Getting physically and mentally ready for the upcoming season is one of the major pillars for success. We’ve all seen teams that are not properly conditioned wear out during the latter stages of the game and get run off the court. The truth is that today’s basketball is a game of movement, transition, and driving to the bucket for layups or kick-out three point opportunities. This style of basketball requires that your team is conditioned well and can get up and down the court without becoming fatigued. In this article I want to discuss the different muscle groups that are important and how to work those muscle groups to see benefits during in-game situations.
Your quads, hamstrings, and glutes are all very important muscle groups when it comes to basketball training. When these muscle groups are properly trained they will help you increase your vertical and will give you a more stable center of gravity. The first exercise to do that targets all three of these muscle groups is box jumps. Box jumps are an exercise that works to strengthen your leg muscles and increase the explosiveness you have in your jumping. Another great exercise for basketball players looking to increase their leg strength is jumping lunges. Jumping lunges simply take the classic lunge and add a small jump on the transition between switching legs. By adding the jump into the lunge you are adding an element of explosiveness, and basketball at its core is a game of explosiveness.
Your core includes your abs, lower back, obliques, and glutes. Core muscles work to stabilize your body giving you a strong center that cannot be physically overwhelmed. In basketball, these muscles are most important when defending players who are posting up or driving, and are also important when you are driving to the basket or making an attempt to create space to get off a shot.
If time is an issue, focus most of your effort on building your lower back and obliques. One of the most simple and effective oblique exercises is the plank. To do the plank simply get into pushup position, but instead of your hands, your forearms should be flat on the ground. For your lower back the deadlift is a wonderful strength training exercise. A nice bonus of the deadlift is that you also use some of those lower body muscle as well, maximizing your time spent conditioning.
All this strength training won’t do much good if you can’t get up and down the court without wearing down too quickly. That’s where aerobic conditioning comes in to play. When talking about aerobic conditioning recognize that not all running is equal. Because basketball is a sport of frequent sprinting and stopping, our conditioning should look similar to this to best prepare our body.
Another thing to consider, I believe that any conditioning done on a basketball court should include a basketball. The simple reason for this is that when using a basketball during conditioning you not only build your aerobic capacity, but also improve your dribbling skills. There are many great conditioning drills on HoopsU that focus on using a basketball and mimicking game situations.
Bringing It Full Circle
By focusing on these areas of your conditioning consistently, you will become a stronger and better basketball player. Always try to think of ways to make your conditioning time more efficient and effective. The goal isn’t to just be strong, but basketball strong.
Nick Daniels is nationally certified school psychologist and the founder of BestOutdoorBasketball.net, a site that offers basketball-related product reviews as well as tips to improve your game. As a lifelong player of the game, Nick specializes in in the domains of sports psychology, shooting, basketball theory, and maximizing talent.