Putting Everything Together for a Successful Basketball Training Program

STACK Expert John Cissik prescribes a comprehensive year-round training program for basketball players, with sample workouts.

Designing an effective basketball workout program is no small task. Since basketball requires strength, speed, agility, power, endurance, skill and teamwork, basketball players have to work on practically every athletic attribute to improve their game. The problem is that no matter at what level you play, you have a finite amount of time to train each day. You also have a finite ability to recover. This means your training program has to be carefully designed so you are able to improve your performance rather than being ground down from it.

To organize your training, you first need to determine your priorities. They may include size, speed, agility, power, endurance, skills or team practice. Your off-season plan will be different from your in-season program.

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Designing an effective basketball workout program is no small task. Since basketball requires strength, speed, agility, power, endurance, skill and teamwork, basketball players have to work on practically every athletic attribute to improve their game. The problem is that no matter at what level you play, you have a finite amount of time to train each day. You also have a finite ability to recover. This means your training program has to be carefully designed so you are able to improve your performance rather than being ground down from it.

Planning Your Basketball Training 

To organize your training, you first need to determine your priorities. They may include size, speed, agility, power, endurance, skills or team practice. Your off-season plan will be different from your in-season program.

Choose the most important priority and write up a training plan for it. Follow with the others in order of importance. It's easier to plan things one at a time than all at once.

Organize your training so that "likes" occur on the same day. In other words, group your training by energy systems, body parts, speed of movement, etc. If you're doing heavy Squats for sets of 2 or 3 reps on Monday, then use that day for short sprints, not 5-mile runs.

Here are some sample workouts to get you going. For extra tips and inspiration, check out Damian Lillard's intense training routine in the video player above.

RELATED: Build a Basketball Body With This Basketball Workout Plan

Off-Season Basketball Workout

During the off-season, I consider the following things important, in this order: endurance, size, strength, power, skills, speed and agility. Since you have few or no team practices, they do not show up as a priority at this point.

Do endurance work on Wednesdays and Fridays. For these metabolic conditioning sessions, use a combination of heavy ropes, kettlebells and bodyweight exercises. These circuits, featuring 30 seconds of exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest, are meant to build the endurance base you need for running up and down the court. Perform the exercises in order and do the entire circuit three times.

You will also train for size on these days, because it links up well with endurance training. Use Wednesday for a lower-body workout and Friday for an upper-body workout.

On Mondays, train for strength, speed, agility and power—each involving brief, maximal activities.

Do your skills work on Tuesdays, Thursdays and the weekends.

Monday

  • Power Clean: 3x4-6 @ 60-70%
  • Clean Pulls: 3x4-6 @ 65-75%
  • Front Squats: 3x4-8 @ 70-80%
  • Romanian Deadlifts: 3x4-8
  • Bench Press: 3x4-8 @ 70-80%
  • Bent-Over Rows: 3x4-8
  • Technique drills: 10-15 minutes
  • Sprints: 3x20 yards
  • 5-Yard Sprint + stop + 5-Yard Sprint: 5x
  • Defensive Shuffles: 3x5 yards

Tuesday

  • Stationary dribbling drills: 10-15 minutes
  • Shadow shooting drills: 5-10 minutes
  • Shooting progression drills: 10-15 minutes
  • Free-throw practice: 10-15 minutes

Wednesday

  • Back Squats: 3x12-15 @ 65-75%
  • Lunges: 3x12-15 each leg
  • Good Mornings: 3x12-15
  • Reverse Hyperextensions: 3x12-15
  • Calves: 3x12-15
Endurance Circuit:
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Bodyweight Squats
  • Heavy Rope Slams
  • Lunges
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Inchworms
  • Heavy Rope Slams
  • Push-Ups
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Bear Crawls
  • Heavy Rope Slams

Thursday

  • Sprinting and V-cut dribbling drills: 10-15 minutes
  • Lay-up drills: 10-15 minutes
  • Shadow shooting drills: 5-10 minutes
  • Shooting the key: 10-15 minutes

Friday

  • Dumbbell Bench Press: 3x12-15
  • Superset: Dips and Pull-Ups: 3xMax each
  • One-Arm Dumbbell Rows: 3x12-15 each arm
  • Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 3x12-15
  • Superset: Biceps/Triceps: 3x12-15 each

Endurance Circuit:

  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Bodyweight Squats
  • Heavy Rope Slams
  • Lunges
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Inchworms
  • Heavy Rope Slams
  • Push-Ups
  • Kettlebell Swings
  • Bear Crawls
  • Heavy Rope Slams

In-Season Basketball Workout

Your priorities will be quite different during the season, switching to team, skills, speed, agility, power, strength and endurance—in that order.

You will train daily for team and individual skills. Our schedule assumes that games are on Tuesdays and Fridays. You will need to modify it if that is not the case. In an ideal world, practices take place Monday, Wednesday and Thursday with the weekend off.

Perform speed and agility drills on the same days as basketball practices. These can be built into the warm-up or done at the end of the practice on the court, incorporating the ball and other players into the drills.

You should train for strength and power on game day; higher level athletes should train after the game if possible.

The season is a terrible time to increase strength, so we're talking about maintenance work here. You can maintain endurance via small-sided games during practices, which can further develop the team's ability to work together and hone the players' individual skills.

Monday

  • Warm-Up
  • Footwork fundamentals
  • Shooting progressions
  • Lay-up progressions
  • 1 on 1 offensive/defense skills
  • 5 on 5 scrimmage, focusing on specific offensive plays/defensive strategies

Tuesday

  • Game
  • Strength training
  • Power Clean + Front Squat: 3x2-3+3-4 @ 60-70%
  • Romanian Deadlift + Medicine Ball Throw: 3x4-6+5 Throws
  • Dumbbell Bench Press + Clapping Push-Ups: 3x4-6 + 5 Push-Ups
  • Pull-Ups: 3xMax

Wednesday

  • Warm-Up
  • Footwork fundamentals
  • Shooting progressions
  • Lay-up progressions
  • 1 on 1 offensive/defense skills
  • 3 v 3 small-sided games

Thursday

  • Warm-Up
  • Footwork fundamentals
  • Shooting progressions
  • Lay-up progressions
  • 1 on 1 offensive/defense skills
  • 5 on 5 scrimmage, focusing on offensive plays/defensive strategies

Friday

  • Game
  • Strength training
  • Back Squats + Squat Jumps: 3x4-6 @ 70-80% + 5 jumps
  • Reverse Hyperextensions: 3x8-12
  • Bench Press + Medicine Ball Chest Pass: 3x4-6 @ 70-80% + 5 Throws
  • Bent-Over Rows + Medicine Ball Throws: 3x4-6 + 5 Throws


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: BASKETBALL TRAINING | BASKETBALL WORKOUTS | WORKOUTS | POWER | EXERCISE | TRAIN | BENCH | CLEAN | PRESS | SPRINT | THROW | ENDURANCE | KETTLEBELL