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In two posts (see http://wp.me/pZf7K-6J and http://wp.me/pZf7K-6M ) we covered some of the background behind developing a strength and conditioning program for basketball.  Another post (see http://wp.me/pZf7K-6Q) covered program design thoughts for high school level basketball.  This post will cover some general thoughts about program design and collegiate/national level basketball.

First, some principles:

  • Strength is going to be essential to the basketball player.  There are a number of reasons for this.  First, basketball has contact.  Second, strength has an impact on power (power is the ability to express strength quickly).  Third, strength may be a prerequisite for making plyometrics effective.
  • Attention needs to be paid on injury prevention.  This is especially true of the ankle and the knee.  This can be achieved in the warm-up (ankle) and during strength training and plyometrics (knee, by emphasizing the role of the hamstrings in squatting and landing from jumps).
  • Until elite levels, there probably isn’t a need to distinguish between the positions in terms of strength training.  However, at the elite level the positions should be viewed differently in terms of strength training.
  • Everyone has an opinion on this, but basketball doesn’t appear to be a largely aerobic sport – there is a lot of walking and standing.  This means the players have to be conditioned to be able to execute high-intensity sprints repeatedly.
  • Strength and technique are essential to success at plyometrics.
  • Basketball players aren’t weightlifters, powerlifters, or bodybuilders.  The weightroom is only a tool to better basketball.
  • Agility is going to be very important.  As the athlete becomes more advanced the ball and opponents need to be incorporated into drills.

With the above in mind, this post will look at collegiate or national team-level basketball players.  This is the level that needs a balance between general/fundamental training and more advanced/specialized training.  The athletes need to develop a foundation in terms of exercise technique, muscle size (which is important for strength), strength, mobility, speed, game endurance, and agility techniques but the athlete’s ability to advance beyond this will help to determine their success.

Strength and conditioning during the off-season could be organized around the following:

  • Variations of the power clean, power snatch, jerk, and pull using several implements to help develop explosiveness and to teach the techniques associated with these exercises.
  • Squats and their variations, Romanian deadlifts, and good mornings to develop lower body strength and hypertrophy.
  • Presses and pulls to develop upper body strength and hypertrophy.
  • Core training as needed/desired.
  • Ankle injury prevention exercises (these were addressed in previous posts http://wp.me/p1XfMm-o and http://wp.me/p1XfMm-E ) done as part of the warm-up.
  • Ten to sixty yard sprints focusing on acceleration and starting mechanics.
  • Starting, stopping, shuffling, and backpedaling to focus on fundamental agility skills.
  • Combination drills to focus on applying agility skills to basketball.
  • Sprints as conditioning (i.e. limited rest periods combined with a greater volume) to simulate the metabolic requirements of a game.
  • Other implements (battle ropes, kettlebells, suspension training) used as metabolic conditioning for variety.
  • An emphasis on vertical plyometrics, especially as strength and technique warrant.
  • Classical periodization is more than appropriate for this level of athlete.  This means initially focusing on higher volume/lower intensity and gradually decreasing the volume/increasing the intensity as the athlete gets closer to the season.

With the above in mind, a sample week of early off-season workouts might look as follows:

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday
Strength Back Squats, 3×12-15×60-70%

Romanian Deadlifts, 3×12-15

Bench Press, 3×12-15×60-70%

Bent Over Rows, 3×12-15

Military Press, 3×12-15

Power Clean, h, AK, 3×4-6×60-70%

Push Jerk, 3×4-6×60-70%

Clean Pulls, h, AK, 3×4-6×60-70%

 

N/A
Plyometrics Counter-Movement Jumps (emphasize landing), 3×10 N/A Standing Long Jumps, 3×10
Speed N/A 3-5x Stick Drills

3-5×20 Yard Sprints, Standing Start

 

N/A
Agility N/A Start/stopping drills, 3-5x

Shuffle + turn and sprint (3-5×5+5 yards)

N/A
Other Dynamic Flexibility

Ankle

Core

Dynamic Flexibility Dynamic Flexibility

Battle Ropes

Suspension Training

Ankle

Core

 

  Thursday Friday
Strength Front Squats, 3×4-8×60-70%

Lunges, 3×12-15

Good Mornings, 3×12-15

Reverse Hyperextensions, 3×15-20

Dumbbell Bench Press, 3×12-15

Dips, 3xMax

Pull-Ups, 3xMax

One-Arm Dumbbell Rows, 3×12-15

Biceps/Triceps, 3×12-15

Plyometrics N/A BB Medicine Ball Throw, 3×10
Speed Conditioning:

1×20 yard, 1×40 yard, 1×60 yard, 1×100 yard, 1×60 yard, 1×40 yard, 1×20 yard

 

N/A
Agility   N/A
Other Dynamic Flexibility Dynamic Flexibility

Ankle

Core

The above workout is meant to be organized around making Monday a strength workout, Tuesday a power workout, and Thursday/Friday geared towards hypertrophy.

