Tips for Conditioning Like the NBA's Best

The players you admire in the NBA condition for late-game domination. Here's how to condition like an NBA star.

Dwyane Wade Conditioning

Do you huff and puff your way around the court after halftime? LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Dwayne Wade and other elite NBA players train to outperform their opponents in the fourth quarter, when the game is on the line.

Despite the importance of cardiovascular endurance, conditioning remains one of the most underrated aspects of basketball training. A few short sprints to the line and back after practice won't cut it.

To become a better basketball player, you must be at the highest conditioning level possible. This will allow you to play at a higher level of intensity, ultimately giving you and your team the advantage you need to win games. Improve your basketball conditioning drills with the following tips:

Warm Up

It's always important to prepare your body for high intensity exercise. Not only does it help you perform better, warming up your muscles also helps prevent injury.

Take Action: Include basketball-specific stretches and hip mobility.

Include Intervals

Make sure your conditioning reflects the demands of the game. Basketball is an interval sport, so training with this style (high intensity moves combined with short periods of rest or low intensity exercise) means you'll be more prepared when it counts.

Take Action: Split your team into two groups. One group drills while the other recovers.

Know Your Ratios

When doing interval conditioning, use a 1:3 or 1:4 work-to-rest ratio. This means you rest three or four times longer than you perform high intensity training.

Take Action: Split the team into four groups. Two groups drill while the other two rest.

Add Defensive Conditioning

Your muscular system is conditioned the way you train. During games, you can spend up to one-third of your time shuffling. To reduce defensive fatigue, you need condition with defensive movements.

Take Action: Add shuffles, defensive slides and lateral movement drills to your conditioning program. (See Brandon Jennings's TRX approach.)

Longer Is Not Necessarily Better

The body is unable to perform at high intensities for long periods of time. So limit your conditioning time and maximize the intensity.

Take Action: Limit your conditioning time to under an hour.

Demand Effort

Push yourself  to train at the highest intensity level possible. This is how you maximize results. Plus, when you demand 100% effort from yourself during practice, you can expect even more during games.

Take Action: Push yourself or your team to give their greatest effort.

Change Directions

Basketball requires constant adjustments directionally. Include drills that require you move in all directions as efficiently as possible. This will also help prevent injury.

Take Action: Use 17s, Suicides, and Pattern Runs to perform change of direction movements.

Condition Your Upper Body

You're only as good as your weakest link, so don't neglect upper-body conditioning. You will only be limiting your ability to outperform your opponents.

Take Action: Condition with Medicine Ball Drills, Shoulder Raises and Battle Ropes.

Include Speed Training

Increase your speed and acceleration by adding Inclines and Resisted Sprints.

Take Action: Include Resisted Sprints and Incline Sprints.

If you have any questions, please contact me at train to ball. Want to better yourself even more? Read How to Improve Your Basketball Conditioning.

Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock