If you’ve ever watched a basketball game, college or NBA, it’s easy to marvel at the athleticism of the players when they jump out of the gym and change direction immediately. Some with blessed genetics can do this, and some can do it at a high level, but I’ll bet for sure that your favorite player includes strength training in his basketball training.
There was a train of thought that basketballs didn’t need strength training for fear of getting too big and bulky and slowing them down. When you have most of the tools to be a good basketball player without strength training, why bother? They would play more basketball and not think about the weight room except for biceps.
But with the rise of the modern NBA with athletic and strong basketball players, you’ll be left behind if you’re not strength training along with your workouts. Muscles, body, and overpowering your opponent shouldn’t be the only reason for strength training, but it’s a start.
Here we will find out why strength training is important for basketball Christian G. Placencia, CSCSstrong trainer for Texas Vocational Academy.
The role of strength training in basketball
Incorporating strength training exercises into basketball training is critical because it impacts and improves a variety of skills needed to be a top player, including jump power, speed, change of direction, and conditioning.
“Basketball players play a very dynamic and agile sport. Players will start in their youth/adolescent years and play year-round with their school and club teams, which places significant elastic stress on their connective tissues such as tendons and ligaments,” explains Plassencia.
Is Strength Training Excellent for Reducing Basketball Injuries? You’re betting your bottom dollar. But here are three critical performance factors that strength training improves.
Better jumping power
Basketball is a plyometric sport and it’s all about the power of jumping and the repeatability of doing it again. The higher a player can jump, the greater the chance of a highlight reel dunk or rebound jump. Not just once, but again and again. A jumping or plyometrics program is essential, but having a strength base makes it all possible. The stronger you are, the more potential you have to express power and not get hurt while doing it.
Basketball is a fast-paced game that requires quick changes of direction because of the end-to-end action and the ability to get around the opponent. Stopping on a dime and the speed and quickness needed to evade opponents and score a goal are improved through strength training. The better a player can absorb force, stop and change direction on a dime, they need stronger muscles and connective tissues to make that happen, Plascencia explains.
“In terms of improved power, by progressively dosing strength training into their weekly routine, athletes can produce more force in the ground, which will help drive power on the court.”
A well-programmed strength training program also improves leg strength, resulting in faster sprints on the court. The bottom line is that even a person blessed with great genetics and strength training will improve, and LeBron James is example A.
If you don’t have gas in your tank, you won’t last long on the basketball court. Many players find that playing basketball is a great way to get in shape. Still, it’s better if you’re conditioned in the beginning. If you watched 4th quarterback, when one team beats another, you will understand the importance of being ready and having great stamina.
Conditioning combined with strength training, especially high intensity interval training (HIIT), will improve cardiovascular and muscular endurance and prepare you for the rigors of basketball, and that’s exactly what you should be looking for in your basketball training.
Why strength training should be part of every basketball training session
“Because of all this constant rapid pulling of the musculotendinous unit (ligaments and tendons), basketball players must be exposed to heavier, slower forms of stress during maximal effort and dynamic strength training. This slower form of force production allows the tendon to “harden” and “shorten/tighten” allowing the tendon to remain durable for years. I like to have maximal effort phases, heavy strength training with lunges, barbell deadlifts and RDLS. Then I’ll gradually move to more dynamic training efforts where we try to move weights at a moderate intensity but extremely quickly and with a lot of intent to go fast,” says Plasencia.
The maximum effort workout for basketball players
A1. Trap Bar DL – 5 x 3 reps – (80-85% RM)
A2. Band Stretch x 12 reps
Rest 2 minutes b/w rounds
B1. SA DB Lateral Box Step Up – 3 x 6 reps.
B2. Northern proximal curls – 3 x 5x
60 b/w rounds left
C1. Heavy sled push x 30 steps – 3 sets
C2. SA suitcase staggered RDLs 3 x 8 each leg
Rest 60s. B/W Circles