7 Essential Workout Exercises For Basketball Players

When improving your basketball skills, it’s important to spend valuable time in the weight room each and every day. Unfortunately, a lot of basketball players don’t know the proper exercises to focus on — or do exercises that actually hurt their game. 

Although a lot of basketball, like most sports, relies on natural talent and gifts, it will only take you so far before hard work and determination is required. This is where your long nights (and even short ones!) in the weight room come in to play.

Improving your strength in certain areas, such as explosiveness, agility, stamina, lateral movement, reflex skills, and vertical can give you an edge over your opponents no matter their natural abilities. 

Below are a list of highly effective exercises for basketball players, specifically designed to improve your game. 

Front Squat

Squats are a great exercise for building strength in your lower body, including your quads, hamstrings, glutes, abs, and calves. These are essential in basketball for giving you solid balance in your defensive stance and overall lower body power. 

To properly do a squat, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Using a barbell or dumbbell, raise the weight above your head, keeping your arms at a 90 degree angle. Lower yourself into a squat position, keeping your back straight and your elbows parallel to the floor.

Side Plank Leg Raise

Core strength will play a major role in your ability on the court. Luckily, there are a ton of exercises that can target this area. This will improve the general facet to your game, including shooting, defense, stamina, sprints, etc. 

In order to do a side plank leg raise, start by laying down on your side and propping yourself up with your elbow. Next, you’ll want to raise your upper leg and hold for at least 30 seconds. To help improve hip stability, raise your arm along with your leg. Switch sides and repeat. 

Wall Sits

This exercise will also target your lower body, more specifically the thighs, hips, calves, and lower abs. Again, your lower body will be essential in every aspect of your game and should be a huge part of your weekly routine. 

Wall sits are dreaded by anyone working out, but the results never lie. To properly fulfill this exercise, squat in a seated position —  without using a chair — with your back straight against the wall. Hold for at least 30 seconds, or until you can’t hold it anymore.

Low-Weight Curls

With this exercise, you are mainly targeting your upper body strength with your arms. Having arm strength will help your ability to shoot the ball, giving you more control and also more stamina. There’s no question that shooting a ball consistently will tire your arms out. 

I always suggest using low-weight dumbbells or barbells — if you’re not using a machine. Due to the low weight, you’ll want to counter by doing as many reps as possible. You want to train your arms to use its strength over a longer period of time.

Fingertip Push Ups

Another workout that will target your upper body strength, fingertip push ups will more specifically target your fingers. Although often forgotten about, fingers play a big role in shooting and passing, but they also take a general beating throughout a game or practice. 

Doing a simple push up will work wonders, but by holding yourself up with your fingers instead of your palms, you can get a more customized workout. Try to keep your head, hips, torso, and neck straight, while keeping your shoulders and back stable. Do as many as you can unti failure.

Line Hops

Line hops can help basketball players simulate in-game movements without the use of any equipment. This will not only help you prepare better for a game, but will help injury-prevention, agility, speed, and footwork. 

All you need for this exercise is some sort of a line, whether on a court or a piece of tape you put on the floor. Using this line, you’ll want to hop from one side of the line to the other. Repeat this for at least 30 seconds, completing as many hops as possible. 

There are several variations of this, which include hopping side-to-side, front-to-back, or doing an “up-up-back-back” — this one you’ll tap your feet on each side of the line, but one foot at a time (it’ll look like your running in place). 

Suicide Sprints

If you’ve ever played basketball before, then you hate suicide sprints. Unfortunately, this exercise is a great way to build speed, agility, and stamina whether you enjoy it or not. Suicide sprints are easy, in that you only need a basketball court and yourself. 

Start at the baseline in a sprinter’s position. When the clock starts, sprint to the free throw line, touch the line, then sprint back to baseline. Touch baseline, sprint to halfcourt, sprint back to baseline, touch baseline. Sprint to the opposite free throw line, sprint back, touch baseline. Sprint to opposite baseline, sprint back, stop clock. 

Keep track of your time and work on improving your time. 

There are a lot of different exercises you can do to improve your basketball skills, but knowing the right areas to target will help you get the most out of your training days.