A late off-season workout might look like this:

 

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday
Strength Back Squats, 3×4-8×75-85%

Romanian Deadlifts, 3×4-8

Bench Press, 3×4-8×75-85%

Bent Over Rows, 3×4-8

Military Press, 3×4-8

Power Clean + Push Jerk, 3×3+2×60-70%

Clean Pulls, h, AK, 3×4-6×60-70%

 

N/A
Plyometrics Counter-Movement Jumps (emphasize landing), 3×10

Box Jumps (emphasize landing), 3×10

N/A N/A
Speed N/A 3-5x Stick Drills

3-5×40 Yard Sprints, Standing Start

 

N/A
Agility N/A Start/stopping drills, 3-5x

Shuffle + turn and sprint (3-5×5+5 yards)

N/A
Other Dynamic Flexibility

Suspension Training

Ankle

Core

Dynamic Flexibility

Kettlebells

N/A
  Thursday Friday
Strength Power Snatch, h, AK, 3×4-6

Snatch Pulls, 3×4-6

Dumbbell Clean, 3×4-6

Pause Squats, 3×3-6×60-70%

Good Mornings, 3×8-12

Incline Press, 3×4-8×75-85%

One-Arm Dumbbell Rows, 3×4-8

Dumbbell Shoulder Press, 3×4-8

Plyometrics N/A Standing Long Jumps, 3×10

Hurdle Hops, 3×5 yards

BB Medicine Ball Throw, 3×10

Speed 3-5×20 yards, Standing Start

3-5 Stride Length Drills

Conditioning:

1×20 yard, 1×40 yard, 1×60 yard, 1×100 yard, 1×60 yard, 1×40 yard, 1×20 yard

 

Agility   N/A
Other Dynamic Flexibility

Kettlebells

Dynamic Flexibility

Battle Ropes

Ankle

Core

With the late off-season workouts, the training has become heavier and there is more of a power focus, it’s designed to build upon the training that has come before.

Regarding the in-season, there is less time available for training.  This means a real focus on what’s important, strength/power/basketball specificity.  During the in-season, sprinting is curtailed and done as part of agility training.  Conditioning is curtailed unless it is a deficiency.

A sample week of in-season workouts might look like:

  Monday Tuesday Wednesday (Game)
Strength/ Plyometrics Power Clean + Push Jerk, 3×3+2×60-70%

Back Squats + Box Jumps, 3×2-6×80-90% + 5 jumps

Bench Press + Medicine Ball Toss, 3×2-x80-90% + 10 throws

Bent Over Rows + Medicine Ball Toss, 3×2-6 + 10 throws

N/A

 

Clean Pulls, 3×4-6×60-70%

Pause Squats, 3×2-6×70-80%

 

Plyometrics Counter-N/A N/A N/A
Speed N/A N/A

 

N/A
Agility N/A Start/stopping drills, 3-5x

Shuffle + turn and sprint (3-5×5+5 yards)

N/A
Other Dynamic Flexibility

Ankle

Core

Dynamic Flexibility

Kettlebells

N/A
  Thursday Friday (Game)
Strength/ Plyometrics N/A Snatch Pull + Power Snatch, 3×2-4+2-4×60-70%

Front Squats, 3×2-4×70-80%

Pause Bench Press, 3×2-6×60-70%

Plyometrics N/A N/A
Speed N/A N/A

 

Agility Agility drills incorporating ball and opponent, 2-3×3-5 N/A
Other Dynamic Flexibility

Battle Ropes

Dynamic Flexibility

Ankle

Core

For more information:

Standing starts: http://wp.me/p1XfMm-1S andhttp://youtu.be/JPoBnrJxnDQ .

Shuffling: http://wp.me/p1XfMm-1o ,http://youtu.be/rDHILRb8Mnc,  and http://youtu.be/jYtqLsy_fuQ .

Stopping: http://wp.me/p1XfMm-P  and http://youtu.be/YnaONuqZWWE

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