The Best Exercises for Basketball Players

Basketball player making jump shot

Basketball is a sport that requires a combination of speed, strength, power, stamina and agility. If you're lacking in any of these areas, your opponent gains an edge on you. Incorporating the best sport-specific exercises for basketball players into your strength and conditioning program can make you faster, stronger and a better all-around player.

Plyo Pushups

The plyometric pushup is one of the best exercises for basketball players because it builds quick, explosive hands and a powerful upper body, according to Mike Mahon, creator of the Basketball Experts Professional Player Development System. Perform the plyometric pushup by starting in the pushup position with a basketball between your hands. Lower your body down until your chest hits the ball and explode up as you move your hands to the top of the basketball. Release your hands from the ball and return, and repeat for 10 repetitions.

Squat Jumps

Jumping ability is a skill basketball players use while shooting and rebounding. According to Phil Davies of Sports Fitness Advisor, squat jumps are one of the best lower body plyometric exercises that improve strength and jumping ability. Perform squat jumps by starting with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Bend your knees and lower your hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor and immediately jump as high as possible. Land with both feet and lower yourself into another squat before performing another jump.

Olympic Lifts

Olympic lifts such as the clean-and-jerk and snatch use movement patterns similar to those used during vertical jumping. Jack Woodrup, writing for, recommends Olympic lifts for your strength and conditioning program. The snatch and clean-and-jerk improve strength, power and jumping ability along with flexibility, coordination, agility and balance. With the technical movements required to effectively perform Olympic lifts, always have a training partner or strength coach monitoring your mechanics.

Jump Rope

Jump rope is a traditional functional exercise that often gets overlooked within a basketball training program. But a jump rope is an essential piece of equipment for a basketball player. The jump rope develops lower body stamina and strength along with improving quickness, agility and coordination. You can add a jump rope routine into your strength training or conditioning workouts.