Strength Training Plans
Maintaining Power and Strength
During the Season

You've given your players strength training plans during the off-season, they've followed them and come back to you bigger and stronger. But now that you are into the preseason, with games only a few weeks away, you don't want them to continue to gain strength - it will throw their shot off, as they will be continually trying to adjust for changes in strength. Plus they should be sore enough from your basketball practices, and you don't want them so tired from pushing weights around that they can't give 100% in basketball practice.

But you also don't want them to lose all that strength they've built up over the past couple of months. So you want them to continue to do some strength training plan, just not one designed to build strength - you need to give them one designed to maintain the strength they already have.

The off season training plan they've been on should have focused on major muscle groups, with 2 or 3 exercises for each muscle group. The in-season training plan will still keep the focus on the major muscle groups, so that one exercise will work several muscles. But there will only be one exercise per group. You still want them to get a good workout, but they don't really push their muscles as hard in this plan - they'll maintain the strength they have built, but shouldn't see much of an increase.


And before we go any further, let me say that I am not a certified strength coach - what I have here on this page is simply what I have pieced together through my own research and experience. So please don't take it as gospel.

If you want more information and a more detailed, thorough strength training plan for your players, try Strength Training for Basketball - a great book with training plans, advice and tips about training for the whole year.

You might also want to check out Vince Del Monte's No Nonsense Muscle Building Program for players that really need to add muscle (especially good for your skinny post players). It isn't specific to basketball, but rather specific to guys who want to increase strength and size quickly.

In-Season Strength Training Plan

  • I like to run workouts as circuit training - 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 15-30 seconds, then perform 12-15 repetitions of squats, rest 15-30 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 seconds in between exercises - because each exercise focuses on a different muscle group, the athlete shouldn't be overworking any muscle by moving so quickly from one exercise to the next

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

  • Eventually, if he finds his strength beginning to decrease, the athlete can move up to 3 circuits in each session

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

  • The athlete should use enough weight so that he can perform the stated number of repetitions, but no more than that (e.g., he can perform 15 repetitions, with the 14th and 15th repetition very difficult). Once he finds it easy to perform the stated number of repetitions, he should increase the weight.
Strength Training PlansResistance Bands
  • If you have no access to a weight room, or are uneasy having your players work with free weights or weight machines, a good alternative to weights would be strength bands, such as the 4-pack Resistance Band Set or the somewhat more extensive Ripcords Exercise Bands - Black Sniper Edition 6-Pack (with DVD). Both use strong rubber bands in place of weights and come with strength training programs of their own - a wall chart with the Resistance Band Set, while the Ripcords set comes with booklets and an exercise DVD. These would also be good for in-season workouts since you can have them in the gym with you - players can go off to the sidelines for the last half hour of practice to do their workout.

  • 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

In-Season Strength Training Plan

The warm-up needs to be dynamic - i.e., not the static, "strike the pose and hold it for 10 seconds" stretches are fine for after the workout but not before it. Warm-ups need to simulate to a less strenuous degree the movements the muscles will be doing during the workout.

Note that if you are having players perform the workout after a practice, they should be warmed up already and can skip straight to the exercises.

There are different ways to approach the active warm up.

The most common warm up:

  • Active Warm Up: alternate jogging and slow running, or skip rope, or bike for about 5 minutes to warm up the muscles. Follow this with:
  • Dynamic Stretching : Arm Swings, Side Bends, Trunk Rotations, Hamstring Stretch, Alternate Toe Touches, Leg Swings

But I think the better warm-up approach is to simply perform the circuit below as your warm up, using low weights and high reps to prepare the muscles to do some work. So instead of doing the circuit twice, players will do it three times, with the first time a arm up circuit.

In-Season Strength Training Plan


1. Chin Ups
2. Squats
3. Bench Press
4. Hyper-Extensions
5. Shoulder press
6. Bent-Over Row
7. Decline Situps


until exhaustion
15 reps
15 reps
until exhaustion
15 reps
15 reps
until exhaustion

In-Season Strength Training Plan

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.

Consider this workout to be an addition to your overall basketball training program; maybe finish up practice a little early two days a week and have your players hit the weight room for half an hour. Be sure they work out with a partner and that the weight room is supervised.

I wouldn't have players on a training plan during the season if they didn't already complete an off season training plan - throwing any strength training plan at a player for the first time will likely make him stronger. Remember the goal in-season is to maintain, not build strength.

Use this strength training plan throughout the season to keep players strong - they'll feel better about themselves as athletes, and they'll perform better on the court.

Please Note: The exercises on this page are given only as reference and may not be appropriate for everyone - consult a certified athletic trainer before using this or any exercise routine with your players.

"Never underestimate the heart of a champion."

- Rudy Tomjanovich

For players wanting to gain inches on their vertical leap:

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

Vertical Jump Program That Works

The online bestseller for increasing vertical jumps ...Click on the image above for testimonials and videos.