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This work, "Strength Training For Basketball ", is a derivative of "Dwight Howard, Trey Burke" by Keith Allison , used under CC BY. "Strength Training For Basketball" is licensed under CC BY by


Pro Training Hacks That Will Get You Strong & Fit This Basketball Season

Every baller wants to be the best – and in order to be the best you have to put in the work. Becoming a great baller requires more than just skill development. If you really want to dominate the game on both ends of the court you must invest time and effort into learning how to get strong for basketball.

Take a second to imagine yourself at the top of your game. What does that look like to you?

Now take it a step further and think about your game, if you were the strongest you could possibly be...

 Strength Training For Basketball Players. By BallTillWeFall. Last Updated March 29, 2018 2:16 PM

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 "Blake Griffin " by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you’ve ever been in great shape then you know how much of a difference it makes on the court.

Being strong and fit allows you to get to your spots with ease, dominate the boards and finish in a more explosive manner.

When you are super strong and well conditioned you feel like you have enough energy in the tank to give 100% in the 4th quarter, or overtime if need be.

Strength training can also help prevent season ending knee injuries.

If you want that type of advantage when you step on the court then your focus needs to be on basketball specific strength and conditioning.

Like any other sport, specificity of training is the key to success when it comes to sports performance.

8 Ways Strength Training Increases A Players Value On The Team

Basketball Strength Training provides many benefits to a basketball player including:

  1. Builds a body that is more resistant to injury.
  2. Develops motor skills that promote more efficient and effective movement.
  3. Improves multidirectional force application that allows a player to move faster and jump higher.
  4. Improves the ability of the body to absorb forces throughout the nueromuscular system.
  5. Increases lean muscle mass, making you a more dominant and intimidating player.
  6. Decreases rest and recovery times from high intensity in game and training efforts.
  7. Increases the total amount of training volume that an athlete can undertake over a yearly period without burnout and injury concerns.
  8. Improves an athletes ability to handle physical and mental strength.

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Basketball is a year round sport for most ballers.

If you’re not in season then it’s either preseason or postseason.

Your workouts and drills change accordingly, but you never stop working.

It’s important to tailor your training so you can set appropriate goals for yourself and know how far and how often to push your body to reach those goals.

Off-Season Basketball : Rehab, Prehab, Weight Training & Conditioning

The off season is where you get to work – you’re focus is improving your game on the court and in the weight room.

Following a proven basketball weight training program during the off-season is a great way to ensure that you will come back the following season a better all-round athlete.​

The off season is also a great time to rehabilitate any nagging injuries and address any physical limitations. The pre season is also the perfect time to "prehab" to help reduce your risk of injury in the upcoming season.

Below you will find a list of injuries that are common to basketball players and their potential causes. As you will see, many injuries are caused by muscle weaknesses.

Common Basketball Injuries & Why They Are Caused

The most common injuries in a game of basketball are ankle, knee, hip and back strains, sprains and tendonitis/tendonosis.

These injuries may be caused by the following physical dysfunctions:

  1. Early fatigue (poor conditioning)
  2. Weak hamstring muscles
  3. Weak gluteal muscles
  4. Poor proprioception
  5. Poor balance
  6. Poor mobility and flexibility
  7. Poor movement mechanics
  8. Poor basketball specific muscular strength

The Importance Of Pre-Season Basketball Strength Training

It’s this time of year you’re preparing for your upcoming season.

You’re working hard and pushing yourself to get bigger, faster, and stronger for next season.

The preseason is the perfect time to maximize strength and conditioning without the need to be overly concerned with been fatigued for upcoming games.

Recommended For You: Check out these brilliant basketball weightlifting workout plans .

During the early pre-season focus on form and range of motion more so than pure volume and load.

A reasonable starting point would be to lift a load around 50-60% of your 1 rep max.

We recommend  strength training 3x per week during this period, with an equal amount of speed, agility and conditioning work thrown in. However, remember that concurrent cardiovascular training is likely to lead to poorer strength gains in the weight room.

Research has shown that longer rest times (3+ mins) are best for maximizing muscle strength gains and are therefore very beneficial in the early to mid preseason .

As the pre-season progresses, and an athlete has built a strength foundation the load may be bumped up to around 80-90% of their 1 rep max. This will maximize absolute strength development.

