NBA Basketball Weightlifting: The Fundamentals

October 8, 2012 | Alessandro Brazzit

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Since basketball requires so many multi-directional movements and a solid defensive position, weightlifting is the most important element of strength training. Over 20 years ago, Al Vermeil and the Chicago Bulls began developing the first ever NBA strength program.

Basketball Weightlifting Program Fundamentals

This is a complex workout that alternates between maximum strength and speed strength. Although in involves general exercises, the purpose is to create actions similar to the technical movements of basketball. The intensity inside the exercises is very high, guaranteeing extreme development in strength despite fewer repetitions (no more than six per exercise).

Why Is It Better to Use the Basketball Weightlifting Program?

  • Trains intramuscular coordination, acceleration and postural control
  • Develops body control and synchronization of movement

The Workout

The NBA basketball workout uses the big three exercises: the Snatch, Hang Clean and Jerk. Dominate as the strongest athlete on the court this season by incorporating them into your training routine.

Snatch

Sets/Reps: 3x3, rest for three minutes for a better hormonal response

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding bar near shins
  • Grip bar, keeping chest up and palms turned toward body
  • Stand up with bar, keeping it close to body and keeping back flat and arms straight; use legs to lift the weight
  • Forcefully jump up by quickly extending hips and knees
  • Shrug shoulders up with elbows fully extended
  • Pull body under bar and rotate hands around and under bar
  • Catch bar with fully extended elbows
  • Lower bar from overhead and control its descent to front of thighs
  • Squat down with elbows fully extended

Hang Clean

Sets/Reps: 5x5, rest for three minutes for a better hormonal response

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, holding bar near shins
  • Grip bar, keeping chest up and palms turned toward body
  • Stand up with bar, keeping it close to body and keeping back flat and arms straight; use legs to lift the weight
  • Slide bar down front of thighs
  • Initiate pull by explosively extending legs, hips and back
  • Keep arms straight; thrust hips forward and up
  • Straighten legs and extend up, keeping bar close to body
  • As bar reaches upper chest, lower to 1/8 squat position before bar starts to descend
  • Rotate wrists back around and under bar on clavicles; carry bar
  • Stand up with bar racked on clavicles with elbows in line with shoulders

Jerk

Sets/Reps: 4x4, rest for three minutes for a better hormonal response

  • Rest bar on clavicles, elbows in line with shoulders
  • Explosively extend legs as hips come forward, up, and through as you push bar with arms straight overhead
  • Position legs in split stance with arms locked and bar overhead
  • Return bar under control to starting position
  • Repeat, splitting stance with opposite leg forward

Alessandro Brazzit
- Alessandro Brazzit is the strength and conditioning coach for junior performance development at FC Treviso. He has worked as a strength and conditioning coach with...
Alessandro Brazzit
- Alessandro Brazzit is the strength and conditioning coach for junior performance development at FC Treviso. He has worked as a strength and conditioning coach with...
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