Strength & Conditioning

NBA Trainer Shares Performance Tips

Basketball players are exemplary athletes that have to work on several key physical attributes to be successful. As Director of Performance for an NBA team, Bar Malik shares the training tips he uses with his athletes to help them reach the next level.


Malik says that one of the most common mistakes young athletes make is overlooking recovery. As a former military tactical performance trainer, Malik’s philosophy on recovery was shaped by watching soldiers push themselves to places he didn’t think possible day after day.

“Recovery is the biggest piece we have to monitor so guys can repeat their success,” says Malik.

PRO TIP: In order to allow your tissues and nervous system to properly recover, high school and college athletes should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night. Remember, if you don’t recover properly then you’re doing more harm than good.


In addition to basketball practice, Malik likes to cater performance workouts to each individual athlete. For players that have extreme weeks, he will adjust the intensity of that week’s workout and set up strategies to have them push themselves without crossing the line.

PRO TIP: Quantify your workouts by writing down how you feel and what you accomplished after every workout. You should see some type of average. Once you go over that average, it’s a highlight and a marker for success.


Proper nutrition can seriously elevate your game by improving your body and mind. Before and after training sessions and games, it is so important to fuel properly.

One of Malik’s secrets to help athletes maintain steady, long-lasting energy levels is UCAN.

“You don’t want your glucose levels to drop and UCAN keeps your blood sugar stable,” says Malik. “Guys used to be=crashing and UCAN has been an awesome energy source for both pre-training and recovery.”

PRO TIP: Try limiting sugar before games and practices to avoid energy swings. Fuel with UCAN Performance Energy about 30-45 minutes before training/competition for sustained energy that lasts up to 2 hours and drink UCAN Performance Energy + Protein immediately afterward for healthy, efficient recovery.



Mubarak “Bar” Malik is in his fifth season with the Knicks and in his second year as Director of Performance. He oversees all of the strength & conditioning for the team and is heavily involved with the on-court player development and sports science. Prior to joining Knicks, he worked with MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates for six years as a strength & conditioning coach. Malik is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and Russian Kettlebell Certified.