Dominate the Competition: Basketball Training Program

September 18, 2012 | Ramon Williams

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Want a competitive edge against your opponents this coming season? You need to be taking steps to prepare now, because, believe me, your opponents are. Starting your basketball training program a month before the season won't cut it. A month is simply not enough time to maximize your potential. To develop real strength for basketball, players need at least eight to 12 weeks to progress through a strength-training program.

Below are some basic exercises you can choose from for a three-day split weight lifting program. To continue to build strength, your body needs a variety of challenges, so don't get in the habit of doing the same exercises every session.

Basketball Training Program

Lower Body Exercises

Choose one from each section.

Primary Lifts

Note: For best results from Squats (See STACK's Guide to Squats), you must go low enough to get your thighs at least parallel to the ground. For the Trap Bar Deadlift, it is important to keep your back from arching during the entire range of the exercise. Feet must stay flat on the ground for all exercises.

Supplemental Lifts #1

Note: The leading foot must stay flat on the ground and the torso must remain upright throughout each rep.

Supplemental Lifts #2

Supplemental Lifts #3

Note: Avoid over-arching your back during back extensions.

Upper Body Exercises

All upper body exercises are divided into pushes and pulls. Your Chin-Ups, Pull-Ups and Dips will vary significantly depending on your strength in relation to your body weight. If you struggle with these exercises, use bands to aid you. Put one foot or knee in the band while you do each rep. If these exercises are really easy for you, add weighted belts to increase the intensity.


Choose one from each section.

Primary Lifts

Supplemental Lifts #1

Supplemental Lifts #2

Note: Raise weights to shoulder height for each rep.

Supplemental Lifts #3


Choose one from each section.

Primary Lifts

Supplemental Lifts #1

Supplemental Lifts #2

Supplemental Lifts #3

  • Dumbell Bicep Curl
  • Barbell Bicep Curl

Core Work

Choose one:

  • Weighted Sit-Ups
  • Weighted Toe Touches

Choose one:

  • Leg Raises
  • Hanging Knee Raises

Choose one:

  • Twisting Sit-Ups
  • Seated Russian Twists

12-Week Off-Season Basketball Strength Training Program

This 12-week off-season basketball training program has the proper amount of sets and reps for each primary and supplemental lift. All workouts are in order of priority. Primary lifts are completed before any supplemental lifts, and supplemental lifts #1 are completed before supplemental lifts #2. If for any reason you do not have enough time to complete all the lifts, follow the order of priority.

The first two weeks of the program constitute a preparation phase that will get you ready for more intense lifting.

Each day has a different intensity level: Monday, moderate intensity; Wednesday, low intensity; and Friday, high intensity. You will decide your own intensity level by your perceived level of difficulty. Rate the difficulty of each exercise on a scale of one to 10. Use the last two or three reps of each set to decide the number rating of each exercise. A one takes little or no effort, and a 10 requires all-out effort. Monday's intensity level should rate around 7 or 8, Wednesday's 5 or 6, and Friday's 9 or 10.

Rest between sets

Below are general rules of thumb for the amount of rest you should take between sets. If you find yourself struggling with these rest periods, take more time. The most important thing is that you complete each set with proper form for each rep.

  • 11 or more reps,  two minutes
  • Seven to 10 reps, one and a half minutes
  • One to six reps, three to five minutes


For Squats, Bench Press, Incline Bench Press, Shoulder Press, and Barbell Lunges, one to two spotters are strongly recommended for safety. It is incumbent on the the spotter(s) to help you if you lose your balance, drift from proper lifting technique, or struggle to complete the reps.

Ramon Williams
- Ramon Williams graduated magna cum laude from Montclair State University with a B.S. in Physical Education. He is currently an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist...
Ramon Williams
- Ramon Williams graduated magna cum laude from Montclair State University with a B.S. in Physical Education. He is currently an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist...
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