Basketball training involves more than just developing a 40-inch vertical jump. Unless you want the other guy slam dunking, you need to boost your stamina, strength, explosiveness and agility. Strength and conditioning programs for any athletes play an important role in the prevention of injury and enhancement of performance. This is no different in basketball. There is only one objective of basketball weight training i.e. to improve your game.

Pin - Weight Training for Basketball

But it is not as simple as it seems. When you mention “weight training” to athletes, many of them straightaway think of it as lifting of heavy weights. And lifting of even heavier weights the next time. However, this is not a good approach for the basketball players.

In order to have a greater impact on your game, basketball weight training should focus on developing the explosive power of players. And to achieve this, something a little more refined is required, rather than just lifting heavy weights. Basketball, unlike football, is a non-contact sport. It is a game which requires finesse. For this reason highly developed motor co-ordination is required.

It is a common misconception that weight training slows down these finely tuned skills and hinders agility around the basketball court. But this is not the case! Here is a basketball weight training program which will help in improving every aspect of your game. Including:

  • Your range of passes and shots
  • Your explosive power – especially your vertical jump.
  • Your speed and acceleration around the court.

Along with this, basketball weight training also helps in significantly reducing your risk of all the common tendon and joint injuries.

The Four Stages of Basketball Weight Training Program

Weight lifters and bodybuilders follow progressive weight training programs. They focus on increasing the weight indefinitely. And they are always trying to lift a little bit more. However, Basketball weight preparation has to be periodized. It means that over a year, weight training for basketball players should follow many distinct stages or phases. Each of these stages has specific objectives which lead you into the next stage of training naturally. Hence you should follow this periodized strength regime for maximizing your results. Moreover, it will also give you a competitive advantage over other players because few of your fellow players will use this approach in their weight training routine.

Stage 1: Off Season (For Building Functional Strength)

Before beginning intensive weight training for basketball, it’s important that you make your body ready for it. So during the off-season, perform functional exercises which help in stabilizing your muscles and particularly, your core ability.

Basketball  puts a lot of uneven strain on your body. For instance, you throw with only one arm so some tendons and joints are put under more stress. Due to this, the muscles of one arm grow stronger and the muscles of other arm are neglected.

Basketball Weight Training

This low-intensity functional strength stage helps in restoring the balance. Hence, the goal of this stage should be:

  • To strengthen the neglected stabilizer muscles.
  • To balance left and right sides of body.
  • To prepare ligaments, tendons and joints for more intensive work in the following training stages.
  • To amend any imbalances between extensors and flexors.

Furthermore, a good deal of time should be dedicated to strengthening the core i.e. the muscles of lower back and your trunk which connect the lower and upper body. They aid every turning, twisting, lateral and jumping movements, and are the link via which all the movement passes through.

The grounds you lay in off-season determine the quality of power and strength you can form in later stages. Furthermore, they also help in avoiding chronic and acute injury. In this stage, you should exercise 2-3 days per week.

Exercise Plan For Stage 1

Do following exercises, beginning with a warm-up of 10-15 minutes of mobility exercises. Take a rest of not more than 60 seconds between the sets.

Day 1

  • Leg press – 3×12-15
  • Romanian deadlifts– 3×12-15
  • Lunges– 3×12-15
  • Calf raises- 3×12-15
  • Black squats- 3×12-15 @ 60-70% max

Day 2

  • Pull ups- 3xMax + Dumbbell bench press – 3×12-15
  • Bent-over rows – 3×12-15 + Dips – 3xMax
  • Single arm dumbbell rows – 3×12-15 + Dumbbell incline press – 3×12-15
  • Military press – 3×12-15

Day 3

  • Partial deadlifts (bar at knee height) – 3×8-12
  • Split squats – 3×8-12 each leg
  • Physioball leg curls – 3×12-15
  • Glute ham raises – 3×12-15
  • Eccentric calf raises – 3×15-20

Day 4

  • Incline Press – 3×12-15 + Pull-Ups – 3xMax
  • Rear delt raises- 3×15-20 + Lateral Raises – 3×15-20
  • Triceps Extension- 3×12-15 + Biceps Curls – 3×12-15
  • Lateral raises – 3×15-20 + front raises – 3×15-20

Stage 2: Early Pre-Season (For Building Maximal Strength)

This is the second program of Basketball Weight Training. The goal is now to achieve peak strength. It can then be converted into muscular power by plyometric training. You should try to complete this stage in no less than 4 weeks ahead of the competitive season.

Many of the basketball players don’t progress past this stage. They focus on lifting more and more until they eventually get burnt out or injured. However, it can be a good news for you. Three weight training sessions per week are enough for building maximal strength. So try separating each session by at least 48 hours.

Exercise Plan For Stage 2

Do following exercises, beginning with a warm-up of 10-15 minutes of mobility exercises. Get a rest of up to 120 seconds between sets on first and second days, and 60 seconds on third and fourth days.

