David Mariani’s methods to lower injury frequency


Growing up in Kenosha, Wisconsin, David Mariani was a witness at a young age to the stellar athlete that was Michael Jordan. Later in life, David observed another Chicago Bull, Derrick Rose, have his career derailed by injuries. Years later, Mariani’s education and experience would allow him a deeper level of understanding behind Rose’s injuries and the way they could have been prevented.

David Mariani played Division-II basketball at Cedarville University for throughout his first two years in college before transferring to Carthage College where he would was able to run the strength and conditioning program while also playing during his senior campaign.

I started to take it on myself, to do my own strength and conditioning.

David has always served as his own test subject and solely taught programs that he has seen proven results within himself. After experiencing years of back problems and most of the traditional methods not assisting him, David sought new methods.

Upon discovering dunk balance, and knees over toes training, Mariani noticed results shockingly quick. After many conversations with Cal Dietz, the University of Minnesota’s head of Kinesiology, and Ben Patrick, David was inspired to start MOST Performance to spread these discoveries.

Backed by his undergraduate degree in exercise sports science and Strength and Conditioning Specialist certification, David Mariani directed a facility with this focus for roughly three years after graduating. With a hunger to be independent, David began MOST Performance and has since spread his knowledge with an overwhelming amount of athletes.

I’ve been able to work with over 1,000 athletes, I’ve never dealt with a serious non-contact, lower leg injury.

Throughout his work with both Dietz and the Athletic Truth Group (ATG), Mariani has been able to preach a method that focuses on building a foundation and force absorption, only not force reduction. The jumping habits that athletes commonly display can lead to a high risk of injury due to a lack of balancing their strength.

David’s training focuses on using all four plants when elevating, beginning with either foot whilst taking off from either one or two legs. No matter the level of athlete, this balance can often be overlooked as it was with Derrick Rose and the proof is in the pudding.

You’d be surprised, some of these pro guys can’t dunk on all four plants.

When speaking with The 450 Times, Mariani made it apparent that he believes many players do not understand the value of balancing your body and building a strong foundation before it is too late.

A lot of what you see is more core dominant… we’ve flipped it and now we focus more on the feet.

While the vertical is believed by some to be the best measure of total athleticism, Mariani’s mix of knees over toes training and dunk balance allows for an increased injury prevention along with the vertical, and “just an overall better athlete.”

There currently are NBA players going through similar training in Clearwater, Florida and David believes it won’t be long before his teachings are common knowledge among the sports industry. While David has always had a primary focus on basketball himself, he acknowledges that this training is translatable to many other sports including but not limited to football, volleyball, and lacrosse.

Just as the game of basketball is constantly evolving, the training behind the scenes is following a similar pattern. With a new understanding and technique, David and others are pushing for an emphasis on force absorption compared to solely force reduction. For example, box jumps don’t allow your body to adjust to landing regularly and those are rarely promoted by Mariani.

Guys aren’t getting injured because they’re playing too much. Guys are getting injured because they’re not training how to handle the force

Any athlete’s career can be ruined by an injury and they should take all preventative measurements available to them. It doesn’t hurt when those methods are also increasing other aspects of their game such as their vertical.

David Mariani made it clear when speaking with The 450 Times that his Instagram direct messages are open and he is happy to speak with anyone that may have additional questions. Anyway that David can aid in maintaining health and resistance he is glad to do so, and he is attempting to spread his knowledge via MOST Performance at the moment.


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