5 Basketball Strength Training Drills Used By Pro Coaches And Trainers

There may be dozens of methodologies and techniques, but we can all agree on the fact that basketball strength training is crucial to being a successful athlete. Strength training does increase endurance, power, and of course, muscle strength, but it also serves another valuable purpose, prevention. The main goal of a basketball strength training regime is to make the body more resistant to injury. Proper training will decrease the likelihood of injury and also reduce the severity. It makes sense that the better the foundation the less likely it is to crumble.

As vital as strength training is in basketball, it is often undervalued. Many players will only work on strength training during the off-season, following programs that focus more on technical skill and agility once the regular season begins. Neglecting this component can actually hurt both the individual and team as a whole. Strength is an asset that can quickly diminish, which is why incorporating basketball strength training drills before and during playing season is crucial. If you dedicate yourself to building your strength during the summer, you want to maintain it throughout the regular season.

The top pro coaches and trainers always make sure that their player development programs include a strength training component. We have pulled together 5 of the best basketball strength training drills from experts that work with athletes every day. Keep in mind that these are just a few of the drills that help with basketball strength training. As long as the program puts time efficiency, safety, and variable levels of intensity at the forefront, it will be beneficial to a player’s strength.

1. Single-Leg Box Jump

Benefits: Builds explosive power in each leg, valuable for layups etc.

  • Start with a plyometric box, bench or step-up board directly in front of you.
  • Slowly lift one of your feet off of the floor while remaining balanced on the other. Make sure that both your foot and knee are straight.
  • Go down into a partial squat and then make a forceful jump onto your box. Your power should come from your hips and arms.
  • Try to land as lightly as possible, beginning in a partial squat and then standing up straight.
  • Step back to the starting position.

Sets/Reps: Perform 3 sets of 10 repetitions on each leg.

Recommended by Andrew Meyers, Certified Personal Trainer

2. Box Rebound Jump

Benefits: Power and variable strength, both of which are essential to driving the ball to the basket.

  • Start on a box that is 12” and step off.
  • When your feet hit the ground, propel yourself upwards as quickly as possible

Sets/Reps: 3–6 sets of 6–8 jumps

Recommended by Lachlan Penfold, Former Head of Performance for the Golden State Warriors

3. Baseline Cut to the Basket, Catch, Layup/Jump Shot

Benefits: Practices change of pace, back door cut, and being able to score while fatigued.

  • Starting from under the basket, jog to the wing of the 3-point line.
  • Switch your pace and sprint back door. Take a pass from a partner and score a shot.
  • Grab the rebound from your shot and pass it back to your teammate. Go to the opposite side and do the same movement.

Sets/Reps: You should perform five times on each side, as quickly as possible.

Recommended by Ramon Williams, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

4. Front and Back Dot Drills

Benefits: Improves balance, agility, and strength.

  • Start with both of your feet on the middle dot.
  • Separate your feet and jump forward to the top two dots on the mat.
  • Bring both feet together on middle dot by jumping backward.
  • Separate your feet again and jump backward to the bottom two dots.
  • Jump forward and bring both of your feet together on middle dot.
  • Repeat the pattern. You can also do variations other than front/back.

Sets/Reps: 1x6 (down and back = 1 rep)

Recommended by Andreu Swasey, Head Strength Coach at University of Miami

5. Squats

Benefits: An essential exercise for basketball strength training. Improves lower body strength to move quickly and explosively.

  • Stand with your feet slightly wider than hip-width apart.
  • Lower your body down and back as if you are sitting down into a chair, until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  • Make sure your knees do not pass over your toes and keep your core tight.
  • Rise back up slowly.

Sets/Reps: 3–5 sets of 4–6 reps

Recommended by Lachlan Penfold, Former Head of Performance for the Golden State Warriors