Hard work always pays off in any aspect of life, including basketball. With access to the best workouts and exercises for basketball players, you too can excel at the game and become a superstar someday.
When you look at most basketball players, a tall height seems to be a reoccurring theme. It is generally considered that being tall can give you an advantage on the court. Since taller people are closer to the hoop, they can make shots relatively easier than shorter people. Long arms- which are generally referred to as length, are also great for a defensive game. But is height all you need to be a good basketball player?
Of course, the answer is no. While physical gifts play a factor, that is not the only aspect to becoming a good basketball player. After all, Chris Clemons and Allen Iverson aren’t necessarily taller than average but have stood out and excelled as one of the best basketball players. If you want to become much better at the game, you also need techniques that typically include but are not limited to lateral movement, quickness, and explosive power.
Basketball players can develop all of these skills and improve on them with workouts and training. Even the most talented or physically gifted athletes will never reach their potential and may even struggle on the court if they fail to develop these key techniques. Apart from that, basketball workouts also reduce the chances of players getting hurt. Basketball is generally prone to injuries like sprained ankles and chronic back issues resulting from the physical sport on hard surfaces.
We will examine some of the best exercises, workout plans, and tips to help basketball players improve their speed, agility, dribbling, ball handling, and overall gameplay. There is also an FAQ section for any related basketball workout questions you might have.
5 Best Exercises for Basketball Players
Check out some of the best exercises a basketball player could do to improve their skill.
1. Glute Bridge
You perform the glute bridge by lying on the floor with your face up. Bend your knees to a 90 degrees angle while making sure your feet stay flat on the ground. Take a rolled-up towel and keep it between your knees. Bridge your hips to the ceiling by squeezing your glutes. Make sure that only your heels and shoulders stay on the floor. When you get to the top position, hold it and lower your hips to the floor without touching it. Repeat the above for ten reps.
Glute Bridge improves your firing and muscle-recruitment patterns of your glutes. These patterns are key for explosive movements and jumping.
2. Lateral Skater
Get into an athletic position, close your feet together, and bend at your waist while keeping your knees and arms leaned a bit. Jump off your left foot and land back on your right foot, making sure your left foot is off the ground. Complete the procedure, and the opposite leg you are launching off will form a pendulum through your body naturally. Reveres the motion by jumping off your right foot and landing on your left foot. Do the same reps on both legs.
Lateral skater exercises are for your calves, hamstrings, and quad, which improve your overall game performance. These exercises strengthen your whole pelvic girdle area and, in particular, the gluteus medius. The gluteus medius muscle helps hip stabilization and helps to reduce knee and other lower extremity injuries greatly.
3. Single-leg hurdle hop
Start by standing on one leg in front of a set of low hurdles arranged in a line. Hop over one hurdle, stick and hold the landing on the same leg. Keep repeating this over the remaining hurdles on the line. Try landing softly and absorb the force when your leg hits the ground through your hip and glute. When you finish with one leg, change sides and do the same for your other leg.
Extending through your hip on one foot and landing on the same leg will improve your strength-absorbing ability and reduce the occurrences of common injuries on the court.
4. Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
Hold a dumbbell on each of your sides and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. The weight should be concentrated on the back half of your feet while you’re standing. After that, shift your hips back and go down with the dumbbells as far as you can go but make sure your back remains straight. Fire up your hamstrings and glutes as you come back to a standing position. Do ten reps of this.
The skill of jumping higher and being more explosive comes from how you can hinge from your hips instead of jumping from your knees. The Romanian deadlift builds strength in your hamstrings, glutes, and back.
5. Fingertip push-ups
Get yourself in a wide or narrow grip position for push up. Instead of using your palms to support your body, use your fingertips to hold up your weight. Ensure your neck, head, torso straight, shoulders, and back are stable while you descend. Push up and repeat the procedure for 15-25 reps.
Fingers are important for shooting and passing during basketball games, often time they take a serious beating during games and need work out. These push-ups will make your digits stronger and improve your upper body and core strength, improving your entire game.
