Article Summary:

  • Recovery from your workouts will be critical to progress.
  • Work on your chest and triceps to develop shooting explosiveness.
  • Plyometric exercises will help increase your rebounding abilities.
  • Whether you're a recreational basketball player or are playing for your high school or university team and take a much more professional attitude towards the game, using fitness to help improve your performance is a smart move.
    Many people, when thinking of fitness, tend to think of time spent on the treadmills, weight machines, or on the ab mats doing crunches. Unfortunately, this is skewed thinking because many exercises that you can perform in the fitness and weight room will have a direct transfer over to how well you do on the court.
    By incorporating some smart fitness movements into your training program, you will really see increases in your durability, jumping, and striking skills during the game. Here is what to consider.
    Training For Basketball

    dot Pylon Runs: dot

      Being able to weave in and out around players is going to be one of the most successful skills you need in basketball in order to be successful. When you've got the ball, endorphins will be at an all time high and there will be many players coming after you. Unless you're able to successfully maneuver your direction around these players quickly, you will be stopped and likely lose control over the ball.
      To improve these skills, place a series of pylons staggered across an empty gym or field. Once set-up, run through them going to one end and then back again.

    Pylon: A pylon is another name for a cone-shaped marker.

    A Pair Of Pylons.

      There are many variations on this exercise you can do here including going to one pylon, switching directions and running back, going to the second pylon, switching directions and then running back, and so on in that fashion until you have completed all the pylons. Another option, which also helps make this exercise much more basketball specific, is to also work on dribbling the basketball through the pylons while doing the exercise. This will help you improve your ability to maintain control over the ball, increasing your ability to withstand players trying to get in your pathway.
      If you really want to bump up the intensity of the exercise, try running through the pylons facing forwards, and then coming back to the start running in the backwards direction.
    dot Wall Bounds: dot

      Next up, the next exercise that would be a good addition to your program are wall bounds. These will help increase your jumping ability, allowing you to rebound off the ground more effectively to make the jump shots that are necessary during the game. To perform these, stand about 3 sets back from a wall. Then, take one and a half steps forward, rebounding off the foot that is standing on the last step, reaching as far up on the wall as possible.
      Note that you can do this off one leg or two legs. Two legs will allow you to jump higher and will also work coordination slightly more, while rebounding off one leg will increase your leg power in the single leg and will really enhance fast-twitch muscle fiber recruitment.
    dot Jump Squat-Basketball Shoot: dot

      To up the intensity of the regular jump squat and make it more basketball specific, this is what you'll do. Holding a basketball in your hands at about the same level that you would use to shoot it with, bend down, and move into the full squat position. From there, rebound upwards, jumping off the floor as high as you can. While doing so, proceed to shoot the ball outwards to a partner who is standing a few feet away and will catch the ball. This throwing action while you are in mid-air will help to throw you off balance slightly, working your ability and stabilization skills as you come back down to the ground.
      As you land, have your partner pass the ball back down to you, and try and grab a hold of it as you move back down into the squat position.
    dot Explosive Bench Press: dot

      To work on your shooting explosiveness, you'll want to develop strong chest and tricep muscles, as these are the primary movers when going to shoot the ball. The twist you're going to put on this exercise however is when going through the push-through motion, you'll want to try pushing the weight upwards as quickly as possible. Once you're at the top of the movement, pause for a second and then lower the weight to the chest slowly to a count of three.
      Doing the movement in this fashion will help you work on your driving force, which should help you propel the basketball faster through the air, making it harder for your opponents to stop.
    dot Side Twisting Abdominal Strengthener: dot

      Another element that you'll need to preferably develop is your ability to control twisting motion as it comes at you. Lack of flexibility in the core area as well as weak core muscles will make you more susceptible to injuries, as well as it will make passing off the ball to other players when you need to in a twisted movement pattern a lot harder. To increase your skill level in this respect, place a weighted bar behind your head, balanced over your shoulders as if you were going to do a squat position.
      From there, while holding onto the bar with your hands, begin twisting slowly to one direction, pause, and then twist back to the other side.
      This exercise will not seem all that difficult to perform, however the key is in keeping the bar under control and increasing the range of motion with which you are able to comfortable twist to each side.
    Sample Workout Routine

    So, keep all of these ideas in mind as you go about creating your basketball workout program. Also remember that because basketball is a sport that's going to utilize many anaerobic processes and plyometric movements, you'll really want to pay attention to your total volume to ensure that you aren't doing more than the body can effectively handle.
    Recovery from your workouts will be critical to progress, so when in doubt opt for the less is more philosophy. Here is a sample workout routine you could start implementing in your program to see progress in the right direction.
    dot Warm-Up: dot

      Running down the court - run to each of the following points, turn around, and then run back to the start before going to the next distance:
      • 1/4 mark
      • 1/2 mark
      • 3/4 mark
      • Full
    dot Agility Component: dot

      The purpose of this portion of the workout is to build up your reaction time as well as enhance your ability to maintain control despite other players trying to block you.
      1. Pylon run without a basketball, running as quickly as possible through the pylons

      2. Pylon run with the basketball, working on maintaining control the entire time

      3. Front pylon run with backwards jog back to start
      Note on all the agility components you should be trying to weave as tight to the pylons as possible while progressing through the movement.
    dot Strength Component: dot

    Tempo: The first number is the amount of seconds it takes for the concentric portion of the exercise. The second number is the amount of seconds to pause. The third number is the amount of seconds it takes for the eccentric portion of the exercise. For example, Barbell Squat: 2 sets of 6-8 reps, tempo 2:1:1. You would lower the weight for two seconds, pause for one second, then raise the weight in one second.

    dot Plyometric Component: dot

    dot Cool-Down: dot

      Finally, to round off the workout, you'll want to perform some stretches for your hamstrings, hip flexors, as well as the shoulder joints to loosen up the muscles that typically can become tense after hours spent on the court. Be sure to hold each stretch for a good 20-30 seconds each time you do it so you can ensure you're getting maximum benefits.