A professional basketball player for the Milwaukee Bucks of the National Basketball Association (NBA), Jesusemilore Talodabijesu “Semi” Ojeleye was born on December 5, 1994. During his college career, he played basketball for Duke University and Southern Methodist University.
A Nigerian couple emigrated from Nigeria to Ottawa, Kansas when Ojeleye was young. As a star at Ottawa High School, he won the Parade Magazine National Player of the Year in 2013. He played sparingly for two seasons at national power Duke during his college career. After transferring to SMU, he helped lead the team to the American Athletic Conference (AAC) regular season and tournament championships in 2016-17. In addition, Ojeleye averaged 18.9 points per game and 6.8 rebounds per contest and was named AAC Player of the Year.
In this article, we will talk about Semi Ojeleye and his workout routine to keep himself fit. He also has a great diet plan which he complements along with his workout schedules. In this article, we have explored his routine from all the directions so that you can get a comprehensive analysis of what he does.
Semi Ojeleye Body Statistics
- Birth Year: 1994
- Birth Date: December 5
- Height: 6 ft 6 in (1.98 m)
- Weight: 240 lb (109 kg)
Semi Ojeleye Awards and Achievements
- AP Honorable Mention All-American (2017)
- AAC Player of the Year (2017)
- First-team All-AAC (2017)
- AAC Tournament MVP (2017)
- First-team Parade All-American (2013)
Semi Ojeleye Workout Routine
“I looked strong when I was young, but I think with or without lifting, I’d still be fit because that’s how my dad is and he has never lifted a day in his life,” he states.
Coach Paul Fabritz, Ojeleye’s Los Angeles-based offseason strength, and conditioning coach agree. However, Fabritz feels that Ojeleye is undervaluing himself.
“Semi’s genetics are the best of anyone I’ve ever worked with, and I work with a lot of NBA players,” Fabritz replies. “But he also works very, very hard. He’d have a decent NBA body if he never stepped in the weight room, but because he does, he has one of the best bodies in the NBA.”
As he puts that body to work with the Celtics, Ojeleye has made the most of it. In spite of not always playing a double-digit minute, the defensive specialist comes up big when the chips are down. Over the course of this season, Ojeleye has played for more than 20 minutes eleven times, and he has played for more than 15 minutes six times. In a typical season, Ojeleye would play a significant amount against teams such as the Philadelphia 76ers, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, and Orlando Magic who have big men capable of handling the ball and crashing the rim. Coach Brad Stevens asked Ojeleye to handle the situation for the Celtics.
“I prepare like I’m going to play 48 minutes every game,” Ojeleye spelled out to WEEI.com. “I try to be in shape. I try to keep my body right. In my mind, going into every game, I’m playing every minute. So, if I’m called upon, it’s not a surprise.”
His parents put him in a conditioning program when he was in sixth grade to prepare for AAU basketball. He has worked out ever since. His serious lifting began in college when he started working out with sports performance coach Will Stephens while at Duke University in 2013. After high school, he duplicated the lifting program his older brother Victor was given at Kansas State.
“At Duke, we took it to the max,” Ojeleye recounts. “We went big with the Olympic lifts, leg presses, and squats, and I got really strong—but almost too strong for basketball. I didn’t feel like I could move on the court.”
As a result of his time at Duke University, Ojeleye transferred to Southern Methodist University and began working with strength coach Carlos Daniel, where his focus shifted from lifting huge to mobility, flexibility, and being functionally strong on the court. The focus for Fabritz was once again on mobility during the 2018 offseason. In addition to having trouble getting into his hips and moving well in low positions, Ojeleye had trouble keeping his balance, which made it difficult for him to make moves on the basketball court.
“There were a lot of things I couldn’t do, but Paul is a magician,” Ojeleye remarks. “My mobility didn’t match my strength. He gave me a base so I can be more explosive and also stabilize my movements.”
Ojeleye and Fabritz had a new objective for the 2019 offseason after mobility was no longer a concern.
Going Harder For Longer
“The goal this summer was to go harder, longer,” Ojeleye answers. “The guys who succeed in the NBA are the guys who can go the hardest, the longest. So, we did more sets, increased reps, did sets to failure, and there was always a cardio component, either the bike or running on the treadmill, at the track, or in the sand.”
Aside from Ojeleye’s morning and evening on-court basketball training sessions, Fabritz and Ojeleye worked out together five afternoons a week. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, lower body and agility workouts were scheduled, whereas, on Tuesdays and Thursdays, upper body, core, and endurance exercises were conducted.
