Basketball is a sport that requires speed, skill, agility, and, of course, strength. During a game, you have to go up and down the court, battle for rebounds, and do your best to keep the ball from your opponents. Typically, basketball players are tall, tough, and quick, but not all of that is simply due to natural talent. There’s a ton of hard work there, too.
In this article, we’re going to talk specifically about basketball workouts with weights – what they should look like, what exercises are the most beneficial for the sport, and how you can fit them in along with all your other training sessions.
So, if that sounds like something you might be interested in, then keep on reading.
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What Are the Best Weightlifting Exercises for Basketball Players?
When it comes to basketball, we can’t say that the upper body is more dominant than the lower one, as both are heavily used in the game and are crucial to being a successful player. In the Warm Body Cold Mind blog, we’ve written tons of articles dedicated to training the legs or developing the muscles in the back and chest; however, this article will focus more on the kind of movements that are specifically beneficial to those who play the game of basketball. Let’s check out what they are.
The squat is known to be the “king of exercise” and is an absolute must-do for building strength and power in the lower body. They utilize all the muscle groups in the legs, and the different variations put a more specific emphasis on either the quads or the hamstrings, depending on what you feel you need to work on at the moment. Along with working your entire lower half, squats also require you to engage the core and thus are almost a full-body exercise.
Another staple in every strength workout – is the bench press. Many athletes wrongly consider it a “bodybuilding” exercise that doesn’t have a lot of use in functional-style workouts, but that’s a far cry from being true. While it’s a fact that it’s slightly overdone, the bench press remains a fundamental exercise for building strength in the upper body, more specifically the chest, and so it remains essential for all basketball players.
The holy trinity – deadlifts, squats, and bench press is completed on this list as we add this exercise. The deadlift is the best exercise for developing full-body strength and power, and its many variations help you put specific emphasis on certain body parts. Having said that, the deadlift always utilizes the posterior chain to its full ability, and those are the muscles responsible for increasing speed and improving strength. Additionally, it requires your entire body to remain engaged throughout the movement, thus working the quads, core, and arms as well (even though they’re not the driving muscles).
The push press is a great exercise for basketball players as it’s mainly used to build strength in the shoulders – a muscle that’s highly utilized in a game of basketball. Regardless of whether you’re dribbling, passing, or shooting, the strength that you have mainly comes from your shoulders and from the explosiveness you’re able to generate with your legs – both of which get a workout when you do the push press. Additionally, by performing it with dumbbells instead of with a barbell, you can work on any imbalances your body may have, as typically, one arm is always better developed compared to the other.
The pull-ups are an extremely effective movement for building muscles in the back and engaging your entire body at the same time. It’s massively underrated, but it’s an absolute must-do for all athletes who want to work not only on their strength but also on their muscular endurance, as typically, pull-ups can be performed for multiple sets and in a wide range of reps. Additionally, there are many variations of the pull-up – some put more emphasis on the traps, others on the lats, and there’s even a variation that specifically targets the bicep. That way, you can switch up and add variety to your sessions.
We all know basketball is a grueling sport, and those who want to turn pro have to really put a ton of hours on the court working on shooting, passing, and dribbling. So, fitting in a weight training session in between your basketball workouts can be difficult, especially since you don’t want to be too sore to practice the next day. That’s why start slowly with 1-2 sessions per week and then increase the frequency as your body adapts to the new movements and builds strength. Having said that, you have to be prepared for some muscle soreness and possibly a little fatigue, especially if you start to lift really heavy.