Effective Offseason Workouts: 11 Key Strength Exercises For Basketball Players

The summer season is a perfect time for serious basketball players to improve their overall strength. Remember, the stronger a player can become in the weight room, the more explosive they’ll be out on the court.

In this week’s player development feature, follow along with renowned strength and conditioning expert Alan Stein as he takes you through a series of lateral plank exercises and med ball slams specifically beneficial to basketball players.

Lateral Plank Exercises

This set of lateral exercises really works the obliques and muscles on the side of the body. Start by getting into a side plank position. Your elbow should be directly under your shoulder. You can stack or stagger your feet as well. Meanwhile, get your ankles, knees, and shoulders in a straight line. Raise up.

Hip Raises – Put your hand on your hip, drop the hip to the ground, and raise the hip back up to the sky. Repeat. Do six of these.

Shoulder Rotation – From this same lateral position, do a shoulder rotation. With this move, reach back underneath of your body as far as you can and then open the shoulders up. Do six of these.


Medicine Ball Exercises

The med ball is a great tool for working the core. Plus, you can go through any range of motion, but particularly rotational motions, which is very important and specific to basketball.

Med Ball Slam – Pick up the ball over your head and then slam the ball down as hard as you can. The goal here is to get the ball to bounce as high as it can. Get a two-foot stance and get a two-foot throw. Look to make five slams as hard as you can.

Tip: Generate power using your core, not the arms.

Med Ball Slam, One Foot – The next progression is about balancing and stabilizing the muscles of your ankle, knee and hip. All the while, you’re working key core muscles. Get five in a row on one leg. Then switch.

Side Slam – Start with the ball over your head and keep those ankles, knees, and hips facing forward. All of your turning will be with the core. Turn and slam the ball on the left side first and then turn and slam the ball on the right side. For variation, you can also slam and bounce or slam and catch the ball.

Side Slam, One Foot – Now do the same exact thing, except this time use just one foot.

Twist Pass – Start with the ball in your right hand just like a triple threat position. Then take it and deliver a push pass to your partner’s right hand. Get about five feet apart. Look to decelerate to catch it and then accelerate with the pass.

Underhand Twist – Next, the ball starts just outside the knees. Throw it outside the body and aim for your partner’s hip. Get as much twist as you can.


Overhead Throw

Keep in mind that all of these med ball exercises can be tweaked. For instance, you can change the way you throw the ball by changing your feet, using an athletic stance or split stance, or even implementing a lunge technique.

Overhead Throw – This time, instead of throwing the ball down to the ground, throw the ball off a concrete wall and try to hit the same block every time. The ball should bounce once on the ground before you catch it. Repeat. Now try it again but alternate your feet.

Overhead Lunge Throw – Get into a lunge position with one knee bent and the other on the ground. Now do the same thing as before in this lunge position. Throw the ball as hard as you can. Don’t forget to switch your feet.

One Arm Push Pass – Now switch the way you throw the ball. Get into a triple threat position and make a one arm push pass. Look for more of a rotation out of this. Start by passing it each time with your left. Remember, don’t hold back on your med ball throws! Don’t be afraid to throw them as hard as you can.


The previous exercises can be viewed on Championship Productions’ DVD “Alan Stein’s DeMatha Basketball: Strength and Power.” To browse our entire Strength and Conditioning catalog, click here.

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