Victor Wembanyama Could Avoid NBA Disaster Thanks to a Routine of Barefoot Stretches, Hours of Sleep, and 5 Meals per Day
While Victor Wembanyama clearly possesses world-class potential, nothing is set in stone. We’ve all seen big men break down before — who can forget when Greg Oden looked like the next dominant center — and the teenager already has suffered through his fair share of injuries. It’s fair to wonder if his body will be able to hold up to the punishment of a full NBA season.
Those in the Frenchman’s camp are aware of that risk, though, and are already taking measures to lessen the risks. Things might seem unconventional from the outside, but if Wemby stays healthy, it will all be worth it in the long run.
Victor Wembanyama pays special attention to his toes to keep his body from breaking down
If you’ve ever watched a professional athlete warm up — remember Dak Prescott’s viral hip exercises? — then you’ll know that things can look a bit strange from the stands. Victor Wembanyama is yet to reach North American shores, but he’ll surely draw a pregame crowd when he arrives.
As detailed by Brian Windhorst and Jonathan Givony in an ESPN profile of the French phenom, Wembanyama has a rather detailed pregame routine. It “includes juggling tennis balls and going through other fast-twitch muscle and hand-eye coordination warmups” before moving on to a key area: Wemby’s feet.
“We have unbelievable experience working on how to avoid stress [injuries], how to avoid them with those long feet,” Bouna Ndiaye, Wembanyama’s Dallas-based agent, explained. “And we have been setting up a special program on Victor, on his feet these past three years. … We have been working very specifically on his body to make him safer, and with a different approach.”
What does that actually look like? Allow Windhorst and Givony to explain.
With shoes and socks off sitting on the floor, Alquier has him crawl on his fingertips and toes in an effort to strengthen his core. Then there is the big toe: [athletic trainer Guillaume] Alquier spends a lot of time working on the big toes. He will put bands around each of Wembanyama’s big toes and stretch them to create resistance. Wembanyama grimaces as he goes through the drill, pushing back to create tension.Brian Windhorst and Jonathan Givony
That’s not the entirety of the efforts, though. There are also some more standard techniques on the cards to keep the future star in playing shape. Not only has Wemby “been working to align his knees and learn how to land to soften the load,” but he aims for a specific amount of sleep — ideally 10 or 11 hours per day — and eats five meals “to help his muscles keep up with his bones.” Ideally, he’ll gain muscle without putting on too much weight.
All of that is designed to keep the towering teenager from putting too much stress on his body. Even though he’s relatively lean, his feet and knees are still carrying a large burden. If they break down, it’s a recipe for disaster; just ask Greg Oden or Bill Walton about that.
And, with the future that’s potentially on the cards, who can blame Wembanyama and his camp? As the first overall pick of the 2023 NBA draft, he’ll earn roughly $10 million as a rookie. While it will take some time to play out that first contract and earn a (potential) supermax extension, that outcome is clearly on the cards, assuming he’s healthy. Factor in endorsements — again, no one wants someone who spends all their time in the training room as the face of their brand — and the teenager has an incredibly wealthy future ahead of him.
Come to think of it, playing basketball, doing some stretches, eating multiple meals, and getting plenty of sleep with the end goal of making multiple millions of dollars sounds like a pretty sweet deal.