Get in Basketball Shape With the Right Workout

Get in shape and hone your court skills with this basketball-specific workout from STACK Expert John Cissik.

Basketball players tend to rely on run-of-the mill sprints, suicides or distance running for their workouts. But a basketball workout can be so much more, focusing on the metabolic conditioning you need to be in shape and resist fatigue.

Here are four of my favorite metabolic conditioning workouts for basketball.

1. Jump Rope/Kettlebell/Core Workout

This circuit, designed to work your entire body, helps you develop fast feet, strengthen your ankles and get your core in shape. You will need a jump rope and a kettlebell you can swing with good form for at least 30 seconds.

Perform three total circuits that call for three exercises, each performed for 30 seconds. There should be no rest during a circuit. That means you will be active for 90 seconds during each circuit. You can rest for 60 seconds after each circuit.

Circuit 1

  • Jump Rope, both feet
  • Two-Handed Kettlebell Swings
  • Plank

Circuit 2

  • Jump Rope, move side to side
  • One-Handed Kettlebell Swings
  • Side Bridge (right side)

Circuit 3

  • Jump Rope, alternate feet
  • Kettlebell Snatch
  • Side Bridge (left side)

2. Bodyweight/Sprint Workout

This workout, ideally done on a basketball court, works your entire body while simulating the kind of sprinting you have to do during games. Each exercise should be performed for 30 seconds, followed by a half-court sprint. Repeat as many times as you like.

  • Jumping Jacks
  • Sprint
  • Bodyweight Squats
  • Sprint
  • Lunges in Place
  • Sprint
  • Inchworms
  • Sprint
  • Bear Crawls
  • Sprint
  • Push-Ups
  • Sprint
  • Crunches
  • Sprint

3. Treadmill Workout

This workout is designed to teach you how to increase your intensity even when you're tired, preparing you for the last few minutes of a game, when you really need to turn it on. Pick a treadmill speed for a comfortable jog. This is your base speed. Warm up at your base speed for five minutes, then increase your speed for a 10th of a mile. Then run at your base speed for 90 seconds. Repeat this eight times. For each of the .10-mile bursts, increase your speed over the previous 10th. Your last sprint should be the fastest of the workout. Below is an example of how I run this workout to give you an idea of how to increase the speed.

  • 5 minutes at 6 mph
  • .1 miles at 7 mph
  • 90 seconds at 6 mph
  • .1 miles at 7.3 mph
  • 90 seconds at 6 mph
  • .1 miles at 7.6 mph
  • 90 seconds at 6 mph
  • .1 miles at 7.9 mph
  • 90 seconds at 6 mph
  • .1 miles at 8.2 mph
  • 90 seconds at 6 mph
  • .1 miles at 8.5 mph
  • 90 seconds at 6 mph
  • .1 miles at 8.8 mph
  • 90 seconds at 6 mph
  • .1 miles at 9.1 mph

The first time you do this workout, perform four sprints. Over a two-month period, build up to eight.

Learn 6 more challenging treadmill drills.

4. Small-Sided Game

This workout builds endurance and works your sprinting and ball skills. You need a ball, three friends and access to a basketball court. Play a modified game with two players per side. If you want to emphasize sprinting and endurance, play full court. If you want to emphasize basketball skills, play half court. You can modify the rules to make sure everyone gets to develop their skills. For example, require a pass to your teammate before anyone can score. These games should be played for four to five minutes with two to three minutes of recovery.

Learn more basketball conditioning drills.

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