How to Gain Stamina for Basketball
Basketball is a demanding sport that requires high levels of cardio-respiratory endurance. As you sprint from one side of the court to the other, your heart and lungs work overtime to provide fresh oxygen to your muscles. The more fit your cardiovascular system is, the longer it takes to become winded when you play. When it comes to improving stamina, basketball players can rely upon a wide variety of exercises. Workouts such as jogging, jumping rope and swimming can improve endurance by keeping your heart rate elevated for at least 30 minutes at a time.
Adopt a regular workout schedule that includes an hour of intense cardiovascular exercise three to four days per week. Put on a good pair of running shoes and start jogging at a leisurely pace around your neighborhood. Find a steady rhythm that lets you run continually without stopping to catch your breath for at least 30 minutes.
Calculate your maximum heart rate by subtracting your age from 220, as recommended by MayoClinic.com. Use your heart rate monitor to make sure your pulse reaches 70 to 85 percent of this number during your workout; for example, 133 to 162 beats per minute is the range for a 30-year-old man. Adjust your intensity as you exercise to ensure that your heart rate remains elevated for 30 minutes to an hour.
Use a jump rope once a day to help build burst endurance in your cardiovascular system. Grip the handles of the jump rope and jump as fast and hard as you can, causing a spike in your heart rate. Increase your speed until your pulse reaches the upper end of your target heart rate -- about 85 percent of your maximum heart rate. Keep this up for five to 10 minutes before slowing your pace and gradually coming to a stop.
Add sprints to your workout to prepare your body for quick, high-intensity bouts of exertion. Mark out 25 meters – the average length of a basketball court – and practice covering that distance as quickly as possible with sprints. Record your time with a stopwatch and gradually increase your speed each week.
Switch up your jogging routine with bicycling, hiking, swimming and other activities that keep your heart rate up for long periods of time. Enlist a friend or teammate for some one-on-one to keep your body acclimated to the specific aerobic demands of a basketball game.
Stay fit by eating a diet rich in lean meats, leafy greens, whole grains and fruits. Avoid high-calorie foods and drinks that offer little nutrition, such as candy, soft drinks and other types of junk food. Keep your upper body muscles in shape with regular strength training exercises, such as pushups, pullups or weightlifting.
Always stretch your muscles before engaging in intensive cardiovascular exercise. When performing sprints, make sure you have enough room after the 25-meter mark to safely come to a stop without hitting a wall or other obstacles.
For best results, talk to your coach or physician before starting an exercise routine to make sure you are healthy enough to participate.
Based in the Appalachian Mountains, Brian Connolly is a certified nutritionist and has been writing professionally since 2000. He is a licensed yoga and martial arts instructor whose work regularly appears in “Metabolism,” “Verve” and publications throughout the East Coast. Connolly holds advanced degrees from the University of North Carolina, Asheville and the University of Virginia.