Any basketball player will tell you the same thing over and over and that is being in basketball shape is different than being in shape for any other sport.
That is because basketball requires so much from your body. You need to be able to run for extended periods of time, while also being explosive and strong on the court.
Not to mention the skills that come with it as well.
That is why in order to really call yourself in shape for basketball you need to have the proper strength, speed, and cardio to really perform at a high level.
In this article, I will be going over the things you will need to do to be in shape in basketball.
1. Playing Basketball
I know this might sound obvious but frankly, the most fun and easiest way to get in shape is to play more basketball.
I highly recommend that you play against other people when doing so.
While it can be beneficial to play by yourself, most athletes are going to give more effort and run harder when playing in a competitive situation.
This could be anything from pick-up games at your local rec, AAU ball, and even one on one against a friend.
Especially if you need to get in shape quickly before a season.
2. Interval Training
Why Interval Training?
When most athletes think about getting in shape for basketball (especially for cardio) they think of going on these long runs or jogs.
And while there is nothing wrong with these types of exercises. it really doesn't really prepare you for getting in shape for basketball.
This is because in basketball were rarely if ever going to be jogging for long periods of time without stopping. Basketball by its nature is a very stop-and-go sport and our training should reflect that.
That is why I recommend Interval training.
What is Interval Training
Interval training is very similar to H.I.I.T training in that it is a type of exercise where you will do slow steady cardio followed by fast sprints back to slow.
It is basically cardio that varies in intensity and speed.
Examples Of Interval Training
Let's say you are on a track, one drill you can use is something I like to call the 300 by 100.
This basically means that for the first 300 meters you are jogging at very low intensity, but then the last 100 meters you run at a full out sprint.
This is just a simple drill you can use if you want. But the main point I want to get across is that you want your cardio to reflect what you will be doing in a basketball game.
Switching Up Days
If you want you can also take a longer approach to interval training. For example, on certain days of your training, you're going to want to take days where you focus on your slower aerobic exercises and days where you improve your fast-twitch type of muscles.
Aerobic Exercise Days
Aerobic exercises when talking about basketball are longer less intense styles of cardio. On these days you would be focusing on things like a mile run or even going for a 20-minute swim at a pool.
This is a style of exercise designed to improve your general overall cardio ability both for your sport and just your general fitness as a whole.
Good Exercises For Aerobic Days
-1-2 Mile Jog
- Lap swims in a pool
- 30 minutes to an hour on the treadmill.
- Cross Fit
Pro Tip: A great way to see the progress you are making especially with aerobic exercises is by timing yourself and then trying to beat your previous scores.
This gives you a better idea if your training is working for you and what you might need to change.
High-Intensity Training Days
Since basketball requires you to move in such quick short bursts of speed you're going to want to make sure you are ready for this if you have an upcoming season or league coming up and you want to be in the best shape you can be.
On days like this, you will be doing exercises like sprints, agility work, and plyometrics.
Great Exercises For These Days
- Agility Latter
- Depth Jumps
- Jump Squats
Pro Tip: For more information on how to improve your explosiveness in basketball and how to improve your fast-twitch muscle fibers click the link here.
Again this is another one of those areas I think players really neglect in basketball.
How It Gets You In Shape
Getting stronger and more muscle mass gets you in shape in two primary ways.
One way is that it really helps to change your body composition which helps you decrease your body fat percentage and makes you more athletic as a whole.
And two it will make the game a whole lot easier.
For example, having stronger legs makes playing defense much easier because you can stay in a good stance for longer.
Or if you are a shooter with a two-motion shot, by being stronger you will be able to shoot from much farther distances in the 4th quarter.
How To Work On Strength
With basketball strength, it can be very similar to your cardio in interval training.
You want to have days where you do more high-intensity workouts. With lower reps and higher weights. For example, 3 by5 or even 3 by 3
And you also want to have days where you do workouts more focused on functional strength. For example, having reps go 3 by 8 or even 3 by 12.
Examples Of Strength Workouts
- Dumbell Press
- Resistance Bands Curls
- Jump Squat
- Hip thrusters
- Jump Rope
- Split Jumps
- Power Clean
When talking about mobility for basketball this involves giving your body the ability to put your muscles through a full range of motion.
This can be very important when talking about getting in shape and a lot of players overlook this part of their game.
Just like how good cardio and strength allow a player to stay on a court longer mobility allows you to do the same thing.
Pro Tip: A great emphasis every player should have when doing mobility work is in their hip area.
This is because the hips are one of the main driving forces in your athleticism and this happens to be an area in which a lot of players can get hurt.
5. Going Hard
While this might seem like an obvious one maybe the biggest reason I see so many players struggle to get in shape is that they do not consistently put in the effort to get in the right shape for basketball.
This comes down to a lot of different things from the diet in which you eat, to even how hard you go in individual drills in practice.
Just remember that you can do all the work you want but if you do not do it consistently and the right way then all this time you spend will be for not.
But if you have the right love and passion for the game this will come naturally so do not worry about this too much.
Frequently Asked Questions
Question: I have a season coming up and I need to get in shape fast what would be the quickest way to do so?
Answer: I would say since your season is coming up so soon to just focus on your aerobic type of exercises and slow-twitch muscle fibers.
The reason I say this is because increasing things like your strength and explosiveness usually take more time than slower-based cardio.
Question: I do not have much time throughout the day is there any way to shorten these workouts to get the same effect and still get in shape?
Answer: Yeah absolutely even if you do not have much time you can still get a great workout doing high-intensity training like sprints and other such plyometrics even at home if you have to.
You can even try and be creative for your slower exercises and do them throughout the day.
For example, instead of taking the elevator try and take the stairs, or if you take a car to work or school try biking or even walking if you can.
Question: Do you have to train all year round to be in really good basketball shape?
Answer: I would say this depends.
I mean if you really want to play in the NBA then yeah you should be training all year round. But if you are still a pretty serious hooper I would recommend starting to prep at least 2-3 months out before your season starts.
Question: How often should I train If I want to be in great basketball shape?
Answer: I have noticed with players and even myself doing 3 days of weight training followed by a couple of days of skill work have been some of the best results I have gotten.
But again this is up to you some players need more time off to improve. Other players like Kobe worked 15 hours a day.
This kinda depends on you and what you think would work for you.
This obviously does not mean you rarely train to get in shape what this does mean is that these kinds of things take a lot of trial and error.
For a great video on the best workout split check out the video below.
Basketball is one of the hardest sports to prep for because of all the different movements and motions this sport demands.
But by having the right type of cardio, strength, and even mindset we can become one of the most in-shape hoopers at any given time on the court.
As always thank you for reading and keep hooping my friends.