Basketball Weight Training Program & Drills

Basketball Weight Training Program & Drills

While there are some key basketball attributes that you may not have control over like your height or how long your arms are, there are others that you can enhance by weight training and practicing basketball drills.

While there are some key basketball attributes that you may not have control over like your height or how long your arms are, there are others that you can enhance by weight training and practicing basketball drills. Since the game of basketball requires you to use your entire body, you’ll want to target your quads, glutes, upper body, and core when doing strength and conditioning exercises. By developing muscular endurance and overall strength, you’ll be able to improve your shot, jump higher, and run quicker up and down the floor. Simply put: the more athletic you are, the better your game will be. 

For those of you looking to become elite basketball players, we’ve put together a basketball weight training and drills program that will increase your strength, flexibility, and endurance. It’s recommended that you limit your strength training and weight lifting sessions to two to three times per week, or as often as your coach or doctor recommends, with at least one rest day between sessions. Sports nutrition pre-workout supplements like Six Star’s Pre-Workout Explosion support muscular endurance with beta-alanine and taurine, and also offer extreme energy and focus with a scientifically researched dose of caffeine. 


Warm Up

Make sure to warm up before your session and cool down after it. Some common warm up exercises are jogging around the court a few times, doing dynamic stretches like high knees, butt kicks, and power skips, and also doing static leg stretches that target your calf muscles and Achilles tendons. 

Lower Body

Back Barbell Squat: For a big vertical jump, you better start squatting. The back barbell squat will strengthen your quadriceps, glutes, and thighs, which are muscles you rely on any time you take a jump shot or crouch down in a defensive position. Stand with the bar on your upper-back and your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend your knees and lower into a squat. Stop when your knees are at 90-degree angles, and contract your glutes and legs while stabilizing your body with a strong torso. Slowly stand back up without locking your knees, and then repeat. 

Trap Bar Deadlift: While barbell squats are a great workout to up your vertical jump, they may be difficult for basketball players who are very tall. Trap bar deadlifts are an excellent alternative since they’re effective at improving strength throughout your entire body. Trap bar deadlifts target your posterior chain – hamstrings, glutes, and back, which are the muscles responsible for speed and strength. Step inside the perimeter of the bar, grip the handles tightly, and squat your hips down with an arch in your back. Then stand up to drive your feet into the ground, straightening your legs and thrusting your hips forward. As you approach the top of the movement, squeeze your glutes together and brace your abs to complete the movement. This exercise also works your core and quads. 

Goblet Squat: Goblet squats will help you develop power in your lower body, while also engaging your core and upper back muscles as you pick up the kettlebell. To do a goblet squat, pick up a kettlebell while keeping your feet flat. Hold the kettlebell with two hands against your chest as if you’re preparing to drink from a goblet. Squat by sitting your hips back and down, while keeping your weight in the heels of your feet without lifting your toes. Your elbows should touch your knees. Maintain contact between the kettlebell and your chest throughout this movement. Then push yourself up, and repeat. 

Upper Body 

Seated Cable Row:  The seated cable row is a pulling exercise that mainly develops your middle back, but also works your forearms. It’s performed on a weighted horizontal cable machine with a bench and foot plates. Set the appropriate weight on the weight stack and attach a close grip bar or V-bar to the seated row machine. Sit on the platform with your knees slightly bent and your back straight. Grab the handle with your arms outstretched and pull the weight up off the stack. Continue sitting upright with your shoulders back as you pull the handle and the weight back toward your lower abdomen. Pull your shoulder blades back, squeeze, pause, and then slowly lower the weight back to the starting position. Then repeat. 

Lat Pull Down: The lat pull down is often performed after seated cable rows. Your lats are crucial for reaching rebounds and shooting. Hold the bar with your hands wide and your palms facing the machine. Start with your torso vertical, arms elevated, and elbows fully extended. Pull down your shoulders, then follow by pulling the bar to your collarbones while keeping your shoulders down. Squeeze your shoulder blades together as you do this. Incline your torso slightly backward as you pull. Bring the bar back up by reversing the steps, and then repeat. This exercise will also prepare you for in-game contact by adding protective muscle to your frame.

Dumbbell Incline Bench Press: If you want to get stronger in the post, have more success finishing at the basket, and improve your rebounding, the dumbbell incline bench press will help you do just that. This exercise will lead to muscle growth in your chest, shoulders, and triceps. Using dumbbells will allow for a greater range of motion that will prevent imbalances. Set an adjustable bench to an incline of 30 to 45 degrees. Then take a dumbbell in each hand, sit back on the bench, and kick the dumbbells up to your chest area. Keep your core braced as you push the dumbbells directly above your shoulders with your arms fully extended. Pull your shoulder blades together, and slightly stick out your chest. Then lower both dumbbells to the sides of your chest. Pause, and then press the dumbbells back to the starting position. Then continue this exercise, doing it for your desired number of repetitions. 


Barbell Roll-Outs: Your legs may power your jump shot, but it’s your core that stabilizes you as you lift the ball above your head. Barbell roll-outs target your stomach, shoulders, and lats, making it an ideal core exercise for basketball players. Get on your knees with a barbell on the floor in front of you and a 25-pound plate on each side. Grab the bar with both hands about shoulder-width apart. Your shoulders should be above your hands. Then while maintaining a neutral spine, slowly roll the barbell out in front of you until you’re almost parallel to the floor. Using your core, slowly roll the barbell backwards until you return to the starting position, and then repeat. 


Two Up, Two Back: The Two Up, Two Back drill will improve your dribbling and ball handling skills. You can either do this drill alone or with your teammates. Set a chair (or cone) about 20 feet from the basket, take two hard dribbles at the chair, and then when reaching the chair, take two backup dribbles. Use a change of direction dribble like a cross over or inside out, and then push ahead into a one dribble lay-up or pull-up jump shot. Once you get the hang of this drill, pick up the pace and go faster than you normally do. 

One-Ball Rapid Fire Passing Drill: The One-Ball Rapid Fire Passing Drill can either be done by yourself or with teammates. Line up facing a solid wall and stand two feet away from it. The begin rapid fire passing against the wall, moving back about two feet with each pass until you’re 10 feet away (5th pass). Then start moving closer to the wall by two feet with each pass until 10 passes are completed. Repeat this 10-pass cycle until you’ve made a total of 20 passes. When doing this drill, make sure to use good passing technique and step into your passes. 

“25” Point Shooting Drill: The “25” Point Shooting Drill can be done either alone or with teammates. If you’re doing this drill with a teammate, make one player the rebounder and the other the shooter. The shooter will have two minutes to score 25 points by alternating between shooting a three and shooting a stop and pop. The threes are worth three points and the stop and pop shots are worth two points. The rebounder will pass the ball back to the shooter after each shot (hit or miss), but the shooter can’t catch the ball in the same spot twice in a row and must use the entire floor. When attacking the rim, the offensive players should alternate between using their right hand and their left hand. The player who gets to 25 points in the quickest amount of time will win this competition. 

Cool Down

After you’ve completed your weight training and basketball drills session, it’s important to bring your heart rate down. Start cooling down by stretching all of your major muscle groups for 25 to 30 seconds.Proper nutrition is also crucial for muscle recovery after exercise. The immediate post-exercise period is the best time to refuel your body with carbohydrates and proteins. Sports nutrition supplements like Six Star 100% Whey Protein Plus can support your recovery since they’re packed with scientifically researched key ingredients.

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