Earlier in the summer we tweeted a photo of Mike Conley looking like he came straight out the The Jersey Shore, standing alongside former Buckeye Evan Turner.
It was almost comical how "jacked" Conley looked, with his biceps -- and neck -- getting the Popeye treatment. There was no context to the gain in muscle mass, aside from it being a Instagram photo from Turner's account, but now we have a bit of a back story into how and why Conley decided to pump up.
From a fantastic story by Ron Tillery, Conley spoke about his desire to add muscle mass in order to become a bigger force on the defensive side of the ball.
"It's been a huge concern of mine," Conley said. "Regardless of what critics say, I feel that way about myself. I've got to be able to guard these guys. I've got to be able to defend them in crunch time. Being stronger in your legs and upper body will help. I'm already a good defensive player. I've just got to be able to hold my weight against the bigger guards."
In all, Conley added about 13 pounds of muscle, and according to Tillery he's up to 186 pounds at a ridiculous 4.5 percent body fat. That is insane.
The training regimen Conley used was put in place by team strength and condition coach Kelly Lambert. The routine consisted of bench press, chinups, squats and, duh, curls.
A snapshot of the program called for Conley to bench press 85 pounds eight times, perform three sets of 10 chinups, squat with 155 pounds 10 times and curl 25 pounds in four sets of 25.
The other thing Lambert did was get him to eat a more substantial breakfast, something which typically goes lost on people trying to add muscle mass -- or so I'm told. In all, there's a whole new confidence level from Conley, as well as his coach and teammates, that he can handle his own when he's asked to go up against the likes of Russell Westbrook and Derrick Rose. Something I highly endorse, since the concern with Conley's defense has been on-the-ball, not off it. We know he can cheat, pick steals and disrupt the lane, but we've watched as guys like Westbrook have taken advantage of the mismatch in size. Now, we're hoping to see that this added weight will be somewhat of an equalizer.
Let's just hope the next step in the program doesn't call for him to get a blowout.