STACK Summer Training Guide: Basketball | STACK

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STACK Summer Training Guide: Basketball

June 1, 2012 | Featured in the Summer 2012 Issue

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Designed by: Bill Foran, assistant coach/strength and conditioning for the Miami Heat. Foran has been a member of the Heat strength staff since the club's first season in 1988. Learn more at

Program Goals

This program will help basketball players get more athletic. It'll improve your speed, which will come in handy during fast breaks, whether you're pushing the ball or getting back on defense. The workouts will also improve your vertical, and jumping higher is always a benefit for basketball players.

Basketball strength programs work well when they're balanced, engaging the entire body but focusing on lower-body movements. Exercises that are knee-dominant, hip-dominant and core-focused (like Squats, Deadlifts and Planks) activate several muscle groups at once—a key to training for basketball specific movements. Cutting and changing directions demand a stable base as well as the ability to explode quickly. You'll need those skills for virtually all facets of basketball: rebounding, shot blocking, shooting and penetration.

Certain exercises are performed on one leg or with one arm (unilateral training) to improve balance in unstable situations and prevent imbalances in the body. Athletes who train unilaterally off the court can look forward to being more athletic and explosive on the court.

Three Things

Once you delve into the basketball program specifics, you'll have questions. Here are three things to keep in mind.

Progress Slowly

Start with light weight for each exercise, and progressively increase it until you find the last two or three reps difficult while maintaining proper technique. Try to increase the weight five to 10 pounds each week for each exercise. When you cannot complete the desired reps on the last set, stay at that weight for a week or two, or until you can complete each rep. Increase the weight the following week.

The second workout of the week should be about 10 percent lighter than the first. This way you have a heavy day and a medium day for both the lower and upper body. By varying the resistance each day, you will reduce the chance of hitting a plateau.

Train Your Core Properly

Instead of focusing on core flexion with movements like Sit-Ups and Crunches, try "anti-movements." Steer away from strictly flexion/extension movements and substitute stabilizing exercises like Planks or Suitcase Walks; anti-extension movements like Swiss Ball Rollouts; and anti-rotation movements like Wood Chops.

Learn the Conditioning Basics

To optimize your conditioning, perform high intensity sprints instead of slow cardio routines. In the off season, start with 400s and 200s and progress to 100s and 40s. For the 400s, start with four and work up to six sprints per session. With the 200s, start with six and work up to 10. And for the 100s and 40s, start with 10 sprints and build up to 16. Perform conditioning drills twice a week on your upper-body strength days.

Download the complete summer basketball workout from the STACK Performance Center.

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