Getting good at basketball is about more than just time spent on the court. Home workouts can make you stronger, faster, more agile, and less prone to injury – and there are many that you can practice by yourself. Try out these home exercises tailored to the needs of basketball players.
When you’re playing defense, you need to be able to move side to side in a split second. Strengthen the muscles responsible for this movement pattern by doing lateral lunges.
Start by standing with your feet hip-width apart. Take a big step to the right, keeping your toes pointed forward. Squat down with your right leg, keeping your left leg straight.
Repeat 10 times, then switch sides. To make this more challenging, you can hold dumbbells to the side or a kettlebell in front of you.
Strong glutes will help you jump higher to block shots and grab rebounds. Build strength with glute bridges.
Start by lying on your back, with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor.
Lift your hips up, squeezing your glutes. Hold for a couple of seconds. Only your shoulders or upper back and feet should be touching the ground.
Return to the starting position and repeat 20 times.
If you want fast feet, do as boxers do and grab a jump rope.
There are many variations you can try, from a basic 2-footed bounce to a single-leg jump. Hop side to side and front to back. Or stagger 1 foot forward and 1 back, then switch with each jump.
To build your coordination and cardio, add in double-unders, which is when the rope passes under your feet twice during each jump.
Start with a few minutes of jumping, and try to go a little longer during each session.
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Build powerful legs ready to carry you through all 4 quarters with goblet squats.
Start with your feet about hip-width apart. Hold a basketball in front of you, with elbows out. Squat down until your hips are below parallel and your elbows graze the inside of your knees.
Stand up. Repeat 20 times. To make it more difficult, trade the basketball for a kettlebell.
When you fake right and then go left, you need to do it quickly to be effective. Enter the lateral bound, which will prepare you to make those rapid-fire moves that leave defenders in the dust.
Start by balancing on your right foot, with your left foot off the ground or lightly touching it. Then, squatting down about halfway, jump to your left, landing only on your left foot. Hold for a few seconds.
Reverse direction and repeat 20 times.
Increase the strength of your pecs, shoulders, and triceps with plyometric push-ups. This twist on the traditional push-up ups the explosiveness. If you can do 15 push-ups with perfect form, consider adding this advanced version to your routine.
Start in the plank position, slowly lower until you’re almost touching the ground. Push up with force, clapping your hands before landing at the bottom of the push-up position and going into your next rep. Do 10 reps.
Another push-up option incorporates a basketball. Place it under 1 hand and do a push-up. While in the up position, roll it under your other hand and do another push-up.
Keep passing the ball back and forth until you’ve done 10 to 15 reps.
Get ready for fast breaks by priming your cardiovascular system for repeated short bursts of intense effort.
To do shuttle runs, set up 4 markers about 20 feet apart.
Start at the first marker and run to the second, then back to the first. Next, run to the third marker, then back to the first, then to the fourth. Finally, run back to the first to finish.
Repeat 5 times, resting between each round about the same amount of time it takes you to complete the entire run.
Because you’ll play much of a basketball game on tired legs, condition yours to grit through fatigue. You can do this by adding a jumping exercise after each shuttle run — try a set of 10 tuck or hurdle jumps.
Looking for more information on injury prevention or sport-specific performance? Visit UPMC Sports Medicine or call 1-855-937-7678.
Adam Annaccone. “Keys to Training Basketball Players of All Levels." National Academy of Sports Medicine. Link
Deepti Patwardhan. “Five Workout Routines to Help You Build More Explosive Power for Basketball." The Red Bulletin. Link
Pete McCall. “March Madness Workout." ACE Fitness. Link
Pete Williams. “The 10 Best Exercises for Basketball Players." Men's Journal. Link
Shelby Turcotte. “5 Jump Rope Drills to Improve Quickness." USA Basketball. Link
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