3 Best Plyometrics for Basketball Training
If you know me, you know that I don’t like making lists of the best exercises for jumping higher or running faster. But, for the sake of this post, I’m going to narrow down the vast arsenal of plyometric exercises… All the way down to 3 best plyometric exercises for basketball training.
Each plyometric exercise fits a different category.
The first is a low-level plyometric that works to build a base of explosiveness. It’s also a connected jump, which means you’ll perform this plyometric repeatedly for the specified duration of time. You can think of this movement as a “power-conditioning” movement thats necessary for your ability to maintain explosiveness throughout a game.
Next one is for pure vertical jump. More specifically, it’s a resisted movement that challenges your ability to transfer force through your trunk. The more seamless your transfer of force is, the more explosive you’ll be/
The last plyometric is for change-of-direction, an ability that’s monumental to be successful in basketball. Specifically, it will help you make quick cuts, and change directions rapidly.
I’m also going to give you access to an example program that uses all of these movements in a cohesive program. This program includes:
- A power portion that includes the plyometrics laid out in this post
- Strength section to give you sample strength lifts that will help your basketball performance
- Core work to build a strong and stable core that will help you seamlessly transfer force through your trunk (allowing you to jump higher, cut faster, and sprint faster down the floor)
Alright, enough talk. Let’s jump into the 3 best plyometrics for basketball training:
1. Low Level Plyometrics
The first plyometric for basketball training is a low level, or foundational plyometric. Foundational plyometrics accomplish three things:
- They help you build an explosive base
- Foundational plyometrics serve as a kind of “power-conditioning” that will build your power endurance, allowing you to maintain your explosiveness throughout the duration of a game
- They isolate the multiple joints of the lower extremity (ankle, knee, hip) and elevate their explosive threshold
In other words, foundational plyometrics are important. So important that I couldn’t narrow it down to just one. I chose TWO foundational plyometrics because they compliment each other.
The first two basketball plyometrics are pogo jumps and squat jumps.
Both of these plyometric teach a hooper how to produce and absorb force rapidly through the ankle, knee, and hip. This carries over to the game in many ways. For example, if you’re trying to grab a rebound and you jump up, tip it, and have to jump up again rapidly. But, this isn’t the only scenario.
This said, the pogo jump teaches the basketball athlete to produce and absorb through the ankle. The squat jump throws the hip and knee into the equation.
How to Perform Pogo Jumps:
- Relax the knees. The knees shouldn’t be involved in this movement, but they also shouldn’t be locked out
- Push through the ankles to get as high in the air as you can
- Land softly, quickly absorb force, and rapidly move into your next jump
How to Perform Squat Jumps:
- Emphasize a good landing
- Spend as little time on the ground as possible
- Use your arms to help generate force
- Stay under control. Don’t move forward, back, or side to side
2. Vertical Plyometrics
The next basketball plyometric on the list is a vertical plyometric. his specific basketball plyometric is a resisted overhead box jump. The resistance helps the athlete increase their rate of force production, or the speed at which the athlete produces maximum force. Holding the ball overhead teaches the athlete to transfer force through the core.
If you don’t know, every time you jump, cut, sprint, or perform any other athletic movement, you transfer high amounts of force through the core/trunk. If your trunk isn’t stable, you’ll leak force. This means you won’t jump as high, run as fast, or cut as quickly,
The MB overhead box jump teaches the athlete to transfer force through the core efficiently, or else he won’t be able to jump high.
Here’s How to Perform a MB Overhead Box Jump:
- Emphasize a soft landing
- Stay stable through the core
- Jump onto a smaller box to start
- Feet are hip width, no wider
Change of Direction Plyometrics
There are limitless scenarios in which you have to change directions in basketball. We need to make these movements as efficient as possible if we want to make rapid cuts and change directions on a dime.
The next basketball plyometric will help with that. It’s a single leg to 90 degree broad jump.
This plyometric for basketball players works multiple facets of athleticism. The first aspect of athleticism it works is your amortization phase. This is the time you’re in contact with the ground. Obviously, the lower your ground contact time is, the faster you’ll be able to cut on a dime.
The single leg to 90 degree broad jump also works both unilateral horizontal and lateral power. Unilateral horizontal power will grant you an explosive first step. Lateral power will make your cuts more explosive.
Keep in mind that this basketball plyometric is advanced. You definitely have to build up to it. If you don’t, you’ll risk injury to the knee or ankle. Once you’ve built up properly (you can learn how to do this here), this basketball plyometric will be an extremely powerful training tool.
Here’s how to perform the Single Leg to 90 Degree Broad Jump:
- Emphasize short ground contact time and a seamless transition from the horizontal to lateral jumps
- Don’t get stuck in the mud
- Land soft
BONUS: Your Basketball Plyometric Workout
Now that you’ve seen the three plyometrics, here’s how I would plug them into a basketball plyometric and strength training workout:
1. Pogo Jumps 2×10 Seconds
The goal of this movement is to build the explosive capacity of the ankle. Perform as many jumps as you can in the allotted time while using as little knee and hip involvement as possible.
2. Squat Jumps 2×10 Seconds
There are a few key points you want to keep in mind when you perform squat jumps. The first is to emphasize a great landing. Land softly and stick the landing. That means your hips shouldn’t sink when you make contact with the ground. Next you want to make sure you stay under control while jumping. Don’t move forward, back, or side to side. Stay in one spot.
3. Single Leg Broad to 90 Degree Jumps 4×1 Each Leg
The main point of emphasis with this basketball plyometric is to spend as little time on the ground as possible when transitioning between jumps.
4. MB Overhead Box Jumps 8×1
Start small here. Many athletes underestimate the difficulty of this movement. Start on a small platform and gradually build up.
5. A. Accommodating Resistance Back Squat 6×3
Grab some bands and place them around each side of the barbell. This will allow you to accelerate through the entire range of motion of your squat, which will carry over to more power and explosiveness. Move the bar as fast as possible, and don’t go to crazy on the weight.
5. B. Single Leg Tuck Jump 5×1 Each
The goal of pairing these two movements is to increase rate of force production on the single leg tuck jumps. The heavy resistance of the back squat excites the nervous system. You can then use your hyper-stimulated nervous system to perform the tuck jumps with more explosiveness.
When you perform the tuck jumps, make sure the knee doesn’t collapse. Also ensure you reach full hip extension before tucking the knee.
6. Barbell Reverse Lunge 3×4 Reps Each
Heavy reverse lunges are incredible for your athleticism. They improve first step quickness, sprint speed, and play a role in increasing horizontal force production. I programmed low reps here, so raise the intensity.
7. Banded Kettlebell Swing 3×10 Reps
Here’s another accommodating resistance movement. Perform the 10 reps with full intent and explosiveness to gain the full benefits.
8. Weighted Seated Dead Bugs 3×10 Each
Finally, we finish with some core. Seated dead bugs are a great core stability movement, and when you add weights, it only amplifies the difficulty. Make sure to keep the chest up the entire time you perform your seated dead bugs.
More Basketball Plyometrics and Workouts
You know you need more than a handful of exercises to become a better basketball player
In fact, you need an ENTIRE PROGRESSION to really reach elite levels of basketball athleticism.
To learn how to craft your own approach to plyometric training, and improved basketball performance, you can join my FREE Advanced Vertical Jump Series.
Inside, you’ll learn how to turn high levels of strength into a higher vertical…
What to train before you start jumping…
How to progress your plyometric training…
And a whole bunch more.
Hit the link below to join the fun. Enrollment closes Sunday, December 10th, 2023 at 11:59 PM EST…