One of the best parts about about strength training, is seeing the change in an athlete’s game. They’re moving faster, reacting with more confidence, scoring more, and winning. We see this time and time again with basketball players who might be lean and scrawny coming from high school. After spending some time in the college weight room doing targeted basketball workouts, both their physique and their game improves.
While basketball players need to be physically gifted from the start, height and build aren’t all that make up a great basketball player…
Basketball demands power, lateral quickness, and agility.
Strength training looks to elevate things like your vertical jump, and get you a little stronger and more stable. These qualities are built in the gym with targeted basketball workouts. Try this this set-up for basketball workouts.
And don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about all those athletes stuck at home or without access to a gym. Here’s a few great workouts for basketball players at home:
BASKETBALL WORKOUTS AT HOME
- Vertical Jump Training at Home
- 5 Ways to Be a Better Athlete at Home
- Bodyweight Workouts to Increase Speed
Vertical jump is obviously a major attribute of basketball. As a basketball player, if you can develop an elite vertical jump, you can count on being noticed. To see everything I’ve learned about increasing vertical jump over the years, check out the Elite Vertical Academy.
Here’s a weekly (microcycle) set-up I’ve put together to organize your training. If you’re a basketball player spending time in the weight room, this is what your day-to-day should look like. I’m also going to cover where you should be applying your training stimulus to see the best results on the court.
Like I always say, the weight room is just a tool to make you better at your game.
Weekly Training for Basketball Workouts
For a basketball player, you should be shooting for a two or four day training split. Four days allows you to hit both upper and lower body twice.
This is the perfect split for high school and college aged athletes.
Day 1- Monday
Lower Body Strength and Bilateral Plyometrics
Bilateral Plyometrics refer to any plyometric movement where you take off with both feet. This is where you can begin working on a good foundation.
You’ll be working on things like…
- Force Absorption
- Force Production
Both of these elements are so essential to basketball. In order to produce a massive vertical jump, you need to be able to absorb force through the ground, yet also produce force and get UP.
Here’s a few of the best exercises to work on bilateral plyometrics:
- Box Jump
- Seated Box Jump
- Approach Box Jumps
- Broad Jumps
- Pogo Jumps
- Squat Jumps
The best part about all of these drills is that you can build on them and advance. Think about going from simple, to complex. Isolate then elevate. A good example might be going from a regular box jump to a reactive broad jump.
For the second part of this workout we’ll be hitting lower body strength. Between the two lower body days in this weekly training split for basketball workouts, I like to dedicate one day to a back squat and the other to trap bar deadlift.
For both of these compound lifts, there’s a number of variations you can use to get strong in both lifts. For Day 1, you’ll squat.
There’s a number of variations you can use to vary your squat. Be sure to check out my 1 Month Squat Plan. You can change it up by adding on accommodating resistance (using bands), a chain, or add a box to make it a box squat.
After the compound lift, your focus should be on a unilateral, auxillary movement, in which the focus is on one leg at a time such as:
- Bulgarian Split Squats
- Reverse/Lateral/Forward Lunge
Superset this with a hinge movement that works across the hips and the glutes.
This kind of drill trains powerful hip extension which you use while jumping.
- RDL/ Single Leg RDL
- KB Swing
For day one of our basketball workout plan, I like to have my athletes finish up with some hamstring and core work. An easy partner drill for hamstring strength is a Nordic Curl or Buddy Curl.
Three rounds of 30-60 second planks and side planks is a great way to end day one.
Day 2 – Tuesday
Upper Body Strength/Change of Direction/Acceleration
When you’re playing basketball, typical sprinting no longer takes place. Instead, you’re running up and down the court in multiple planes of motion.
That’s why I actually don’t do a ton of sprint training with my basketball athletes in the gym. If you can utilize the right basketball workouts in the weight room to elevate your strength, it’ll transfer over to the court.
When working on change of direction or COD, there’s a few elements I like to break down:
- Low- Level Plyometrics
- Lateral Line Hops (inversion/eversion of the ankle)
- SL broad to 90 degree turn (pivot off the hip)
To work on acceleration you want to start off using linear movement. The goal is to progress into running half circles as you would in a game setting – using a half arc and quarter arc pattern to emulate this.
