Basketball Strength Training


It is extremely important for basketball players to focus on their strength, agility, power, and speed. Like other sports, basketball is “suppose” to be a non-contact sport. Strength conditioning for basketball athletes does not mean, lifting heavy weights, but simply means, to focus on explosive power, for several obvious reasons. With the many various sized athletes basketball offers, strength training is beneficial for pushing through a rebound, or, reaching for the ball during a pass play. These athletes must be able to establish good positions on the floor while other athletes drive the ball around them. This is established with a well designed strength program.

Strength Training for Basketball

Throughout the year, a periodized training plan should be followed through several distinct phases; as each phase carries the athlete through a steady transition into the next training phase. Throughout the pre-season, these areas should be focused on for basketball athletes:

  • Functional strength

  • Maximal strength

  • Power

Training should be about 3 days per week, with bodyweight being the only added weight. 8-12 reps at 3 sets. During in-season training, athletes should be focused on:

  • Maintaining power

  • Weight Lifting

  • Plyometric Training

Throughout the course of 6 months, 1-2 days per week, the athlete should be in the weight room. Throughout the off-season training, the athlete should be focused on

  • Rest

  • Recovery

  • Functional Strength

This phase should focus the athlete on several areas of correction. Strength training during off season is one of the most important times of the year. At this time, the body is preparing the muscles, ligaments, and tendons for corrective training. Restoring balance is another focus that should be implemented. Aside from critical strength training, the athlete should also focus on relaxation and downtime. Rest and recovery is crucial for an athlete to implement into their training phases, especially out of season.


The ability to create great speed and muscle power are strength needs that are necessary for basketball athletes to acquire. Strength and conditioning programs designed for basketball athletes help maximize explosive movements such as jumping and sprinting (rebounds and sprinting while dribbling the ball across the court). Plyometrics and jump training are incorporated into a strength and conditioning program of muscular power. During this phase, maximal strength is built, then converted into explosive power. Agility training is another very important factor that must be incorporated during periodization training in basketball. “Agility refers to the athletic ability to swiftly accelerate and decelerate, to quickly change direction, and to rapidly vary movement patterns. Intrinsic elements of agility include high-frequency footwork or quick feet, speed of reaction and movement, dynamic flexibility, and effective rhythm and timing of movements” (Bompa & Buzzichelli, 2015, pg. 270). Overall, building a strong foundation through a well designed strength training program, the athlete is ensured to reach maximum potential through each phase of periodization training.


Bompa, T.O., & Buzzichelli, C.A. (2015). Periodization training for sports (3rd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.

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