If you’re an athlete or just someone who’s looking to get stronger, faster and quicker for basketball, then look no further than these helpful tips. We’ll follow some of the basic principles of lifting big, heavy compound movements, but knowing when to throw a wrench in the workout to improve your game.
Of course, lifting weights is only part of the battle – you need to improve your overall skill of the game as well with various shooting, dribbling and conditioning drills to jump start your basketball game before the first game.
Weight Room Lifts
Throughout the years, many strength and conditioning coaches have found that training for basketball is entirely different than say lifting for football. For football, athletes are trying to get as big and fast as humanly possible to beat an opponent on any 7-second play. Basketball is different in two ways:
1. Basketball players need more endurance training to remain in the game for longer periods of time
2. Basketball players need less mass than a football player to be able to be quick and agile for the entirety of the game.
So what this training looks like is hitting some heavy compound lifts, yes, but also ensuring that your core is strong, responsiveness is high and jumping ability is through the roof. Here’s a sample of lower body and upper body sessions to give you an idea on how basketball training is different:
Monday – Legs/Core (Quad Focus)
1A. Squats- 4 x 5 (4 second negative and then explode up)
1B. Max Effort Squat Jumps- 4 x 3
2A. Pistol Squats on Bosu Ball- 3 x 12-15 each leg
2B. Weighted Crunches- 3 x 20
3A. Leg Press Plyos (Alternating Legs)- 3 x 15 each leg
3B. Box Jumps- 3 x 5
Tuesday – Upper Body
1A. 1-Arm DB Stability Ball Bench Press- 3 x 15 each arm
1B. Rope Face Pulls- 3 x 15
2A. 1-Arm Shoulder Press- 3 x 15
2B. Close Grip Chin-Ups (4 second negative)- 3 x AMRAP
3A. TRX Rows- 3 x 12-15
3B. Hang Cleans- 3 x 3
3C. Plyo Push ups- 3 x 8
As you can see, working explosive moves in a regular lift such as squats and push-ups, will help with jumping ability and fast hands for defending and guarding the opposing team. Although strength is still a focus, being strong through an explosive movement is more the object.
Lifting weights is only half the game though, so ensuring you’re conditioning is basketball specific as well will help you get leaps and bounds above your competition. Rather than just hopping on the treadmill for 30 minutes, cardiovascular training will look a bit different.
Training your heart and endurance is good to incorporate into your routine 1-2 times per week, but plyometric training will keep you agile and fit throughout the season. Things like broad jumps, box jumps and band resisted slides and sprints will help your fast twitch muscle fibers become more responsive and improve overall quickness. Follow this sample plyometric training schedule while either on a rest day from the weights or in addition to a leg workout.
1A. Standing Broad Jumps- 3 x 5
1B. Calf Hops- 3 x 30 seconds
2A. Depth Vertical Leaps- 3 x 4
2B. Speed Ladder Drills- 3 x 30 seconds
3A. Banded Verticals- 3 x 5
3B. Banded Slides to Sprints- 3 x 5
Position Specific Drills
Of course lifting, running and jumping is only part of the equation to becoming a better basketball player; you’ve got to actually be able to improve your skill. Your position will determine what you need to work on. If you’re primarily going to play inside, things like working on your drop step past a defender and finishing around the rim with the ball high will help keep you above the rest of the defenders.
If you are a guard of any type, being able to pull up and shoot on the drop of a hat, is incredibly important at this position on the court. Working on the three ball is important, yes, but shooting from the wing, elbow and baseline are just as important.
And finally, if you’re playing the point guard position, distributing the ball is your primary focus. Work on your passing of all types; bounce pass, chest pass and passes around defenders will give you a great arsenal to work with when poised with any type of defender.
Supplement Your Training
Supplements can be a great way to enhance your training. Here are a few ideas of what could help you:
Whenever you workout you breakdown your muscle fibers and you need protein to help repair those muscle fibers. Whey protein is a fast absorbing protein source making it the perfect post workout snack. With 25g of protein per serving Thewhey should is the ideal supplement for recovery.
Top tip: for easy storage of whey protein powder use a Power Tower
Creatine is what provides the energy for your muscles to contract. The more reps you can perform of an exercise, the more muscle fibers you will breakdown and with adequate recovery the more muscle you will build.
This product contains 10g of BCAAs per serving to encourage protein synthesis, which is essential for muscle recovery. It also packs in 300mg of caffeine making this a great product to use pre workout or to sip on during your workouts to provide you with enough energy to workout with optimum intensity.
Bodybuilding style training certainly has its place when building muscle is the primary goal, but training for a sport is completely different. Things like working the core, hitting the upper and lower body more than once a week, working on running and jumping and fine-tuning your actual basketball skills will set you apart from the rest this basketball season!