However, as the preseason is nearing the beginning of the in-season, the rest time in between strength exercises and load should be reduced in order to maximize working capacity, which is also a vital component of basketball specific fitness.

Extra focus should also be placed on converting muscular strength into muscular power at this time.

This is done by incorporating plyometric exercises and power lifting. ( Learn how to become an explosive athlete with cutting edge SHOCK TRAINING.)

Remember, basketball requires a unique blend of strength, speed, and endurance. You are only as good as your weakest link.

Prescribing a basketball strength training program that caters for all factors can be quite a challenge. This is a major reason why we suggest following a program designed by a professional trainer when possible.


Important Note For Coaches: If possible, try to undertake fitness testing at planned intervals throughout the pre-season to ensure that players are developing their strength and conditioning.

Here is a great video of an "average joe" participating in a few of the common fitness and skills tests used by NBA teams.

Example Pre-Season Workout Day

Pre-season Basketball Strength Workout Example: All exercises performed at 2-3 sets of 3-8 reps per lift. At this stage emphasis should be placed on range of motion and correct technique.

  • Foam Roll
  • Dynamic Warm Up,
  • Olympic Lift + Glute , Squat + Hamstring, (eg. Clean, Barbell Squat, Deadlift)
  • Push + PullUpper Body, Shoulder Complex, Bicep and Tricep. (eg. Bench Press, Chinups, Shoulder Press, Dips)
  • Core Work

If you are after a professionally prescribed and periodized strength program for basketball to follow definitely take a look at this option.

In-Season Basketball Weight Training Program

Your in-season training is going to be a little bit different because you’re already asking a lot of your body with your game schedule.

Bodybuilding style workouts for basketball are usually counterproductive as they leave you feeling slow and stiff.

Your training outside of practice and games is going to be to maintain your current condition.

At this stage the volume of heavy lifting is reduced with greater emphasis placed on strength maintenance rather than gains.

For example rather than lifting heavy 3x per week as you did in the pre-season, your routine might look something like this: 

  • Workout 1 - heavy lifting
  • Workout 2 -flexibility, balance and mobility work
  • Workout 3- light and explosive

Remember the main priority of in-season training is to keep your body in the best possible condition to be able to compete on the court.

Do Supplements Really Work? Are They Worth The Money?

The science behind the production and design of strength and endurance enhancing supplements has come a long way over the past decade.

It is now very common for pro athletes to take supplements on a daily basis to help them get the most out of their training and to maximize recovery.

Research is suggesting that the most popular and effective supplements such as Creatine are safe to take at recommended doses and do provide significant performance and recovery benefits for basketball players,


Basketball Strength Training Program

When it comes to getting stronger for basketball you don’t necessarily need a weight room.

Yes, you read that correct. Ballers don’t need a big, fancy weight room to get stronger.

However, in order to maximize strength gains nothing beats the benefits that heavy load weight lifting can bring about.

If you have access to a weight room that’s great, but if you don’t then there’s still workouts for you to do.

Recommended for you: Here are 3 weight room workouts for basketball players that you should definitely check out!

Let's take a look at how you can get strong with or without access to weights.

Strength Workouts For Basketball Players

Weight rooms offer a lot of different options for any given type of workout.

To be honest, you don’t need so many machines to focus on the basics when it comes to getting your body stronger.

Your main focus should be to get stronger in the major compound movements. Particularly those that require triple extension (extension of ankle, knee and hip joint).

These exercises tend to have a high carry over to basketball sports performance.

In this article we’re going to keep our workouts very basic so that any basketball player can do it.

These are the fundamentals of the weight room and the best place to start when you’re working on your strength.

Some people want it to happen. Some people wish it would happen. Other people make it happen.
Michael Jordan

3 Best Lower Body Exercises For Basketball

The main focal points for the lower body are: quads, hamstrings, calves and glutes.

As we discussed earlier, the aim of any leg strength program for basketball should be to first focus on developing maximal strength with heavy loading and then convert this into maximal power with lighter rapid movements in combination with plyometric training.

Important: In this article we will highlight some of the best strength exercises for basketball players. If you would like a professionally prescribed program to follow that you can use on your smart phone or other devices to show you exactly what exercises to do and when, we suggest following a program such as The Jump Manual or The Flight System. These programs take the guess work out of exercise prescription and allow you to get on with becoming a better athlete. UPDATE: THE BEST SELLING JUMP PROGRASM VERT SHOCK NOW COMES WITH A BRILLIANT WEIGHT TRAING COMPONENT >> LEARN MORE!

