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The biggest advancement in basketball over the past 20 years has been the emphasis placed on strength and conditioning for basketball.  Coaches these days are looking for ways to get their players into better shape and to make sure they get bigger and stronger.  This article will give some important advice for coaches looking to build an effective strength and conditioning program that will help take the performance of your basketball team.


Every week during the year, we are always lifting weights.  Depending on the time of the year, we are lifting anywhere from two to four days per week.  We will lift four times a week during the second half of the off-season and throughout pre-season practice.  We will lift three times a week from the end of early-season practice to the end of the calendar year and then again from the end of the season to the midpoint of the off-season.  From the first of January to the end of the basketball season, we will only lift twice a week.

When developing a lifting program, there are five core lifts that should be used: the clean, the bench press, the shoulder press, the deadlift, and the squat.  These lifts are designed as core lifts to develop strength in the body and they are the most efficient in working all the major muscle groups.  However, when designing the program, you should use the following format for weekly scheduling:

Four-Day Lifting Week Three-Day Lifting Week Two-Day Lifting Week
Bench Press and Shoulder Press on Mondays and Thursdays Bench Press and Shoulder Press every Monday and odd-week Fridays Bench Press and Shoulder Press on Mondays
Deadlift and Squats on Tuesdays and Fridays Deadlift and Squats every Wednesday and even-week Fridays Deadlift and Squats on Thursdays
Cleans on Mondays and Fridays. Cleans on Mondays and Fridays. Cleans on Mondays.

For each workout day, we will design complementary lifts that will allow our players to develop more muscle mass.  This could be anything from using dumbbells to isolating particular muscle groups to strengthen and develop them.

As for repetitions, it should be noted that fewer repetitions with more weight will build bulky muscle mass while more repetitions at lower levels of weight will work on developing muscle endurance.  Six repetitions or fewer would be ideal for building muscle mass while twelve or more repetitions is ideal for improving the endurance of muscles.  For basketball, the ideal amount of repetitions is eight repetitions and no more than six sets.

The work load for lifting should peak by the end of the off-season and should be on a plateau until the end of pre-season practice.  From there, gradually reduce the workload until the the end of the season then slowly build it back up.  The most intense period for lifting should come in the eight weeks immediately prior to the first day of practice.


Basketball is a unique sport in that it requires both explosive power and endurance.  Running is the most interesting part of developing a strength and conditioning program for basketball.  A good running program requires that it develop both of these attributes.  The sport requires that the athletes be capable of quick, short bursts of speed along with being in condition to have a great aerobic capacity.

In looking at the dimensions of a basketball court, the floor is 94 feet in length and 50 feet in width.  Knowing these dimensions, an effective running program can be developed.  No part of any sprint should be longer than 94 feet but no part of the sprint should be shorter than 15 feet.

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