Day 1

  • Back Squats – 3×8-12 @ 70-80%
  • Lunges – 3×4-8 each leg
  • Pause Squats – 3×4-8 @ 50-60%
  • Calf Raises – 3×12-15
  • Deadlifts (bar at knee height) – 3×4-8

Day 2

  • Bench Press – 3×8-12 @ 70-80%
  • Bent-Over Rows – 3×8-12
  • Close-Grip Bench Press – 3×8-12
  • Military Press – 3×8-12
  • Pull-Ups – 3×8-12

Day 3

  • Split-Squats – 3×12-15 each leg
  • Reverse Hyperextensions – 3×12-15
  • Romanian Deadlifts – 3×12-15
  • Eccentric Calf Raises – 3×15-20
  • Physioball Leg Curls – 3×12-15

Day 4

  • Incline Press – 3×12-15 + Pull-Ups – 3xMax
  • Lateral Raises – 3×15-20 + Front Raises – 3×15-20
  • Rear Delt Raises – 3×15-20 + Lateral Raises – 3×15-20
  • Triceps Extensions – 3×12-15 + Biceps Curls – 3×12-15

Stage 3: Late Pre-Season (Converting to Muscular Power)

This is the stage in which everything comes together. You have taken time to get ready and worked hard on building strength. Hence, now is the time to reap the rewards on the basketball court. You can now use the plyometric training for converting your strength to basketball specific power.  Emphasize on the lower part of your body by help of rebounding exercises such as death jumps. And you can emphasize on the upper part of body with the medicine balls. However, you must remember that even though plyometric is a simple enough concept, you must get it right. Hence you shouldn’t overdo it. These exercises should be done 2-3 days per week.

Basketball Weight Training

Exercise Plan For Stage 3

Do the following exercises, beginning with a warm-up of 10-15 minutes of mobility exercises. Take a rest of up to 120 seconds between the sets.

Day 1

  • Pause Squats – 3×3-6 @ 70-80%
  • Back Squats – 3×4-8 @ 80-90%
  • Reverse Hyperextensions – 3×8-12
  • Calf Raises – 3×12-15
  • Physioball Leg Curls – 3×8-12

Day 2

  • Floor Press – 3×4-8 @ 60-70%
  • Bench Press – 3×4-8 @ 80-90%
  • Military Press – 3×4-8
  • Bent-Over Rows – 3×4-8

Day 3

  • Romanian Deadlifts – 3×8-12
  • Front Squats – 3×3-6 @ 70-80%
  • Back Raises – 3×8-12
  • Eccentric Calf Raise – 3×12-15
  • Physioball Leg Curls – 3×8-12

Day 4

  • Pull-Ups – 3×8-12
  • Dumbbell Bench Press – 3×8-12
  • Military Press – 5×4-8
  • Triceps Extensions – 3×12-15 + Biceps Curls – 3×12-15
  • Rear Delt Raises – 3×12-15 + Lateral Raises – 3×12-15

Stage 4: In-Season (Maintaining Muscular Power)

You should accept the fact that over the course of season you’ll lose a bit of maximal strength. However, you shouldn’t worry about it. You will be a good player as long as you are maintaining the high levels of muscular power which you have attained.

During this stage you should spend 1-2 sessions on the plyometric training and 1-2 in the weight room. For plyometric training various detailed guides can be found on the internet.

Exercise Plan For Stage 4

Spend 1-2 days in the weight room doing the following exercises. Never exercise the day before a game. This is because it can cause fatigue and hence negatively affect your performance. At least two days should be set for recovery. You should stick to the three sets of 10, 12 and 15 reps for workouts just two days before the basketball game. And you should stick to three sets of 6, 8 and 10 reps for workouts just three days before the basketball game.

Upper-Body Push

  • Dumbbell Incline Press
  • Dumbbell Bench Press
  • Bar Dips
  • Military Press

Upper-Body Pull

  • Dumbbell Front Row
  • Dumbbell Lateral Row
  • Neutral-Grip Chin-Ups
  • Single-Arm Cable Pull-Downs
  • Pull-Ups

Lower Body

  • Walking Lunges
  • Box Step-Ups
  • Lateral Lunges
  • Bulgarian-Split Squats
  • Trap Bar Deadlift

Basketball Weightlifting Program

The exercise plan for Stage 4 can actually serve as a full fledged Basketball Weightlifting Program because this stage requires you to lift heavy weights in order to train your body for impressive strength and agility. Make sure that you give you don’t slack off in this stage because of some myths. A common basketball weight lifting misconception is that you do not require muscles for basketball because they will make you slow. However, muscles help you gain strength and this strength is necessary to help you produce more force.


One important thing that you should be careful about is that, resting is the most critical aspect of any training program. This Basketball Weight Training Will Make You Unbeatable if you follow the above process and take rest properly. So remember to rest during the season; You can even take one entire week off every 6-8 weeks. Or you can also have light circuit training for a period of 2 weeks, every now and then.

This basketball weight training program is ideal for professional basketball players. However, even newbies can benefit from it if the guidelines are followed properly. Don’t overdo any specific exercise without being sure of its effects and be sure to follow proper exercise techniques instead of practicing them in a poor form continuously. Check if you are doing them correctly and if you are not, modify your techniques before moving to basketball weight preparation. In the end, make sure that you don’t skip any of the stages and that you take regular rest to allow your body to recover.