Women's hoops: The defense never rests (Part 3)

For Part Three of VandyMania's inside look at women's basketball in the off-season, Whitney D dragged herself out of bed early on a Friday morning in June to watch and photograph a 6 a.m. workout. Afterwards, junior forward Ashley Earley talked about the workout and the photos.

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Ashley Earley: We go over to the stadium pretty much every Friday. We do different things over there. "Stadiums" themselves are where we run up the bleachers. We run ALL the way up. We do those more often than any other workout.

Today we did "stadium laps." You start off at the bottom of the stairs in the stadium, and you run all the way up the stairs. Then you turn around and you run all the way down. Then you run out onto the football field and take a lap around the football field. And you come back to the stairs and run all the way up start over. We did it six times.

At the end, I had a little burst of energy. I was just trying to push out, and I was trying to catch the lacrosse player and see if I could pass her because she had been in front the whole time. But I didn't catch her. I started too late. If I had a full lap, I probably could have caught her. Then in the last half lap, we get to walk. That definitely feels good.

Sometimes we've done a snaking stadium. A "snaking stadium" is when you run up the stairs, run across, then you run down. Then you run back up, run across, and run down -- all the way around. ALL the way around. You have to get in a zone and just not think about running. It's pretty hard, but it's actually one of the easier ones.

Personally, I think the one where you run straight up the bleachers is the hardest because your muscles in your legs just fatigue, because when you start getting towards the top, it's like you're jumping. Your get pretty tired doing those. The stairs are closer together, so the jump isn't so high. I always prefer to run the stairs than to jump on the bleachers.

(After the stadium run, it's back to the weightroom in McGugin for lifting. Here's a sample of some of the exercises during the hour-long session.)

This is a bench press. (Below.) We always have a spotter. Especially after doing a workout like that, your body can just give out. That could be a terrible accident.

I never really lifted weights before I came here, and that's 120 pounds. I started at maybe 85. That was the most I could do. After the first week, I was so sore. I was so sore I didn't even know my body could get that sore. Everywhere. Places I didn't even know I had muscles. Everything.

These are dips. Those are pretty painful, too. You start with your arms straight. And then you bend your arms to like 90 degrees, and then you straighten them again. Believe it or not, it hurts.

These are back extensions. You start with your head down at 90 degrees, and then you straighten. That was pretty hard, too. I was sore after doing that. That's a good one in the photo -- I'm straight.

These are front pull-downs. They work your back muscles.

Sometimes you use the mirrors to make sure you're doing an exercise correctly. Here, you're trying to keep your elbows to your side, and you're trying really hard not to use your back muscles. You're really trying to just isolate your biceps.

These are dumbbell rows.

These are triceps push-downs. It's the same machine that you use for the front pull-downs. You can change the bar to a smaller one, but we just left the bigger one on.

These are wrist curls or wrist rolls. They're good for your forearms and your wrists.

Lori's awesome. She's always in such a good mood. You come in tired, and she's always so energetic. And she kind of makes you a little bit mad sometimes, which makes you work a little bit harder -- like if you're not lifting as much weight as she knows that you can.

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Next: A camper's eye view of basketball camp in Memorial Gym.

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

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