Basketball Exercises With Proven Benefits

Basketball Exercises With Proven Benefits

Whether you’re just getting into basketball, hoping to impress at local try-outs next season, or simply always looking to improve your game, skill in basketball takes work. Some argue that talent is inherent, and some factors can point to this being true, but no-one stays at the top of their game without working hard to do just that.

For that reason, we’re going to look at some of the exercises that can make a real contribution towards your performance on the court. We’ll break down each exercise and how, exactly, they help.

Interval running

Improving your cardio is naturally essential for a game where you’re going to be expected to be on your feet consistently for around 50 minutes at most. As such, interval sprints and jogs can help build your capacity to keep going, and your ability to tap into a burst of speed when you need it. Light jogging for a minute, then a hard run (hard enough to get you short of breath but not panting) for two minutes, back and forth for half an hour can do it.

Free throw drills

When it comes to improving your coordination, practicing free throws with your own net is essential. Simply continuously throwing from the free throw line is not the way to practice. Instead, practicing after a drill that gets you out of breath (such as the interval running mentioned above) better emulates the kind of condition you’re going to be in during the basketball game itself.

free throw basketball net

Cone drills

Cone drills can help you improve the essential agility that you need to cut on a dime and gain access to the explosive turning power that most proficient players bring to the court. The figure-8 drill, shuttle drill, and T-drill are all great examples. Here’s a brief explanation of each:

cone drils basketball court
  • Figure-8 Drill: Place three cone five yards apart from each other. Start at the far end and run a figure pattern between them, aiming to improve how many times you can complete that figure 8 in 20 seconds.
  • Shuttle Drill: Use the same setup as the Figure-8 but start by standing over the middle cone. Run to one side, touching the cone with the outside hand, then to the other to do the same before stopping at the middle again. Do this 3 times each time you run drills.
  • T-Drill: With the same setup as above, place one cone 10 yards from the middle so that it looks like a T. Start from the furthest cone, then start running to and touching each cone in sequence with your outer hand, going from middle to right to left to middle, then backwards to left to right to middle again. You want to see how many times you can run this course in 20 seconds.

Box jumps and skater hops

Box jumps involve squatting in front of a box, jumping up and landing on a box, then jumping back down again.

box jump excercise

Skater hops involve jumping hopping from side to side, from one foot to the other, making sure your landing foot is in front, and the jumping foot behind.

skater hops exercise

They both improve jump power, but the former focuses on explosive power from both feet and the latter on agility with individual feet. It’s important to not only practice increasing your explosive power, but landing as softly as possible to minimize the risk of injury in game.

Side plank leg raise

Start by lying on your side with your legs straight, and your arm or elbow propping you up. Raise both your upper leg and arm, keeping your toe pointed downward, hold the position for 30 seconds, and relax before going to the other side. This increases both leg stability and strength, but also improves your core strength which is essential for shooting, defending, and practically everything else involved in the game.

Pivot shooting and shooting off the dribble

Pivot shooting involves moving to different shooting positions, practicing 8-foot, 12-foot, 16-foot and 18-foot shots, each done first by stepping in with a left foot pivot, then with a right foot pivot. Each type of shot should be practiced 25 times.

Shooting off the dribble involves taking hard dribbles to both the left and right, practicing 10 jump shots in each direction at 8 feet, 12 feet, and 18 feet.

Of course, besides improving your game, these basketball exercises can ensure you incorporate effective health habits throughout the whole year. A love of the game is the easiest way to build a lifelong exercise habit, so good luck on that court.