“Our workouts are always general, designed to improve a certain trait, be it mobility, flexibility, or strength,” Fabritz answers. “About 20 percent of the exercises are basketball-specific, but all of them will help Semi in-game.”
As an alternative to basketball, they use a medicine ball for moves specifically related to basketball.
“It’s the perfect size and shape, and you can use it to mimic single-leg landings and lateral movements,” Ojeleye adds.
Ojeleye will instead work on cuts, drop-steps, accelerations- moving one way aggressively and stopping on a dime-and other on-court footwork as Fabritz resists him with a powerband around his waist.
Barbell exercises are rare in a traditional gym because Ojeleye adds muscle too quickly, which means he has to slow down. Over the offseason, he easily surpassed 450 pounds deadlift in a matter of days. In order to maintain Ojeleye’s strength, Fabritz realized that one heavy exercise per week was enough.
“Instead of a barbell bench press, we’ll use dumbbells, and it’ll be with a hip lift mixed in so it is a core exercise as well,” Ojeleye explains. “It’s funny, kids always ask me, ‘How much do you bench? How much do you squat? What are your numbers?’ And I’m like, ‘I have no idea.'”
On a daily basis, Ojeleye does hip and ankle mobility exercises. A pull-up is one of his favorite exercises. The sand dunes of Manhattan Beach give him a love-hate relationship. He hates single-leg squats, is still perfecting the kettlebell Turkish get-up and is still working on the kettlebell Turkish get-up. According to Fabritz, there are relatively few weaknesses in his fitness.
“Semi can move weight, he can move weight fast, he has explosive power and can express force very, very quickly,” Fabritz said. “A lot of big guys can’t do that. Semi has good lateral speed and quickness, and he’s one of the fastest athletes on the track. He’ll outrun anyone in a 40-yard dash. And he recovers better and more quickly than any athlete I’ve ever seen. He’s the full package.”
As a young 25-year-old during his third season with the Celtics, Ojeleye is showing promise as a 3-and-D player – someone who specializes in defense and shooting 3-pointers. His ability to guard big men and to guard the wings makes him extremely useful off the Celtics bench, where he can check athletes with excellent athletic ability, such as LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, who are both simultaneously fast, big, and skilled.
He can also be more offensively aggressive as a result of his improved mobility and conditioning. In the last year, his 3-point shooting percentage has improved significantly, rising from 31.5 percent to 37 percent this year.
“Last year I made my mark playing defense,” Ojeleye explains, “but I think I have a lot to offer on the other end, too.”
However, that’s not the end of it! There’s also his meditation practice. As he says,
In 2021, I really want to focus on meditation and spending more time staying present in the moment. If I learned anything in 2020, it’s just how important it is to understand your inner self. I’m excited to be intentional about mindfulness in the new year.
That was all about his workout routine that he does the entire day to stay pro in his gym as well as his field. In the below sections, we will explore some more components of his workout routines.
Semi Ojeleye Fitness Interview
I’m going to fact-check you right off the top. You once claimed you do 3,786 bicep curls a day. Are you going to stick to that number?
Semi Ojeleye: Ha, no. Never happened. That was a joke, and someone just took it and ran with it.
Worth checking. Were you always a strong-looking guy, or did that come after a certain age?
I probably started working out and hitting the weights at 13 or 14. It was just a consistency thing. In high school, I was just trying to get lifts in.
Was there something you did differently than other people? Was there a secret workout?
Not really. I guess when some people took days off, I didn’t. I just tried to go at it as hard as possible. When I started playing guys across the country, there were some big, athletic dudes in my class. That’s where I was trying to get my edge—I knew if I put in that extra day, it would help me catch up.
I need the full story on The Ox nickname. First off, who came up with it?
I’m not sure where that one started. It was a teammate, though. The nicknames just come and go, and I just roll with them. I’ve had people call me Thor. Someone called me a kangaroo in college. Then there’s the Ojeleye Factory—I don’t even know where that came from, but some Boston fans started that. I heard The Man Made of Granite, too. I couldn’t even dream of this stuff.
Does it annoy you, or do you think it’s funny?
It’s humbling, to be honest. It’s not like I worked out so people would give me nicknames, but it’s a good thing to have people joke about it. It could be worse.
I watched a media day interview where you were asked about your workout routine, and you actually mentioned mobility and flexibility as the things you were focusing on the most. How did you decide to make that the focus of your workouts?
