Stay in Shape in the Off Season
Off-season training for basketball players can target specific athletic traits, or can help players stay in shape in general. Basketball players rely on strength, speed, agility, and endurance, so virtually any type of exercise helps. From strength training to endurance work and agility-boosting drills, here are 7 ways to stay in shape in the off-season for basketball players.
Stay in Shape #1 – Yoga
Yoga, with its calm, slow movements, might not seem like it would be helpful for basketball players at first glance. In reality, the eastern exercise discipline provides several benefits to basketball players. Yoga can boost flexibility as well as improve core strength, both key attributes for basketball players. Since so much of yoga is stretching it keeps muscles loose and healthy.
In fact, Heat star Dwyane Wade recently incorporated yoga into his off-season training to improve his flexibility. Men’s Fitness has a gallery of basketball-focused yoga moves, and several videos are available on YouTube as well.
Stay in Shape #2 – Weight Training
Many basketball players rely on speed and shooting accuracy, but every player’s game can benefit from a bit of weight training. Writing for STACK, certified training specialist Micah Kurtz advises that, “If you are serious about basketball, you need to be equally serious about basketball weight training.” An off-season training regimen that involves lunges, squats, and chin-ups will help improve strength.
Stay in Shape #3 – Running
It may not be flashy, but running can be a staple of any player’s off-season training. For instance, NBA power forward Kevin Garnett is famous for running along the beach at 5:30 in the morning. While that level of intensity may not be necessary for everyone, running can still help players build up the endurance needed to get through a basketball game.
Stay in Shape #4 – Hiking
Hiking has many of the same benefits of running, but is more enjoyable for many people. Hiking can improve cardiovascular endurance and leg strength, both staples for basketball. Plus, it’s a good way to keep things interesting and get out of the gym for a while. Hiking is one form of exercise that travels well. Picking a vacation destination with hiking spots nearby is a great way to ensure that vacation doesn’t interrupt off-season training.
Stay in Shape #5 – Agility Drills
Agility drills can improve a player’s cardiovascular endurance and nimbleness on the court. Agility drills will increase your power and capacity on the basketball court, because they activate your fast-twitch muscle fibers. These are the muscles you use for many movements on the court, like jumping and cutting. Two basic drills to try are performing defensive slides in a circle, and sprinting around a tight circle while trying to hug its border. To learn more and to see the drills demonstrated click here.
Stay in Shape #6 – Plyometric Exercises
Plyometric exercises can help one of the most basic foundations of basketball athleticism: jumping. Per WebMD, plyometrics “is a training technique designed to increase muscular power and explosiveness,” and is suitable for all ages.
Plyometrics can work on both the upper and lower body, but exercises that target the legs may be particularly useful for basketball players. Box jumps, squat jumps, and bounding are three examples of plyometric exercises that would be a great addition to your off-season basketball training.
Stay in Shape #7 – Mobility and Stability Exercises
Pacers center Roy Hibbert is famous for his size and raw strength, but he also puts a lot of work into keeping his body mobile and stable. He performs exercises like brettzels (a kind of stretch that targets lower and upper body at once), hip flexor stretches, and medicine ball throws. This type of work helps Hibbert stave off injuries, and it gives him a strong foundation for performing heavier weight-training exercises.
Whatever Training You Do, Be Sure to Do Something
Basketball players at any level could benefit from workouts like these. They may be challenging, but they’re relatively low impact. Try incorporating some or all of these exercises into your workout during the off-season and your basketball game will surely improve.
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