The most common focuses when it comes to basketball training are skills drills, shooting practice, and, of course, conditioning. While all of these are essential for overall development, there is one focus that is often missed that could be the key to taking your game to the next level- strength training.
In basketball strength training, moving your body in different ways is crucial to help build muscle around the joints used most in games. Taking the time to train improves not only your strength, but also flexibility and endurance. Which gives you an edge as an all-around player the time season rolls around. It also significantly reduces the risk of injury! The less time spent injured, the more time spent playing, and practicing. Here are 5 easy ways you can incorporate strength training into your routine right now.
1. Start With Dynamic Warm-Ups that Focus on Stability
Before you even start a workout, it is important to start with a warm-up. Dynamic warm-ups help to gradually increase body temperature while strengthening and stretching your joints and muscles. Heel walks, lunges with a twist, and hip cradles are just a few stability stretches you can add into your warm-up rotation. Do each exercise for 10-15 seconds and repeat 2-3 times.
2. use a weighted basketball
Using a weighted basketball in rebounding or dribbling drills helps build wrist and forearm strength. Dribbling with a weighted ball builds arm strength to give you a more powerful, purposeful dribble. It also builds grip strength for tighter ball handling. As the ball forces your body to use those muscle groups, they strengthen, and so does the muscle memory related to those movements.
3. do body weight exercises in between reps and drills
Adding 8-10 reps of simple body weight exercises like push-ups, squats, and ab-focused movements (sit-ups, crunches, mountain climbers, etc.) in between drills keeps your heart rate up, which builds stamina and endurance, but also works to build strength. With body weight training, you have the option to easily change or add-in different exercises based on the drills you are doing.
This drill is a great example of doing a cardio workout in between shots. If you would rather build strength, try push ups or squats.
4. add in resistance band exercises
Resistance bands are an underrated method to strength training, especially for basketball players. You can use resistance bands when doing side shuffles to build your glutes and to help maintain hip and knee alignment. Or you can use resistance bands for running and conditioning drills to focus on explosive movements while building leg strength. Bands also have different levels of resistance so you can increase resistance and intensity as you progress.
5. end with a lift
For players looking to improve overall muscle mass and strength, ending basketball workouts with a lift is a great option. You can take your time perfecting form and increasing weight. Lifts to incorporate could include back squats, hang cleans, and single leg deadlifts. All lifts are compound movements (using entire body), but do put more of a focus on your legs to improve explosiveness. Start with low weight for 10-12 reps each exercise and then add weight and lower rep count each week. For high schoolers that are ending workouts with a lift, it is only recommended to strength train 2-3 times a week to be able to give your body time to recover.
remember to stretch
Because of the new muscle groups being used and the strength that is being built, you will be sore. Which is why it is important to remember to stretch after your workouts too! Stretching keeps muscles flexible and strong to help with overall range of motion. If your joints and muscles are put under too much stress and are not stretched, they will tighten and weaken faster. Outside of basic stretches, foam rolling and hip mobility are different ways to stretch to keep your body feeling good!