Part 2)

In Part Two of VandyMania's inside look at women's basketball in the off-season, Whitney D shadowed senior guard Hillary Hager as she lifted on a Thursday afternoon in late June. Afterwards, Hillary talked about the photos. Here's what she said.

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Hillary Hager: We lift Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. We try to meet with the team on Tuesday and Friday and lift as a team. Summer school's kind of hard because our schedules are all over the place -- like Jenni's got an internship where she's working from 8 to 4, and I work in a lab, and other people have class from 2 to 5. So it's really hard to get us all together, especially in June. But I think in July, it'll be a lot better.

When we first come, we bike or we jump rope, or we can go up to the track up abovem to getting warm. We don't just jump into lifting.

Lori has our programs all written out for us. We have Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday. Mondays and Thursdays are for explosiveness and legs. We each have our own sheet. It's the same workout, but it has our own weights, our own individual weights, and all our sets there, and we just mark them our sets when we do them .

This is plyometrics. There are four different workouts we do. This is workout number 4. There are other kinds of plyometrics workouts where you do somewhat different things, but they're all along the same lines, like standing long jump, or box jump, where you jump up onto the box at a lot bigger height.

These are platforms. What we did today are called push jerks. We either do push jerks, power cleans or hand cleans. We don't do very many of them, like sets of five, three, three. They're mainly to get explosiveness. Lori has the whole grand scheme worked out for when we do it, so we rotate through them all.

From the time we come in as freshmen, she's teaching you how to do these things, how they should be done, so when she says do something, we know what to do. Over time the weights go up because we're hopefully getting stronger, a lot stronger. I started with the green, which is like 89 pounds, and now I'm up to 126, I think was my last set, so that's like 30 pounds. I think it's significant.

These are heel raises. Those just work your calf muscles out. We'll have two exercises, and we'll just rotate them, first a set of one, then a set of the other, then back to the first. You wouldn't do a push jerk set then a squat set because that's working the same muscles, but you could can do sets that work different muscles.

Lori is a lot of fun. She makes us work hard, obviously, but she keeps the atmosphere very light, and it's nice. She jokes around with us a lot about how much we're lifting or whatever. Here, she was telling me to go down a little deeper. That's what the mirrors are for -- with the mirrors you can really see what you're doing, how deep you're going.

These are step-ups. Those burn. They're pretty hard, actually. We did three sets of ten. This is the last set, and these are the big plates. Lori was smiling because she saying, "You feel those five pounds, don't you?" because I went up five pounds. I was like, "Yeah, it's amazing how much difference five pounds can make."

And then there are shoulder raises . . . .and abs . . . .

. . . and here we are, just sitting there, hanging out. If you stay there long enough, and if you've just gotten done doing something, it burns. It's so much easier if you have somebody there to talk to.

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Next: Junior forward Ashley Earley talks about a Friday team workout featuring a stadium run and lifting for upper body and general strength.

Photos by Whitney D. for VandyMania. Click on thumbnails for larger images.

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