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What Is The Best Workout For Basketball Players

Written by Simon Cushman

Best Basketball Workout

Basketball players need so many physical qualities that to continue to train without a workout plan can be naive and might not get you the best results. Each plan should be significant to an individual player and should focus on each individual’s needs from addressing weaknesses to strengthen, injury potential as well as key movement patterns.


Having a knowledge of movement patterns and injury potential should start to shape part of the programme. These include ankle and knee injuries, lower back pain and injury with regards to injury and movement patterns include jumping and short sprint performance as well as strong upper and lower body stability for coming into contact and not getting dominated on the court. First of all, you need to do some tests to determine your baseline measurements and be able to quantify your improvements.

basketball pitch

Measure Performance

Vertical Jump Power


Using a jump matt if available, or standing against a wall. On a jump matt follow the operational procedures, jumping high as you can both with and without the use of arms. Against a wall, put some chalk on your fingers and reach as high as you can with a flat foot. Then jump high as you can and reach to put a new chalk market the top of your jump. Measure the distance between the two (wipe clean when finished)! Repeat 3 times and take the average and the maximum.

Horizontal Jump Power


Using a tape measure and a long room. Lay out the tape measure and start at the ‘zero’ mark. Complete 5 standing broad jumps in a row and measure your total distance covered. Repeat 3 times and take the average and the maximum.

Sprint Speed


Using timing gates if available or a stopwatch (a stopwatch will be less reliable as there is human error to factor in). Set up a 10 m distance and mark out with cones. Sprint 10 m as fast as you can measuring the time with either device.

basketball net



Set up a course measuring precisely between each marker or cone. One I find good to use is the 5-10-5 similar to the one used in the NFL combine; 3 cones set up 5 m apart. Start on the middle cone, sprint 5 m to one cone, sprint 10m to the far other side, sprint back to the middle. Repeat 3 times and take the average and the maximum.


Once these are measured, retest every 4-6 weeks to get an idea of if your training plan is working or if you need to focus on anything more than the other.


I will use an example training plan I have put together for a 13 year old basketball player currently playing at U16 level. His focus is on improving rate of force production, i.e. the speed at which he can produce force as well as his acceleration and jump height as well as reducing the likelihood of ankle and knee injuries.

Session 1


Exercise Week
1 2 3 4 5
Squat Sets 3 3 4 3 4
Reps 8 6 4 8 3
Box Jump Sets 3 3 4 3 4
Reps 5 4 5 3 4
Seated Calf Raise Sets 3 3 3 3 3
Reps 12 15 8 10 8
Body Row Sets 2 3 3 3 3
Reps 10 8 12 6 10
Core (Rotation focus) Sets High volume rotations and anti-rotations

basketball scenery

Session 2


Exercise Week
1 2 3 4 5
Deadlift Sets 3 3 4 3 4
Reps 8 6 4 8 3
Plyometric step up Sets 3 3 4 3 4
Reps 5 4 5 3 4
Kettlebell Swing Sets 3 3 3 3 3
Reps 12 15 8 10 8
TRX Press up Sets 2 3 3 3 3
Reps 10 8 12 6 10
Core (Pelvis stability) Sets High volume planks, leg raises, TVA/Pelvic floor brace


For different positions, I might make the programme more jump dominant (squat based) or more sprint dominant (hip hinge based) depending on the needs of the team, position but also the individual athlete themselves.

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Faye Reid

Faye Reid

Writer and expert

Faye Reid has a Bachelor of Science in Sport and Exercise Physiology and a Master of Science in Exercise Physiology and Sports Nutrition. Faye has worked with numerous high-profile organisations, such as Men's Health, Sky Sports, Huddersfield Giants, Warrington Wolves, British Dressage and GB Rowing, providing her expert sports science support. Find out more about Faye's experience here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/faye-reid-8b619b122/. She puts her passion into practice as goal attack for her netball team, and in competitive event riding.

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