10 Basketball Exercises That You Can Do at Home to Step Up Your Game
Basketball players everywhere work hard to improve their game. You can also work on your dribbling and defense. However, most people don’t have access to a basketball court during the COVID-19 lockdown.
That doesn’t mean you can’t work on your game during this trying time. You can do certain exercises that will help you become a better basketball player.
The exercises detailed below will help you with that, so when community quarantine is over, you’ll get amazing results!
When it comes to building upper body strength, nothing beats pull-ups. While you can do other things like push-ups, bench press, lat pulldowns, and so on, doing pull-ups gives you another advantage, which is it helps you get used to extending your entire body.
The most important thing to focus on here is to execute each rep with proper technique and get full extension on the way down. A good jumpshot is much about full extension of the lats, back, shoulders, and wrist, so you should do your best in achieving that with every pull-up.
Toe Touch Sit-ups
If you just do regular sit-ups, you have to do a lot of them in order to get results. Toe touches, also known as V sit-ups, are more effective as it adds an additional movement that increases the difficulty of the exercise and works on more muscles in your core.
You can make them more difficult by using a medicine ball, kettlebell, or weight plate (medicine ball is recommended for safety reasons).
The core and lower back are the pillars that hold your upper and lower body together. Without a strong core and lower back, your effectiveness as a basketball player can never be maximized. One of the best exercises to strengthen these areas is also one of the hardest bodyweight exercises you'll ever do, but it's worth the effort.
Supermans are done by lying face down on the floor with your arms outstretched in front. You can either hold a basketball, a medicine ball, or leave your hands free while doing this exercise. From this position, raise your arms and legs as high as you can at the same time, thus contracting your lower back muscles.
Hold it for a second or two before lowering your arms and legs back on the floor. You then repeat this to do another rep. You may find it hard to execute at first, but it'll get easier as your core and back get stronger.
Good defense relies on quick lateral movement with your feet. The quick shuffling motions from left and right can put a lot of strain on your calves, ankles, knees, and even the groin and hips. This exercise lets you strengthen all those areas so your legs and hips can better withstand all those explosive lateral movements.
These are basically front squats with kettlebells in front of the body, which places the weight in front of the knees. That makes the exercise target the quads more than back squats can. The name "goblet squat" comes from how the kettlebell is held, holding it in front of your chest with both hands as if you're holding a goblet to drink.
Just make sure you have a good hold of the kettlebell and have your feet wider than shoulder width apart to maintain your balance. Coupled with lateral lunges, this exercise will turn your knees and ankles into titanium.
Kettle bell Swings
One of the best exercises ever is the kettlebell swing because you can get so much out of it. You can do a lot of kettlebell swings and get stronger. You will become more explosive, have more endurance, and build up a strong core and back.
It’s the foundational kettlebell exercise, and you should do them whenever you can. It’s not just for basketball players, but it can definitely make you a better basketball player as it strengthens your posterior chain and adds more power and explosiveness in your core and lower body.
Medicine Ball Exercises
Much of the movements that players do in basketball involve twisting their bodies from side to side. If you can do so faster, you get an advantage on both ends of the floor.
While sitting up on the floor with your knees bent and holding the medicine ball with both hands, swing your torso to the left along with the medicine ball. You then explosively twist to the right with the same motion.
Squat to Press
You can do this exercise with a barbell or dumbbells as well, but using a medicine ball for it can help with your ball handling. Hold the medicine ball in front of you with both hands like a basketball and go down with a front squat, then come back up and do a press.
This is a good whole body exercise that strengthens both the upper and lower body. It also helps make you more used to handling a basketball by having you carry a much heavier ball while doing the exercise.
You can even modify this exercise to practice your shooting motion in slow motion.
You can even wear your Shoot Natural™ glove and go through the motion slowly to have more control over your technique.
Ball Pass Push-ups
Doing plyometric push-ups is always a good idea as it adds explosive power to your upper body. That’s always a good idea to have as a basketball player due to all the movements you have to do during the game. That includes chest passes, jumpshots, pump fakes, contesting shots, and so on. Those movements require upper body explosiveness.
Doing it with a medicine ball adds some instability that will make the exercise more difficult to challenge your shoulder and pectoral muscles.
Along with kettlebell swings, this exercise lets you strengthen your posterior chain. The Romanian deadlift is excellent for fortifying your core and lower back, as well as your quads and hamstrings. These parts of the body are your physical foundation as a basketball player, so working on them is a fundamental part of your development.
What differs the Romanian deadlift from a conventional deadlift is it’s a more abbreviated movement, making it easier to execute on a regular basis. This particular exercise focuses on the muscles and movements that are important to you as a basketball player, so utilizing this exercise is more efficient and optimal for improving your performance.
If you have access to a hoop during this trying time, count yourself lucky and keep working on your game as usual. But if you’re among many who don’t, you can still work on your skills through other means. There are plenty of drills that can help you work on your game, even without a rim.
Here are three different drills for you to work on different aspects of your game during quarantine lockdown.
Shooting: Spot Shooting
All you need for this is a ball and a spot on the ground. There are many ways to do this, but the most basic is to shoot the ball straight up and have it hit the same spot on the ground. This drill can help you create control and consistency in your shooting form.
You can use the Shoot Natural™ glove while doing this drill to get better with controlling your off-hand. You can then practice this one-handed, and even start catching the ball with your shooting hand. The more consistent your shooting form becomes, the more control you have over your shot.
Ball Handling: Two-Ball Drills
While you will need two basketballs for this drill, two-ball dribbling is a great way to get good at dribbling with both hands. If you can do this drill fast with good control, you can certainly do well with just one ball.
You can do many variations with it, like dribbling both balls similarly at the same time, alternating dribbles, changing hands, going left and right with both hands, and so on.
There are many footwork maneuvers that great players use, like the jab step, the euro step, and so on. But out of all footwork moves in basketball, the one that gets the most use is the pivot.
Pivoting lets you move around in one spot without travelling, get out of a jam and outsmart a defender, and get closer to the basket.
If you’re already good at pivoting with one foot, start practicing how to pivot with the other foot (and with the ball in the other hand). This will help you work on your weak side and become a bigger threat on the court.
Of course, these exercises are merely supplementary to the skills you need to practice in order to be a better basketball player, like shooting, ball handling, passing, and so on. However, these exercises can strengthen and enhance your physical foundations, which will result in more power, speed, and endurance that can help you be better at basketball.