Dominate the Competition, Part 4: In-Season Basketball Strength Training

December 13, 2012 | Ramon Williams

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Maintaining your strength throughout the entire basketball season can make a huge impact on your performance. If you fail to work out during the season, you will be at your lowest strength level when the playoffs approach. This will not only sabotage your performance, it can also hurt your team's chances to make it to the post-season. (Learn more about in-season maintenance training.)

In-season basketball strength training does not make the same demands or require the same time commitment as off-season training. The goal is to maintain strength, not gain it. You can limit your training to four short workouts each week, and adapt them to your schedule when needed.

In-Season Basketball Exercises

Basketball players tend to use one arm and one leg more than the other, which can lead to muscle imbalances and cause injury. Counter this by performing single-arm and single-leg exercises. (Find out why single-limb training improves performance.)

Build your upper-body workout by selecting two exercises from each group. Make sure to regularly vary your exercise selection. For your lower-body workouts, perform each recommended exercise.

Upper-Body Push

Upper-Body Pull

  • Dumbbell Lateral Row
  • Dumbbell Front Row
  • Single-Arm Cable Pull-Downs
  • Neutral-Grip Chin-Ups
  • Pull-Ups

Lower Body

When and How to Lift

Never work your legs the day before a game. That can cause fatigue and negatively affect your court performance. Give yourself at least two days for recovery. Stick to three sets of 15, 12 and 10 reps for workouts two days before a game, and three sets of 10, 8 and 6 reps for workouts three days before a game.

Upper-body workouts are slightly different. It's okay to lift light the day before a game if you stick to the higher rep range mentioned above. If you have three days before a game, use the lower rep range.

During weeks when there are few or no games, limit yourself to one heavy and one light upper- and lower-body workout. Avoid working the same muscle groups on back-to-back days.

Complement your in-season basketball strength training with workouts from my other basketball training articles:


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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