Basketball is a complex game requiring a complex set of skills. Along with this, a high level of fitness is needed for anyone who wants to play competitive basketball, making it one of the most difficult sports to train for. Training regimes need to include skills, explosive fitness, and endurance based exercises. Unless you are a pro coach, it can be difficult to work all of this into a single training session, which is why we have created the following list of the best workouts for basketballers.
Why is basketball specific training so specific?
Unfortunately, a lot of high-level basketball players have been blessed with incredible athletic abilities. This makes it hard for the average Joe to crack into even low-grade competitive teams unless they are training smart and working hard.
First, you need to think about your skills. If you are naturally a little slower or have a little less endurance, you need to make up for it by improving your ball handling. The best way to do this is to practice. The more you practice things like shooting, dribbling, or even passing, the better you will get at them. Remember, practice doesn’t make perfect – perfect practice makes perfect. Always train the way you want to play, and don’t let yourself fall into bad habits while practicing.
You can also improve your basketball related fitness levels if you are willing to work hard and out in the hours. Although a lot of people are too lazy to train hard enough to become a high level basketballer, you will find that putting in the hours really does help. Before increasing your training load you may have been an average player, but after a lot of basketball specific fitness training you will probably find yourself cracking into the best players most games – try it and see!
So, without further ado, here are our favourite basketball specific workouts and exercises. Try and include a few of these in your training program every week for maximum improvement!
- Romanian Deadlifts
Sure, this might sound like a bit of a strange exercise, but it is an extremely important and useful one when it comes to basketball training. The Romanian Deadlift will help you be able to jump higher, move more explosively, and will also reduce your risk of injury by strengthening your leg muscles.
How do I do it?
The Romanian Deadlift is actually a very simple exercise which anyone with access to a few weights can do. Start with your feet spread a shoulder width apart, holding a dumbbell in each hand. Keeping your back straight, squat as low as you can, lowering the dumbbells towards the ground. When you have gone down as far as possible, contract your leg muscles explosively and return to standing position as quick as you can. Use a weight which allows you to comfortably do ten reps per set, and at least three to four sets. The key here is not to lift as heavy as you can, but to train your muscles to be more explosive.
Although simple, pullups are a great exercise when it comes to basketball specific training. They can be used to strengthen almost the entire upper body, and are a quick, simple exercise to do at home. Doing pullups will help you achieve the full extension that is required to make an effective jumpshot.
How to do it?
Pullups are extremely simple. Basically, you need to find a bar which supports your body weight (you can actually buy simple ones which hang from the door frames in your home). Begin by hanging from the bar with your arms extended. Your hand can face forwards or backwards, but it can be a good idea to vary your grip between sets. Pull yourself up from the hanging position until your chin is at the level of the bar. Immediately lower yourself, making sure that you extend your arms fully between each rep. Failing to do so will reduce the effectiveness of the exercise.
- Suicide Sprints
Best done in a team environment – such as during or at the end of training – suicide sprints are a great way to improve both your explosive fitness and your longer term endurance. They will leave you perfectly equipped to be able to run out your next basketball game right until the last minute.
How to do it?
Suicide sprints are actually very simple. Participants line up along the baseline of the court. They then sprint to the other baseline, touch it, turn, and sprint back. When they get back they immediately turn again and sprint to the three-quarter line, touch it, and then sprint back. This is repeated with the halfway line and the quarter court line. Once they have reached the baseline after the quarter court line, they then turn and repeat the same thing in reverse, finishing with a sprint from baseline to baseline and back. It is up to you how many suicide sprints you do, but completing five to ten over the course of a training session will do wonders for your fitness.
4, Simple Skills Training
The usefulness of simple skills training can’t be underestimated. Practising regularly can help you get a better touch for the ball, can help improve your control and accuracy, and can definitely make you a better allround basketballer.
How to do it?
Basically, grab a ball, find somewhere with a hard surface or a ring, and get practising. Throw free throws for half an hour. Grab a mate and practice passing to each other. Grab a ball and dribble up and down the court. Simple things like this might not seem like a lot, but they will always help you improve. Remember – “perfect practice makes perfect”.
So Do You Really Want To Be The Best Basketballer You Can?
If so, then make sure that you include these exercises into your regular training program. Note that they are not extremely useful on their own, but that they can help you improve faster when they are added to your training sessions. Get out there, have some fun, and improve your game out of sight this season!