The Importance of Strength Exercises for Basketball Players

Basketball is a team sport characterized by high intensity activities such as jumping, sprinting, shuffling and direction changes. Basketball players’ physical conditioning is focused on enhancing aerobic capacity, speed, agility, muscular strength and power.

Strength training is a fundamental element for the physical conditioning of basketball players, its purpose is to improve explosive power and acceleration/speed around the court, and to reduce the risk of joint and tendon injuries.During the season, resistance training and power training are performed in different periods. Moreover, individual and team programmes are developed to optimize the improvement of each player.functional and strength training for NBA players

The first and most important phase of the strength programme is the off-season training. It is characterized by functional strength with the aim to strengthen stabilizer muscles, balancing the right and left sides of the body together with a stable action of flexors and extensors muscles, especially for lower limbs. Exercises are performed with low-intensity exercise, about 50-60% of 1 maximal repetition (1-RM), 2 or 3 times per week.

The second phase, early pre-season, aims to build the maximal strength of each player. Exercises are performed with loads of 80-90% of 1-RM, 3 day per week for 1 month.

In the late pre-season phase, players can work all together. In this phase, muscular strength has to be converted into muscular power. Exercises are performed with bodyweight only, using different methods (e.g. plyometric training, circuit training) without more than 120 ground contacts per session (e.g. jump).During the season, strength exercises are performed only to strength training for NBA maintain muscular power.

Despite the importance of resistance training, strength exercises can affect technical skills negatively due to neuromuscular fatigue. In particular, high-intensity circuit training can worsen jump performance, agility and shooting accuracy. On the other hand, a power circuit training does not affect these capacities, therefore, it can be considered as the most appropriate option of training before a competition. However, high-intensity circuit training can be performed with the aim to develop perfect technical skills under fatigue conditions.

In conclusion, an important part of any training program is the rest time. Rest can consist in one week without resistance training or 2 weeks of low-intensity circuit training every 6-8 weeks.


Freitas, TT, Calleja-Gonza ́ lez, J, Alarco ́ n, F, and Alcaraz Ramo ́ n, PE. Acute effects of two different resistance circuit training protocols on performance and perceived exertion in semiprofessional basketball players. J Strength Cond Res XX(X): 000–000, 2015


Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. Impact factor = 2.075