Fittest Guys in America
Special, exclusive interviews with nine of the 2008 MF 25
Dwight Howard - NBA player
MF: You've arguably got the best arms in the league right now. Is that a body part you've always focused on in the gym?
No, my arms just developed naturally with the progression of my body. Some is natural and some is hard work. I used to be skinny in high school but then I started working out, lifting weights, and eating better.
Was there a point when you "figured it out," and started to pack muscle on your frame more easily?
Yes, probably my second year in the NBA. I realized that my routine was working and my muscles were developing so I didn't change anything, just stayed consistent.
The Slam Dunk Contest during February's All-Star weekend was insane
The behind-the-backboard dunk is actually an easy dunk for me now because I practiced it for almost two years. I watched Allen Iverson and Andre Iguodala do the same dunk together a few years ago during the dunk contest and I thought it would be amazing if I could do it on my own.
When you did the Superman dunk, you were up so high that you sort of threw the ball into the rim. Did you feel like you jumped too high—if that's even possible?
Yes, I have jumped that high and even higher plenty of times. The effect of the dunk was to make it seem impossible, something only Superman could do. When I was in the air I spotted Jason Kidd's son TJ in the corner of my eye and I thought to myself, 'I want to make this dunk for him.' TJ really wanted me to win the dunk contest.
What kind of lifts do you concentrate on in the gym?
Bench press, lat pull-downs, different quad exercises, push-ups and core work.
Did you notice a marked difference between how you look (and feel) this season and what it was like for you as a rookie?
Yes, I've grown into my body. I've become stronger over the last couple of years. As a rookie, I was getting pushed around in the paint, but now I'm doing the pushing.
Do you do anything extra, past what is mandated for you by the Orlando Magic training staff?
During the off-season I work with a trainer to keep my regimen on track. Last summer I started boxing and I really enjoyed it. I love training, it's a lot of work but the results are rewarding.
What's your favorite lift in the gym?
That would be the bench press. I usually press about 365.
Which players did you emulate growing up?
Magic Johnson. I watched all of Magic's instructional basketball videos as a kid. I wanted to be just like him; the first 6'11 point guard.