Any good coach will tell you that there is more to building strong, healthy basketball players than simply running drills and playing games. The fact is that the best basketball players have well-rounded fitness routines that include weight training, aerobic exercise and drills to target the specific skills that require development and training.

It can be hard to look at the many individual weight training exercises and put them together in a way that will help your players develop well rounded physiques as well as muscles that will help them perform better on the court. One thing that you need to keep in mind is the importance of spacing out the days where you target specific muscle groups. There are a few reasons for this.

If you work one body part too many days in a row, you can over fatigue the muscles and this can lead to injury. As well, even before you get to the point where injury is possible, tired muscles cannot be worked as fully and will not develop as quickly. It is better to work a muscle group to fatigue one day and then allow it several days to rest before it is targeted again.

There are two goals to an effective weight training routine for basketball players. The first is to develop muscles that will help them prevent injury. Therefore, the quadriceps muscles which help hold the kneecap in place need to be worked and strengthened in order to prevent ACL tears that can end a player’s career.

You should look at doing leg exercises which will not only give them more height to their jumps but which will also, as previously stated, prevent knee and ankle injuries. It is important to vary the leg exercises so that they develop leg muscles evenly. Unevenly developed muscles can actually pull joints out of alignment and lead to the very injuries you are trying to prevent. You should look at varying the foot position on leg presses and alternate between one and two footed leg presses to help build the quads consistently.

Although many coaches choose to focus on leg muscles exclusively, this is a mistake. You should alternate days where you work muscles in the back, abs and arms with days where you focus on the legs. In addition, weight training sessions should be on alternate days and you should include days where you also perform aerobic training and exercises such as squat jumps and bent-knee jumps.

Basically, a good weight training and fitness routine should look something like this:

  • Day 1: Aerobic training such as running, jumping rope and basketball drills
  • Day 2: Weight training, focusing on the arms, back and abdominals.
  • Day 3: Rest day. Athletes can do some light aerobic exercise if they want such as jogging or jumping rope
  • Day 4: Basketball training such as skirmishes and skills training
  • Day 5: Weight training, focusing on legs

You can feel free to adjust the schedule to reflect the intensity of your basketball training. You can also split up the training day to include more basketball practice and as games approach you should focus more on basketball training and skills development.

What are your thoughts for an effective weight-training routine?

Picture credit: DeusXFloridaCreative Commons Attribution