Basketball Strength Training – Workout Guide

Do you want to feel mentally and physically stronger on the court? More in control of your your own body and your opponents’?

Strength training is an important aspect of any athlete’s workout regimen. Mastering an effective basketball strength training regimen is essential to stay competitive. Strength is an attribute that easily diminishes when it’s not maintained, and thus, consistent training is a must.

The common misconception, however, is that most people view strength building as simply lifting weights. While lifting dumbbells and barbells are part of the training, they’re not all it’s about.

Strength builds power, and with power, you’ll get to improve your speed, endurance, and presence on the court. Let’s begin by dissecting the reasons why basketball strength training is essential.

The Purpose Of Strength Training

You may be the most skilled basketball player in the world, but if you aren’t strong on your feet, you can easily be pushed around by competitors who are stronger than you. You can apply all the tricks in the world, but if you easily lose balance with a slight nudge, you’re of no use to your team.

The stronger your muscles are, the more force you can exert, and the more force you produce, the higher you can jump, the more effective you are at defending yourself, and the faster you can run. Essentially, you become a better player all around.

The benefits you can expect from basketball strength training include:

Common Strength Training Mistakes

If you’ve never done it before, there are certain things that you need to avoid. Strength training is essentially building muscles but that doesn’t mean your goal should be to look like a bodybuilder or build bigger biceps.

Here are common mistakes to avoid:

  1. Hiring a trainer with no background or proven history improving athletic performance. Just because someone is good at playing basketball or they’re a popular fitness trainer, doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the most ideal trainer for you. You’d need to look for someone who knows about strength training specifically to improve your performance in the game.
  2. Working out like a bodybuilder. Bodybuilders work out to make their muscles bigger and bigger. They spend hours on any given day on one specific muscle. They do this either to look good, or to compete in shows – which are goals that don’t actually meet yours.Bodybuilding workouts actually kill reactive strength, making your reflexes slower to react on the court, and that’s the exact opposite of what you want. So stay away from any bodybuilding workout regimens, they’re not for you.
  3. Training to look good. You have to train to improve your performance, and not to look good or add muscles to your abs. You’re training to jump higher, to keep your balance, to improve your shots, to last longer on the court, and essentially to become the best basketball player you can be.You’re not training to have bigger biceps or pecs, but you’re training to build athletic power and muscle strength.

In terms of the specific demands for basketball, you’d need to focus on the following goals:

  • to improve rapid acceleration and deceleration
  • to speed up change of direction without losing balance
  • to improve fast-paced movements
  • to improve jumping ability
  • to improve throwing ability

While strength training does not meet these goals directly, think of it as a means to an end. You build muscle so you can enjoy the power and endurance to meet such goals.

The Three Different Phases of Basketball Strength Training

Breaks between competitive season doesn’t mean you can slack off with your training program. In fact, the more you train during off-season, the better prepared you are when the games start to begin. Training off-season means the difference between a good basketball player and the best basketball player you can be.

Here are the three different phases of strength training and the specific goals to reach:

Off-Season Training: Building Functional Strength

These exercises focus on core stability. The core muscles include the abdomen, the lower back, the obliques, and the hips. This muscle group is the center of all movement, and its strength must be maintained so you are able to keep your balance and withstand the forces of other athletes.

Pre-Season Training: Building Maximal Strength

The goal of this phase is to maximize strength. To achieve this, plyometrics are the most ideal exercises to perform. Plyometrics or jumping exercises, allow your body to convert strength into maximal power, which you can use to jump higher and perform explosive strength.

In-Season: Maintaining Muscular Power

As mentioned earlier, your main goal during in-season is to maintain your overall strength and muscular size. In as short as 3 weeks of inactivity from training, your muscle strength can start to diminish. And thus, maintaining muscle power is essential if you want to keep your game up during the entirety of the season.

Basketball Strength Training Examples

Your training program will depend on the demands of your position on the court, as well as your current athletic state. A trainer can help you build a specific program that meets you needs, and it should progress over several weeks as you continue to improve.

Exercises to include in a strength training regimen for basketball:

  • pull-ups
  • push-ups
  • dips
  • lunges
  • seated row
  • barbell curls
  • dumbbell standing shoulder press

The workouts you choose are up to you, as long as you target all body parts and workout on a regular schedule. Here are examples of the best workouts you can use:

You can start your first day of training with 10-15 minutes of warm up exercises such as core exercises like planks and abdominals. You can then proceed to doing leg presses, lunges, and back squats, which are to be repeated 3 times with a repetition of 10-15 for each set.

The exercises, the amount of time, the intensity, and the progression of your workout regimen depends on you and your trainer. You can help to create the program that helps to improve your performance, as well as to increase certain abilities that you may want to improve on.

Basketball strength training is often overlooked as it takes a backseat to skills training and tactics, but it’s essential to bring your game to its full potential. What can your skills do if you’re not strong enough to withstand the physicality of the game? Or if you’re easily injured with a simple push to the floor?

To make full use of your skills and talent, strength training is necessary.

Remember, you make your luck before the game starts.