Best Basketball Workout Plans
Check out these workout plans to help you improve your shooting, dribbling & ball handling, speed & fitness, strength, jump, and overall gameplay.
Basketball Shooting Drills
Shooting drills increase a player’s skill for scoring in different ways or ways a player can warm up before a game to keep their shots on par. Consistency is important for all shooting drills, so having a set of pre-game shooting drills is an important factor for any aspiring basketball player.
Form shooting is when a player stands directly in front of the hoop and practices warm-up shots with their best form. The player should first develop their ability to shoot in front of the rim before stepping back and repeating the drill for weeks and months to increase range.
Another shooting drill is performed by counting a number typically from 3-7 and then counting the number of makes on different spots on the court.
Basketball Dribbling and Ball Handling Drills
You can handle dribbling drills even without access to a hoop and practice for games. Dribbling drills range from simple ones like wrapping the ball around your head to using multiple balls to do dribbling skills. It would be best if you typically started with simple drills like wrapping the ball around your head in one direction and then repeating it in the opposite direction. You should perform these drills in triple threat positions so you can get situations similar to real-life games.
As you improve in skills and ability, you can try doing the same techniques with a heavier ball or a tennis ball to see how you fare. Hit, pound and bounce around the ball like you would in front of an opponent. If you’re feeling confident, you can try handling two basketballs simultaneously and incorporate the skills.
Basketball Speed and Fitness Drills
Being one step faster in a basketball game could be what completely turns the game over. You can improve your speed and overall fitness by performing some important exercises or drill to improve your speed.
Wall Drive exercises teach players how to position their body in acceleration during the games properly. It also improves their ability and mechanics of putting their feet into the ground while keeping their head up and chest out.
A-Skip exercises help players stay in control of their posture and body. While sprinting, this will help them properly position their hip, torso, foot, and knee while they’re sprinting. It is advisable that players start this exercise slowly and then increase their speed.
Other exercises that help improve speed are Straight-Leg Bounds, 5-15 Yard Sprint Starts and, Flying 10’s. They help improve and develop players’ prime movers – muscles that propel the body forward while sprinting.
Basketball Strength Drills
Strength drills will bolster other aspects of players’ skills such as shooting, jumping, and even the entire gameplay. Walking RDL is a movement-focused drill aimed at making the hamstring stronger, an important basketball muscle. Combining this exercise with the Glute Bridge, which focuses on strengthening the glutes, makes for great practice.
Double Side to Side hop is an agility movement to improve lateral explosion and landing. Since most basketball games are played on the body’s lateral plane, it is important to train your body and master how to move through the plane. Another agility movement exercise is the Single-Leg Jump to Land, which helps improve your jumping and landing mechanics through single-leg movements.
Strength is a very important attribute to have when playing defense. Squat to Lateral Slide exercises help to improve that aspect. It is also an agility movement that takes squat mechanics and converts it to quick and efficient in-game movement. Air Squats will help perfect your squats in the heat of basketball games and reduce any incidences of injuries. You can practice other exercises: 3-step lateral hop to sprint, walking OH lunge, push-ups, and All 4’s Position Shoulder Touch.
Basketball Jump Drills
Jumping drills are all about strengthening your legs to improve your jumping power and explosiveness. You should rotate through jumping drills and pick about 5 of the exercises to focus on at a time, and do them every other day for one week. At the end of the week, rotate the activities and select another 5 for the next. These jumping workouts should have an average time of 15 minutes, and you typically should not spend over 20 minutes on them.
Practice Backboard Touches by trying to touch the rim or backboard, ensuring you get as high as you can even if you can’t reach it. Do this continuously without stopping up to 8 times before resting for about 10 seconds and repeating the process. You can try bench jumps to increase your reach and make the bench higher as you feel more confident in your skills.
