What Type of Exercise Does a Basketball Player Need?

Basketball player shooting basketball in to hoop

Basketball is a fast-paced sport that involves short sprints, the ability to jump and the ability to play defense using proper defensive stance. With the exception of dead balls and stoppages on the game clock, players are in constant movement and as such must be in excellent physical condition. From cardiovascular exercises to strength training, physical fitness plays an important role in the overall success of a basketball player.

Leg Strength

Your legs are of utmost importance when it comes to your success as a basketball player. Quickness and explosiveness are two key components to this success. Calf-raises, wall-sits, lunges, jump roping and squat jumps will all increase your ability to move on the basketball court. Squats in the form of defensive slides will develop your glutes, allowing you to jump more quickly and higher. Many players wear ankle weights while doing jumping exercises to give themselves more power.

Upper Body Strength

Although basketball requires a lot of running and jumping, upper body strength is also necessary to ensure that you are strong enough to rebound and take care of the basketball. Pushups, weight training and medicine ball training will provide you with the conditioning you need to hold your own on the court. Core strength is also vital to ensuring that you keep your balance and can be developed by doing simple situps or foam roller exercises.

Hand Strength

You may not often think of hand and fingertip strength in basketball, but these two essential aspects can determine your on-court success more than any other muscle group. You may not be the quickest player or able to jump the highest, but you can still be a successful player with hands strong enough to control the ball and shoot with proper form. Fingertip pushups, ball handling drills with a heavy workout basketball and the use of a grip trainer are all effective for developing these muscles.

Cardiovascular Conditioning

Since you're in constant motion while playing basketball, strength is not enough to ensure your success. You have to be able to run several minutes at a time without stopping, so you also have to be in top cardiovascular shape. Suicide runs, three-quarter court sprints, full-court high-knee runs and full-court sprints done in sets will increase your stamina and ability to get up and down the floor so that you can execute when it counts.