How to Train for Basketball

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A good basketball workout program builds strength, flexibility, speed and agility. Players should integrate many forms of training, including plyometric exercises, weightlifting, wind sprints and instability training. Their regimen should blend explosive movements with endurance movements to simulate game actions. They work their whole body, especially their core muscles, and incorporate basketball skill development. Players should start with light weights and simple drills and progress gradually to prevent training injuries.

Tailor Your Workout Program

  • Design a basketball workout program for your body type, fitness level, age, stage of development and the position you play on the court. Use speed and agility drills to improve your footwork and coordination. Develop more explosive power and strength to improve your leaping ability. Build upper body strength to extend your shooting range and your ability to win rebounding battles. Adhere to a protein- based diet that will allow you to properly to fuel your workouts. Use training supplements as needed, but do not use supplements to replace a proper diet.

Use Plyometics to Build Explosiveness

  • Use plyometric exercises like jump squats, depth jumps, standing long jumps and box jumping to help you elevate to the rim. Stack.com notes that "plyometrics involve stretching the muscles before quickly contracting them to generate power. When used properly, plyometrics for basketball can help you develop a solid strength base, increase your vertical jump, improve your speed on the court and hone your ability to decelerate." Also use instability training with devices like balance boards to increase your foot and ankle strength.

Build Your Legs, Core and Upper Body

  • Use resistance training to build leg strength, upper body strength and core muscle strength and flexibility. Step up your activity between seasons. "I lift legs/core twice a week and upper twice a week," NBA guard Andre Iguodala told the USA Basketball website. Effective exercises include chin-ups, alternating dumbbell incline presses, dumbbell push press, dumbbell row pull, dumbbell power shrugs, dumbbell squats, leg presses, leg extensions, leg curls, calf raises, medicine ball twist tosses, medicine ball crunches, medicine ball squat press and standing ab crunches.

Develop More Speed and Agility

  • Use lateral slide drills to improve your defensive ability. Use running backboard taps to build leaping ability. Use "star drills" to shift between forward sprints and quick back peddles. Jump rope to get quicker feet. Dribble the length of the court at top speed and finish with lay-ups. Run wind sprints because the game gets much faster as you get older. Denver Nuggets strength and conditioning coach Steve Hess told MensFitness.com that he expects expects his big men to run the length of the court, up and back, in 12 seconds. His smaller players must average 11 seconds.

Refine Your Basketball Skills

  • Keep refining your shooting mechanics and polish your ballhandling. Run through individual drills daily to build strong muscle memory. Even established NBA players work on their skills several times a week as part of their offseason programs. Forward Amar'e Stoudemire shared his program with the USA Basketball website: "I start with inside work: jump hooks, baby hooks, short jumpers. Then I move to perimeter stuff: ball handling series, face-up moves, game shooting." Guard Deron Williams said he practices perimeter shots "from spots I don't shoot well from in game. I record shots/makes and compare to last year's numbers."

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