How to Train for Basketball


With a combination of blazing speed, incredible quickness, and ridiculous jumping ability professional basketball players are some of the most athletic people on the planet.

While they’re blessed with a tremendous amount of natural ability, they also train to elevate their game to the next level.

How can you do the same?

How can you train for basketball greatness?

It all starts with strength training.

Strength Training for Basketball

Jumping ability is one of the most important physical attributes for any basketball player, so you’ll want to work on plyometric exercises to jump higher like I’ll mention later in this article.

However, when you lift weights and get stronger, especially in your legs, you’ll improve your jumping ability as well.  

Scared that lifting weights is going to ruin your game? Mess up your shot?

It won’t.

Lifting weights will make you stronger, faster, and more athletic.

Look, you don’t need to be a bodybuilder, but adding strength and a few pounds of muscle will help you become a better basketball player. Period.

To work on your lower body strength, you’ll want to include some of the following exercises in your training program::

  • Squats
  • Deadlifts
  • Step Ups
  • Lunges

Of course, upper body strength is also important, and the exercises below will help you get stronger and add muscle:

  • Pull Ups
  • Push Ups
  • Rows
  • Shoulder Presses
  • Bench Press Variations

Plyometric Training for Basketball

Plyometrics for Basketball Training

As you know, jumping ability is one of the most important attributes of an elite basketball player. What exercises are great at improving your jumping ability? Plyometrics.

If you look at the training program of any professional basketball player you’ll notice they’re doing various type of jumping exercises.

These exercises likely include jumping on boxes, jumping off boxes, jumping vertically holding dumbbells, jumping with bands attached at their waste - all are examples of plyometrics.

Which ones should you include in your training? Well, it depends on your ability level, but listed below are a few exercises to get started:

  • Squat jumps
  • Skater plyos
  • Broad jumps
  • Bounding

Speed and Agility Training for Basketball

Just like jumping ability, speed and agility are important for any basketball player.

Because of the dynamics of their sport, basketball players need more quickness and acceleration than nearly any other athletes.

Being able to get a steal and take off on a fast break takes quickness and acceleration - same with playing lock-down defense.

Speed and agility training for basketball therefore requires exercises that work to improve your first few steps, both linearly and laterally.

Here are a few speed and agility exercises to include in your training:

  • Cone drills (Shuffles, sprints, pro agility, band resisted)
  • Half and full court sprints without bands (Longer rest between sprints for speed training)
  • Band resisted sprints (Starts and longer sprints of half and full court length)

On Court Work

Of course, the majority of your training time will take place on the basketball court - working on your shooting and dribbling.

You may lift weights or do some type of speed, agility, or plyometric training for 45-90 minutes in a day, but you’ll spend much more time actually working your basketball skills.

How to Train for Basketball - Key Takeaways

To become a complete basketball player you’ll need to work on your weaknesses and elevate your strengths.

As you work your way up in your basketball career, other players will be taller, faster, and jump higher, but you need to focus on how YOU can improve.

How are you going to elevate your game? By working hard every day to get stronger, faster, and quicker. These training tips will help.


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