Basketball Workout for Losing Weight

Three boys playing basketball outside

Losing weight requires the successful implementation of several factors. A good diet, a solid workout plan and the will power to see it all through. But diets and workout plans can be tough to slog through if they’re not interesting enough. Incorporating a sport into your weight-loss workout plan will help you stick to it, and also help you achieve a better level of athletic fitness. Basketball, with its focus on cardio and full-body engagement, is a perfect sport for losing weight.


The best weight-loss aspect that a basketball workout offers is high-intensity cardio. Playing on a competitive or recreational basketball team requires a lot of running, and near constant motion throughout a game. To prepare for the cardio demands of the game, run at least a mile four or five days each week. Hit the court and do sprint training, with line-to-line shuttles from basket to basket. Perform shuttles across the length of the court four to six times, and across the width of the court eight to 10 times. Intersperse shuttles across the court with shuttles down the length of the court.To improve your game and to engage your upper body, practice doing the shuttles while dribbling a ball up and down the court.

Strength Training

Even though it’s a cardio-intensive sport, you need to develop basic levels of strength to be competitive, even if you play recreationally. Body weight exercises translate well to performance on the court, and the development of functional strength will help boost your metabolism, improving the rate at which you lose weight. Pushups, pullups, squat thrusts, lunges, side bends and torso twists all use your body weight to provide resistance and engage most of your body’s major muscle groups. For pushups, begin with two or three sets of at least 10 reps. For pullups, begin with a single set of up to 10 reps. for squat thrusts and lunges, three sets of 10 reps will provide a good starting point. For side bends and torso twists, begin with two sets of 20 reps. As you grow stronger, increase reps, then sets to keep the workouts challenging.

Court Drills

The form of a basketball shot engages many muscle groups in the body, and provides a solid overall workout when it’s done multiple times over the course of a workout. From the wrists and arms to the back and legs, most of the body has a stake in every shot. Start every basketball workout with shots from the free-throw line. After a few shots start sinking, move back to the top of the key and continue shooting. Work your way around the three-point line, taking shots from several angles. Your shooting routine should last for 20 to 30 minutes. Next move on to more complex drills, like dribbling from post to post, to improve coordination and increase your heart rate while perfecting your skills. Begin with 10 drives from post to post while dribbling. Drive to the basket with the ball at a full pace and practice layups. Do this for 10 to 15 minutes. The run-dribble-and-jump routine offers a well-rounded exercise, and is an essential part of the game.


When increasing your level of exercise, even with the goal of losing weight, you must consume a diet with enough calories to support the increased activity. Reducing your caloric intake drastically while also increasing the caloric demands that a basketball workout places on your body can slow your metabolism and hinder your weight loss. Consume a balanced diet rich in complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and quality protein. Allow enough time for your body to recover in between workouts. For drills and body-weight exercises, try to rest for at least one day between sessions. A good schedule will begin with cardio, strength training and drills on Day 1, cardio and drills on Day 2 and rest on Day 3. On Day 4, do cardio, strength training and drills, then do cardio and drills on Day 5 and cardio only on Day 6. Rest completely on Day 7.