basketball training

Creating a Training Program for Basketball Players

Basketball is a beautiful sport in which one must possess power, speed, and agility in order to perform at a top level. While simply playing the game will increase your skill it won’t matter when your opponent is better conditioned than you are. Basketball training not only includes the work you put in on the court during games or just shooting around but also weight lifting and cardio workouts. If you really want to take your game to the next level then read on so you can develop your own solid training program.

Weight Training for Basketball

When weight training for basketball, it is important to remember that because of the nature of the sport every muscle group must be built for performance not aesthetic appeal as in bodybuilding.

The training should be kept to a few times a week and only a few exercises each session so that your body may have time to recuperate and not be too taxed to all the necessary cardio, practice, and other exercises that are required in your regimen.

It is a good idea to do a two-day split for your weight training, for instance training on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. If I asked you what area of the body you should focus on when lifting weights for basketball the most likely answer I would receive is the legs. Indeed the legs are the most important muscular weapon in a basketball player’s arsenal but one day per week of weight training will suffice.

With all of the sprinting, distance running, and hours of practice your legs will need the rest and overdoing it with the weights is only going to hinder your progress.


The leg workout should consist of mainly squats varying each week between the other two or three complementary exercises, namely calf raises, step ups, and lunges. Three or four sets in the 8-12 repetition range should suffice and maybe throw in a heavy day once or twice a month for some extra power work.

The second lifting workout should focus on building your chest and back with bench presses, rows, and deadlifts. Similar repetition ranges should be followed. Believe me you will want a strong back when playing basketball it is so easy to get an injury in that area if you let it go unprepared.

The third and final workout will consist of your arms, shoulders, and core work. For the biceps you can do curls in all of their glorious variations. Triceps utilize the triceps pull down or a close grip bench press.

The core should be worked in all three weightlifting sessions. I suggest you invest in a medicine ball or exercise ball for strengthening your midsection. A solid core goes a long way towards your balance and when you’re driving to the hoop.

playing basketball

Cardio for Basketball

Now that we have taken care of you building some muscles let us get down to everybody’s favorite part of training, cardio. Basketball is an interesting sport in that you are constantly in motion but you need to be able to sprint at the drop of a dime. Thus, we will have separate training days for endurance and sprinting speed.

For the endurance part of the cardio run for three miles as a starting point and increase the distance each week until you are running for maximum distance in a 45 to 50 minute time period. I know I hate running too but hey it’s only one day a week right?

If you have access to a track it will help with determining distance when running sprints. Start out with a solid warm up before you attempt a full sprint. Once you are ready to go sprint 100m. You will be doing ten total sprints and taking off some distance after is successive try. So you will run 100m, then 90, then 80 and so on all the way down to 40m. Four of the ten reps will be at 40 meters. You can have someone time you but you will be able to tell if you are getting faster when you are playing ball so the stats aren’t too important. If you don’t have a track to go to use a basketball court, soccer field, or a flat stretch of road in your neighborhood just be sure to adjust the reps accordingly.

So just to recap your training schedule should look something like this:

  • Monday- weights
  • Tuesday- endurance
  • Wednesday- weights
  • Thursday- sprinting
  • Friday- weights
  • No outside training on Saturday and Sunday.


Basketball should be the main staple of any players’ way of life but what separates the best from the rest of the pack is hard work which means staying in top form while the other slack off or show poor effort. Always remember the training you do on your own is going to make the difference between finishing a game strong or holding your shorts in exhaustion. Happy training.

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