Some great ways to be working on linear reactivity might be with:
- Lateral shuffle
- Shuttle Run
- Mirror Drill
In the next part of your basketball workout session (of Day 2), you’ll be using a horizontal press as our main lift. I’ll occasionally add landline pressing into the workout, but a few compound movements might be:
- Neutral grip dumbbells press
- Close grip bench press.
For our supplemental movement I like to add in a lot of pulling movements. Everything you do in basketball, from dribbling to shooting is very front body dominant, so it’s important to balance everything by working on movements that retract the scapula.
Some of my favorite pulling movements basketball training are:
- Face pulls
- Horizontal row
- Single arm high band pulls
You can finish off day two with some arm work focusing on the triceps or shoulders as well as some core.
*The next day (Wednesday) should be your off day.
Day 3 – Thursday
Lower Body Strength and Unilateral Plyos
It’s day 3 of our basketball workout training schedule.
Unilateral plyometrics allow us to isolate one side and elevate each leg at a time. In basketball, it’s common for guys to favor one leg or use their “power leg.” when going up for a layup or a dunk.
If you look at most guys in the NBA, they might favor a leg but they’re great on both. Elite players transition seamlessly between sides. That’s why we want to become individually strong, using both legs.
Here’s some great single leg drills for basketball:
- Vertical Jump
- Broad jump
- Skater jumps
As we move into this second lower body strength workout of the week, we’re switching up our compound lift.
During the off-season, you should be really focused on building strength. If you squatted on day 1, today you’ll be using a trap bar deadlift. This is a great lift for any athlete, particularly basketball players working on their vertical.
You can always vary the trap bar deadlift by using different modalities such as adding in bands or a tempo.
For your Day 3 supplemental exercises, you’ll pick a bilateral strength drill (using both feet) and another hinge movement.
Let’s move onto your final training session of the week.
Day 4 – Friday
Upper Body Strength and Power
I like to use day four to incorporate some power training. This will help you with with overall speed, strength, and even ball handling out on the court.
One way that I love to get basketball players to work on power is using medicine balls to toss around.
Here’s some great drills:
- Backwards med ball toss
- Vertical Toss
- Forward chest pass
- Med ball side toss (lateral twist)
The objective is to move a small amount of resistance as fast as you can. This is where we being to transform strength into game-time speed.
To finish up with upper body strength, this is a chance for you to hit a lot of volume and really build a solid upper body that’s resilient on the court. You can utilize another push/pull compound movement, a form of horizontal press and a row of some sort.
I also like to incorporate a lot of integrated core movement such as:
- Suitcase carries
- Bottom-up KB
- Overhead dumbbell walks
- Barbell russian twists
These are excellent for working on strength in the trunk and helping you stay controlled as you move around in a game.
I wanted a chance to talk with you guys about my thoughts on basketball workouts. This is a simplified version of one week of training from my best selling program, bringing you the best basketball training available.
Imagine showing up at camp for your next season and dominating on the court… Your speed is there. You strength is on point. Your vertical power? Through the roof.
If you want to grow stronger in every area as a basketball athlete, I highly suggest investing in a well-designed program like the Built 2 Ball basketball performance system.
Above, I give you a weekly sample of what your typical training week would look like including both upper and lower body basketball workouts. The most important factor of the Built 2 Ball program is the periodization you need for optimal training during the off-season.
4 key factors to basketball performance:
#1: Strength – you need a blend of relative and absolute strength that translates to explosiveness on the court.
#2: Power – basketball utilizes lots vertical power as players are going for dunks. It also requires horizontal power which plays a role in first step quickness and getting to net first.
#3: Acceleration and Deceleration – basketball is a game where the difference between scoring or getting stuffed is based on how quick you can move in and out of tight situations.
#4: Agility – proper agility training allows you to make cuts on the offense and also secure a lock-down defense.
Give this week of training a try first, or jump right into the Built 2 Ball training for the best season of your life.
I’m so confident in this basketball workout program, I’ll throw you the 90-day hooping’ guarantee. If you don’t come out a better player, you pay nothing.