Other exercises to improve your jumping are toe raises, rope jumping, partner jumps, double-tap, wall sit, one-man drill, two-man drill, one-leg jump, kangaroo jump, power move jump, and step-over jump. Alongside these drills, you should also do conditioning drills to improve your endurance to get you fit.
General Basketball Drills for Overall Gameplay
Some essential drills greatly improve the game of any basketball player if they stick to their practice routine. Two balls dribbling drills will force players to use both their hands and practice more with their less dominant hands. Defensive slides are a common part of the game, and it takes skill to perfect them without picking up fouls. Practice side-to-side, front-to-back, and back-to-front slide movements, and make sure you can make all of the moves well with both feet.
Mikan drills are as simple as holding the ball above your shoulders, switching close-up layups on one foot, and then moving back and forth from one side of the basket to another. Through the exercise, ensure the ball is high, which will help in the field to keep the ball from defenders. Mikan exercises help players get smoother shots out when they’re close to the basket.
Practice weave drills with other players to perfect passing in transition. Common weave drills you could try are the Full-Court 3-Man Weave, Full-Court 5-Man Weave, and the Half-Court 3-Man weave. The players shouldn’t run in a straight line and instead move back and forth to create space for passing. Transition drills explore 3-on-2 and 2-on-1 scenarios, teaching players how to use a fast break to take advantage of an offensive mismatch.
Workout and Exercise Tips for Basketball Players
- Create a workout plan that specifically addresses your strengths and weaknesses.
- Handle your workout and exercise sessions seriously, just like you would for doctor appointments.
- Practice more shooting drills as it is the most important skill every basketballer should have, so your workouts should start with shooting drills.
- The quality of workout sessions is more important than the number of sessions you have.
- Make sure all your practice mimic game-like conditions and train with game speed.
- Develop a constant free throw routine
- Don’t forget to work on your shot fake.
- If you have a shooting machine, use it to perfect your skills
- Develop different finishes at the rim
Basketball Workout: FAQ
Check out some common basketball workout questions you may have.
How Often Should a Basketball Player Work Out?
There is no set number of days or hours a basketball player should work out; it depends entirely on the individual. However, a regular workout is necessary to keep the individual physically fit and to par. It would be best to craft a workout schedule depending on your body, needs, and training drills. You could also review your workout schedule periodically and make adjustments to the areas that aren’t producing results. Generally, hobby players work out once or twice weekly, and professional players work out almost every day. Whichever workout route you choose to follow, remember consistency is key.
How Long Should a Basketball Workout Last?
Again, just like how often a basketball player should work out, this is entirely up to you. It varies depending on the exercise, workout plans, and level of expertise in basketball. Typical workout sessions last between 90 minutes and 2 hours.
What are the Best Places for Basketball Training?
Most basketball players will train in the gym, especially if it’s a team. Individual training sessions can also be in a court or out in the open like a park. The best places to practice basketball is any open area where there’s space, the surface is flat, and where you feel comfortable.
What is the Best Structure for a Basketball Workout Session?
The best structure for a single basketball workout session should have four phases:
- Warm-Up Phase: Helps the players get ready for the workout mentally and prevents injuries. This phase should last 10-20 minutes.
- Main Phase: This is the workout phase where players train particular aspects as listed above. Players start exercises and drills in succession, depending on which part of their gameplay they want to improve. The main phase lasts for approximately 45 minutes.
- Practice Game: Including a practice game in your training is very important, and it could help showcase particular areas that need attention. Players should do this for approximately 30 minutes.
- Cool Down Phase: Players can then wind down and relax a bit after the training. Cooldown phases last for around 10 minutes.
If a player is committed to improving their basketball skill and overall performance, this guide should get them on the right track to becoming a far better basketball player. Follow the tips, exercises, and instructions to start your workout journey. Create your routine, schedule workouts, keep a training log and get to work.
Remember, the most important part of exercising and working out is consistency. If you keep up with all the workout sessions and follow the instructions above diligently, you will start seeing amazing results on the court in no time.