Basketball Weight Training
Build Explosive, Functional Strength

Are basketball weight training plans important? Basketball is a contact sport. Sure, it isn't boxing, or hockey, or rugby, where hard contact is not only allowed but an actual strategy and sometimes the sole aim of competition. But you can't put ten large people in a relatively small space, and ask them to run in the same direction and not run over each other. Contact will be made - and, of course, sometimes instigated, as is the case with rebounding.

So since we want players to box out well, to rebound with force, to finish their lay ups even after being hit hard on the drive, we want our players to be strong.

In players that have no previous strength training experience, the focus needs to be on exercises that work major muscle groups and not on exercises that focus on smaller muscle sets. This will help create functional strength - it will help strengthen muscles, ligaments and tendons so they are better able to perform the explosive movements that the sport demands of them. As well, stronger muscles, tendons and ligaments are less likely to get injured.

What follows is the basketball weight training workout I give my players if they are new to strength training in the off-season. I generally don't have players weight train until they are 16 years old, but some coaches and strength trainers now say that the players can be younger, so long as the training is supervised and appropriate to the players' ages. Still, I feel sixteen to be a safe enough age.

If you feel you want more information on basketball workouts after you read this page, The Ultimate Guide to Weight Training for Basketball is an excellent book that outlines a much more extensive program for basketball players.

There are a couple of programs that you might also want to check out to help skinny post players gain some bulk - Vince Del Monte's No Nonsense Muscle Building Program and Jason Ferruggia's Muscle Gaining Secrets 2.0. They aren't specific to basketball, but rather specific to guys who want to increase strength and size quickly.

Basketball Weight Training Workout for the Off-Season

  • The workout is designed as a circuit - this means that each exercise is performed once, for the allotted number of repetitions, and then the next exercise is performed, and then the next one, and so on, until one set of each exercise has been performed (e.g., perform the bench press for 12 repetitions, rest for 30 seconds or so, then perform 12-15 repetitions of squats, rest 30 seconds, and then move on to the next exercise.) When the athlete has completed all exercises once, this is considered one circuit.

  • Rest for only 30-45 seconds in between exercises

  • The athlete should begin by completing 2 circuits in each session, allowing 2-3 minutes to rest in between circuits

  • Beginning in about the third or fourth week, the athlete should have gained enough strength and stamina that he can begin completing 3 circuits in each session

  • This routine should be followed for 8-10 weeks

  • The routine should be performed 2-3 times per week, with 48 hours rest in between sessions (i.e., work out every second day)

  • The athlete should use enough weight so that he can perform the stated number of repetitions, but not much more than that. Once he finds it easy to perform the stated number of repetitions, he should increase the weight

  • Try to complete each session in less than 30 minutes - but never rush the workout. Always maintain good control of the weights, and ALWAYS WORK OUT WITH A PARTNER

Basketball Weight Training Workout for the Off-Season

The warm-up needs to be dynamic - i.e., not the static, "strike the pose and hold it for 10 seconds" stretches we used to do not so long ago. Warm-ups need to simulate to a less strenuous degree the movements the muscles will be doing during the workout.

Active Warm Up: alternate jogging and slow running, or skip rope, or bike for about 5 minutes to warm up the muscles. Use long, slow movements to help stretch out the muscles gradually.

Dynamic Stretching : Arm Swings, Side Bends, Trunk Rotations, Hamstring Stretch, Alternate Toe Touches, Leg Swings

Basketball Weight Training Workout for the Off-Season


1. Bench Press

2. Squats

3. Bent knee crunches

4. Lat pull downs

5. Shoulder press

6. Hyper extensions

7. Calf press

8. Bench Dips

9. Leg curls

10.Seated row

11.Torso twists

12.Upright rowing


12 reps

12-15 reps

12-20 reps

12-15 reps 

12-15 reps 

15-20 reps

15-20 reps

12 reps

12-15 reps

12-15 reps

15-20 reps

12-15 reps

Basketball Weight Training Workout for the Off-Season

Athletes jog or bike or skip for about five minutes to cool down muscles, then perform Static Stretches (hold for 10 seconds then switch). Be sure to stretch all muscles, moving the muscle into the stretch slowly, holding the stretch for 10 seconds, before releasing it slowly.

This basketball weight training workout focuses on the big muscle groups - chest, back, legs and shoulders - and makes sure to incorporate the classic multi-muscle exercises such as squats and bench press that will work more muscles at once and provide a bigger boost to core strength.

Once the athlete completes this workout for 8-10 weeks, he should have gained noticeable strength that will help in all areas of his game. From this point, athletes should move on to a more developed program such as those mentioned above.

Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.

Kevin Wayne Durant

For players wanting to gain inches on their vertical leap:

I recommend The Jump Manual - an excellent workout that works!

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