Basketball players need to be strong and explosive. Developing these two critical attributes will help you jump higher, move faster on the court and outmuscle opponents for the ball. This program, by the assistant strength coach for the Sacramento Kings, works your entire body with three workouts per week. Big, heavy lifts build a foundation of strength, and plyometric drills convert this strength into the explosive power you need to improve your game. Single-leg and lateral exercises hone multidirectional movement and quickness, and upper-body moves increase your strength under the basket. Most important, the program decreases your risk of ankle and knee injury from quick cuts or landing from a jump.
- Start each workout with a 10-minute dynamic warm-up, along with the Basketball Supplemental Warm-Up (see Sidebar). Finish with a 10-minute cool down.
- Perform grouped exercises (e.g., 4a and 4b) consecutively with no rest between; rest for 2 minutes between sets.
- Choose weights that are challenging but allow you to complete each rep with perfect form.
- If an exercise seems unfamiliar or doesn't feel right, use an alternative that you can perform with perfect form (e.g., substitute a Goblet Squat for a Barbell Squat).
- If you're tall, you may struggle to achieve full range of motion on some moves. It is always best to try to perform the entire rep, but stay within a range that's comfortable.
Basketball Supplemental Warm-Up
These moves strengthen weak and vulnerable areas common in basketball players, including the ankles and core. Add them to your pre-workout routine.
- Ankle Pumps – 2x10 each leg
- Wall Angels – 2x10
- Spiderman – 2x3 each side
- Band Pullaparts – 2x10
- Plank Rotations – 2x15
Optional Conditioning Work
Finish your workouts strong and improve your basketball-specific endurance with the conditioning exercises below. Rest for 1 minute between sets
- Prowler Push (50% of body weight) – 10x10 yards
- Hill Sprints – 10x20 yards
Med Ball Overhead Throw
Benefits: Increases triple extension power, a critical skill for athletic movements such as running and jumping.
How to: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart holding a med ball in front. Bend your hips and knees to lower the med ball between your legs. Explosively jump out of the squat and throw the med ball overhead. Catch the ball off the bounce and repeat.
Benefits: Improves ab strength by teaching them to prevent extension of the spine.
How to: Kneel behind a physioball and place your forearms on the ball. Keeping your back flat and your arms straight, roll the ball forward as far as your core strength allows. Pull the ball back toward your body to return to the starting position.
Benefits: Increases core stability by teaching your muscles to prevent rotation.
How to: Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width and your body perpendicular to a cable machine. Grasp the cable handle with both hands directly in front of your chest. Bring your hands to your chest, then return to the starting position.