In high school, and when I first got to college, it was a lot of moving as much weight as possible and developing power. That was great because I got that base, but when I got on the court, I didn’t feel that great. My athleticism was straight-line. I definitely wasn’t fluid at all.
Later in college, and after I got here with the Celtics, it was about mobility. There’s only so much strength you can use on the court without it just becoming unfluid and stiff. That’s been my main focus now—maintaining the strength that I have and turning it into basketball skills.
How does your workout routine go now that you have that base, as you called it?
The weights aren’t as big. It’s more about moving a smaller weight at a greater speed.
What do you do to increase your mobility and flexibility?
A lot of stretching and band work. As far as the weights go, again, trying to scale the amount of weight back, but going through a better range of motion. Instead of just doing squats or leg press, we’re doing Romanian deadlifts and single-leg squats. Those don’t allow you to use the wrong muscles—you have to have good form to complete the sets.
I also saw you cut out fast food and fried food. Were you a big fast-food guy growing up?
Oh, man, I used to love all that—Sonic, Burger King, McDonald’s. When you’re young and playing AAU, you don’t really have time to go get a good meal, so between games, you’re grabbing a McChicken and some fries and apple pies and going in. But when I started getting older and realized I didn’t have as much energy on the court sometimes, I needed to do everything I could to get that edge.
Sonic was especially tempting because when you’re in high school, you escape from your parents and go meet your friends there.
Facts. Facts. Happy Hour.
When did you cut out the fast foods?
As soon as I got to college. I stopped eating candy and stopped drinking soda, too. In college, the conditioning went to a whole other level. When I was at Duke, that was the most running I’ve done in my whole life. I thought I’m not going to make it if I can’t breathe out here. I started to eat healthily and eat better.
What’s an average game-day diet look like for you?
We’re blessed to have a chef here at the facility, so he’ll make us a meal in the morning. Usually, I’ll have some scrambled eggs with a little spinach and ham. For lunch, I’m a big Chipotle guy, so I’ll go there and get a bowl with rice and chicken. I cut red meat out of my diet, so salmon with pasta before every game is the move.
Afterward, the chef has a bunch of meals for us—usually the same type of thing. Carbs like pasta, fish or chicken, and then vegetables. So it’s pretty simple.
Do you still have to cheat on food?
Red velvet cheesecake. That right there does it for me.
Are you making it from scratch or what?
Oh, no. Cheesecake Factory is my spot. It’s across the street from my apartment.
Who has the weirdest diet on the team?
Aron Baynes. He takes raw oats and puts yogurt, nuts, hemp, and all this hippie stuff in there and mixes it up. It looks like doo and he smashes it, like, every breakfast. He says it’s healthy. I don’t know about all that. It works for him.
I get the impression you’re a humble guy, and that’s great. But I need the truth here: Are you, pound for pound, the strongest guy in the NBA?
[Laughs] That’s up to the fans to decide. It’s the best athletes in the world, so we’re all at the top of our game working every day.
I’m going to ask you this a different way because that was a great non-answer. Is there an NBA player you’ve gone up against who made you say, “Wow, that guy is definitely stronger than me”? If you can’t come up with any names, I’m going to assume you think you’re the strongest player.
I’ll say Giannis and LeBron. Those two dudes have been a tough matchup. Joel Embiid, too. I ran off a screen against JoJo, hit him, and almost got hurt. I thought, Next time, I’m going around. But I don’t think I’ve ever been up against a guy where I’ve thought, Man, I just can’t handle this. I’ll leave it at that.
Semi Ojeleye Diet Plan
Although it is not clear when the legend of Semi Ojeleye began, his iconic scouting report from Draft Express in 2017-which referred to his “thick frame”-certainly contributed to the development of his status as one of the NBA’s most stunningly muscular players. As a 2017 second-round pick of the Boston Celtics, Ojeleye is helping develop a reputation as a defensive standout. However, one thing he doesn’t have to do as often as he used to is working out. He has an impressive frame, and he does look pumped.
It has been somewhat a mystery how Ojeleye achieved his buff body, which has earned him more than one nickname, including “Muscles Jesus”, but the answer is disappointingly simple: Ojeleye involves himself in a rigorous workout routine that includes no time off. Even so, we asked him to share his thoughts on how his strength training philosophy evolved, his enthusiasm for Sonic happy hour, and his opinion on who the NBA’s strongest player is pound-for-pound. One thing to remember is that those who believe they own this title would be well advised to push up more.