Here are some great exercises to do focusing on your lower body:

  • Back Squats:
  • Start with your feet shoulder width apart and the bar at the top of your shoulder blades. Place your hands on the bar but make sure you’re not applying any pressure to the bar. Bend your knees and start to slowly lowering your body to pretend like you’re sitting in a chair. Keep your back straight and make sure your knees don’t buckle in before pushing yourself back up to your starting position.

  • Trap Bar Deadlift:
  • Trap Bar's offer tall basketball players the opportunity to deadlift heavy weights in a position that protects the spine more than a standard deadlifts. Trap bar deadlifts are great for replicating the jump movement. Stand in the center of the apparatus and grasp both handles. Lower your hips, look forward with your head and keep your chest up. Begin the movement by driving through the heels and extend your hips and knees.

  • Calf Raises:
  • Stand at the edge of a step and lift your heels until you are standing on your tippy toes while keeping your leg straight. Hold on your toes for 2 seconds then slowly lower your heels back to floor. Once you’ve got your balance, add weight!

3 Best Upper Body Strength Exercises For Basketball

Many basketball players neglect their upper body when it comes to organizing a weight training program for basketball purposes. A strong upper body can help you shoot farther, be better at boxing out plus look more intimidating on the court.

The main focal points for the upper body are: arms, back, and shoulders. Here are a couple great exercises to do focusing on your upper body:

  • Bench Press:

First. Squeeze Your Shoulder-blades. Raise your chest and tighten your upper-back. Grab The Bar. Pinky inside the ring marks. Set Your Feet. Feet flat on the floor using a shoulder-width stance. Unrack. Straighten your arms to lift the bar out of the uprights.

GOT A WEAK BENCH?If you are serious about wanting to increase your bench press fast then definitely check this out!

  • Triceps (Dips):
  • Find a bench to use for this exercise. Grip the edge of the bench with your hands on each side of your hips. Next, use your arms to push your butt off the bench and walk your feet out so that your butt is in front the bench and your arms are now straight. Slowly lower your body by bending your elbows and lowering your body to the floor. Go down as far as you can before returning to your starting position.

  • Overheard Press:
  • Start with weights in both hands at your shoulders. Bend your knees and push the weights above your head and hold it there for a moment. Then slowly bring the weight back down to shoulders.

Workouts For Basketball Players At Home

If you don’t have the option of the weight room there’s still plenty you can do all by yourself.

Some of these exercises do require equipment so if you’re going to be working out at home or on the road, I would encourage you to have the following equipment.

Otherwise, be ready to change up your workout according to what’s around you!

With these four items as your weight room, you can have a solid work out.

Your focus is going to be for a full body workout that incorporates the above equipment along with your very own body weight. Three of the best "bang for your buck" home strength exercises for basketball players are:

  • Push Ups
  • Pull Ups
  • Squats

Example Home Basketball Strength Workout

15 minute Home Basketball Strength Workout Example: All exercises performed at 2-3 sets of 6-12 reps per lift.

  • Pushups (standard, legs raised, one arm)
  • Pull Ups (assisted, standard)
  • Pistol Squats (limited range, deep squats)
  • Single Leg Lunge Jumps

If you are after a full 12 week professionally prescribed and periodized strength program for basketball to follow definitely take a look at this option.

Sometimes the hardest part about a workout is figuring out where to start – and now you have some building blocks to creating workouts specifically for you.

If you know you need more upper body strength then you know to focus more on your upper body exercises and modify them to continue getting stronger.

Remember heavy load, low rep with long rest intervals is the key to getting stronger.

With the at home workouts you’ll be able to work out anywhere – home, friend’s house, park, and anywhere else.

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Our Final Word On Strength and Conditioning Training For Basketball

You’ll quickly learn there’s no secret to getting into shape and improving your strength for basketball.

You basically just have to make it a priority every day and soon enough you’ll not only see the difference but you’ll start to feel the difference as well.

In order to get consistent strength gains you must continue to push yourself each and every session. Without adding more weight (progressive overload) your muscles will not adapt and grow.

Keep yourself motivated and find ways to make strength training fun. Add proper basketball nutrition into the mix to ensure you reach peak performance.

Check out the 3 best weight training programs for basketball players here.

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