What Muscle Should Basketball Players Develop?

Close up of muscular man holding a basketball.

Chances are good, if you are a basketball player, that you want to jump high, shoot efficiently and run quickly. Strengthening your quads, glutes, upper body and core will help build the muscular endurance and strength necessary for the court. Perform two or three strength-training sessions per week to get ready to take it to the hoop.

Get Low

You challenge your quadriceps, glutes and thighs every time you lower your hips to take a shot, crouch to defend a player or pivot from side to side. Squats, lunges and glute bridges are all strength-training exercises that develop these muscles.


Whether jumping high to block a shot, laying the ball of the backboard to score, your calves propel you upward. Barbell calf raises and standing calf raises strengthen lower legs.

Hands Up

Strengthening your shoulders will make it easier to keep your arms up for defense or to shoot the ball. Tone your triceps and biceps to increase your endurance for shooting. Appropriate exercises include triangle pushups, biceps curls and lateral raises.

Imagine squatting for a jump shot. Your legs power the squat and jump, while your core stabilizes you as you lift the ball above your head. A strong core serves as a link between the legs and the arms. A weak core can cause lower back pain and make it hard to maintain proper form, which is essential to shooting. Try planks, hamstring curls and pushups to build core strength.

Pick up the Pace

Basketball games consist of fast-paced movements, quick accelerations and decelerations, and abrupt changes in direction. Plyometrics, exercises that focus on power, speed and agility, improve coordination and muscle response. Examples include lateral zig zags, agility ladder drills and box jumps.