Basketball Strength Training for Newbies
Single Leg Movements
In the early stages of your strength training "career," you don't need to throw a heavy bar on your back and perform squats. Controlling your body on one leg should provide plenty of resistance for now. Plus, single leg movements are great for improving the stability of the muscles around your knee. As far as form--keep your chest high, abs tight, and the weight on the heel of the forward foot (do NOT let your weight shift toward the front part of your foot).
- Static Lunges
- Reverse Lunges
- Walking Lunges
- Bulgarian Split Squat - Keep the torso upright. This is a quad-dominant movement.
- Bulgarian Deadlift - This exercise incorporates more of a forward lean, making it into a hip-dominant (hamstrings and glutes) movement.
- Swiss Ball Plank - Brace the abs as if you are taking a punch to the stomach. The further you roll it out, the harder it is.
- Pushup Elbow Touches - When you raise your hand off the ground to touch your opposite elbow, the goal is to NOT let your hips rotate AT ALL. Pretend you have a hot cup of coffee on the small of your back and if you move your hips, it will spill on you (the wider your feet, the easier it is. the narrower your feet, the harder it is - work within your level).
- Pushup Pocket Touches - Same as above but you will now put your hand by your hip.
- Swiss Ball Rollouts - Push the ball out as far as you can while keeping your back flat and abs tight.
- McLarty Rollouts - Push the foam roller out as far as you can while keeping your back flat and abs tight. (When the roller gets closer to your knees, it is more difficult. When it is closer to your ankles, it is easier.)--Side Plank - Keep abs and glutes tight the entire time. Keep a straight line from ankles, hips, and shoulders.
- 1-Leg Side Plank
Setting Up a Program
Now that you know how to perform these movements, the next step is to incorporate them into a program. To start with, you should pick an exercise from each "category," (Pushup Category, Single Leg Category, Plank Category) that challenges for 3-4 sets of 10-12 repetitions with PERFECT form. So, if you can do multiple sets of more than 15 "bench pushups," then it is time for you to progress to a more difficult version. Same thing with the single leg movements. When it comes to the plank variations you can just hold the position longer, or push the ball out further, (like in the Swiss Ball Plank) or bring your feet in closer together (making your body more unstable, causing your muscles to fire harder in attempt to better stabilize yourself) for the elbow and pocket touches, to make it more challenging.
Once you can complete 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps of the most difficult version of the pushups (band pushup) and complete 3-4 sets of 10-12 reps per leg for the most difficult single leg movement (Bulgarian Split Squats/Deadlifts), then it is time for you to hit the iron. You will have earned the right to do all sorts of "fun" lifts, like sumo deadlifts, bench presses, push presses, and squats.
In the early stages of your strength training career, keep it simple. Use your body weight as resistance, build a solid base, and practice perfect form with each repetition. When it comes time to lift some heavy weight, you will have prepared your body for an injury-free career that will have you running right through the competition. You will no longer get pushed around on your way to the basket. With this new strength, the most common thing you are going to hear is AND-1!