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Maximize Your Basketball Potential

baseball fitness programs

Basketball Performance Training

Idaho Fitness Academy in Boise, Idaho


There is one and only one objective of strength training for basketball. And it's ridiculously obvious... "To improve your game."

But as simplistic as that might sound consider this for a moment... Is it fair to assume that when you mention "strength training" to most athletes they immediately think of lifting heavy weights with the sole objective of lifting even heavier weights next time? That's NOT the best approach for basketball players.

To have the greatest impact on your game, strength training for basketball should aim to develop explosive power. And that takes something a little more refined than just lifting heavy weights alone. Follow a basketball-specific strength training program and you will improve every aspect of your game...

  • Your acceleration and speed around the court.
  • Your range of shots and passes.
  • Your explosive power - in particular your vertical jump.

Not only that, strength training for basketball can also significantly reduce your risk of those all-to-common joint and tendon injuries.

The Different Types of Basketball Strength Training

We can split the term 'strength' into four separate categories. Each is important in basketball...

  • Absolute or Maximal Strengtht
  • Muscular Power
  • Muscular Endurance
  • Flexibility

Absolute strength is the maximum force that a muscle group can exert in a single, momentary contraction. For example, a player who can bench press 200lbs has greater absolute strength than a player who can bench press 180lbs. As a basketball player it's important that you devote a portion of your strength program to developing maximal strength. Why? Because it serves as a foundation for muscular power and speed. But there is one condition...

Maximal strength (usually measured by one repetition max) makes no allowances for time - a weightlifter can spend 20-30 seconds lifting a weight inch by inch. That's next to useless in basketball. The ground contacts in most explosive movements (like jumping and sprinting) occur in less than a second! So maximal strength training is simply a means to an end (still a very important one though). And the end is to increase your explosive speed and muscular power...

Power is a combination of both absolute strength and speed of movement. Increase either one (without reducing the other) and you increase explosive power.

Strength training for basketball should fall into some distinct phases over the course of a season. If you can build a high level of maximal strength first, you can then convert much of those gains into explosive power. A very effective form of power training is called plyometrics or jump training - and it's ideally suited to basketball. Plyometrics combines elements of both speed and strength in single movement patterns. But you must have a solid strength base before you move on to these types of sessions.

Pitching, throwing, hitting and fielding involve a considerable amount of transverse plane of rotational motion. Power and speed in the transverse plane enable the player to hit the ball harder. Balance and coordination through the transverse plane, coupled with hand-eye coordination, enable the player to make consistent, solid contact with the ball.

Your ability to perform repeated, high-intensity movements without fatigue is a reflection of your muscular endurance. Improvements in muscular endurance will improve your ability to repeat sprints up and down the court in quick succession. It will also improve your ability to jump several times in succession with minimal loss in power.

Squatting or lunging down low to pass a basketball requires limber limbs -- properly called flexibility. Tight muscles do not stretch readily and, if stretched too quickly or too far, may become injured. Flexible muscles are more elastic and capable of greater ranges of movement. Flexibility is developed by stretching, particularly developmental stretches held for 30 seconds or longer.

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