September-October 2015 | ANDRE COLLINS: THE WORKOUT

TRAINING DAY: Andre Collins trains at Mark Miller Fitness in Salisbury during the off-season.
ANDRE COLLINS: THE WORKOUT KEEPING YOUR EDGE: “The thing is, if you’re not in the gym doing this, you’re gonna get embarrassed,” says professional basketball player Andre Collins.MASS APPEAL: Squats, dead lifts and power cleans are part of a complex equation designed to increase Andre's muscle mass.DEGREES OF SEPARATION: Miller says intensity and no time between intervals are what separate a professional athlete like Andre from the typical weekend warrior.ANDRE COLLINS: THE WORKOUT TURNING BACK THE CLOCK: Miller says Andre is in better shape at age 33 than he was at 23.ANDRE COLLINS: THE WORKOUT



Written By: Jonathan Westman | Photographer: GRANT L. GURSKY

At 33, Andre Collins still feels like his body has at least four more years of professional basketball before considering retirement. After losing two seasons to a broken hand and torn hamstring, Collins teamed with Mark Miller of Mark Miller Fitness on a strength-and-endurance regimen during his off-seasons on the Eastern Shore. The result is that Collins is now better and stronger than ever — winning the Italian league’s Defensive Player of the Year award and its Sixth Man of the Year award in back-to-back seasons. We met up with Collins and Miller for some training sessions recently and realized almost immediately that we were out of their league.

What separates a world-class athlete from a weekend warrior at the gym? 
“The main difference is the intensity,” said Miller, who trains Collins each summer at his Salisbury gym. “It’s all about how hard you can push the overall pace of a workout. With Andre, the workout is intense, and there are no rest intervals.” When Collins returns from Europe each May, Miller starts their three-month program with strength training. 

“The main elements in early summer are for us to focus on dynamic-effort exercises and training with heavier weights,” Mark said. Squats, dead lifts, power cleans, flipping tractor tires and prowler sprints are all parts of a complex equation designed to increase muscle mass — with a pace that sees Collins achieve heart rates of 130-140 beats per minute. When Andre dons his altimeter training mask, which reduces the amount of oxygen he receives — to simulate that of high-altitude levels — his heart rate escalates to 170-190 beats per minute.   

“Since I came in with Mark, I have gotten so much stronger,” Andre said. “Lots of teams used to try and post me up, and it’s not so easy to do that anymore, because I’m stronger. After my first season working with Mark, I felt that was the best year I had in my professional career.” 

Each August, the training routines, and goals, transition to endurance-based exercises designed to prepare Collins’ legs for the grueling physicality of the season ahead.

“The thing is, if you’re not in the gym doing this, you’re gonna get embarrassed,” Andre said. “In fact, you’re probably not gonna make it past the preseason. You’re probably gonna get cut. I’d say probably about 70% of what goes into being successful is what people don’t see. Like 30%, that’s the fun part: Going out and doin’ what you’re practicing, using your God-given talent, but at some point you have to make sure that you’re working on your talent in order to perfect it. Mark has played a tremendous role in getting me back to where I needed to be, and I haven’t had any injuries since.”

“Andre used to just be a basketball player,” Miller said. “Now, he’s an athlete, and he takes great pride in that. He’s in better shape at 33 than he was at 23. Fitness has become part of his life and his performance on the court speaks for itself.” 



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