10 Best Strength Exercises for Basketball – Garage Strength

10 Best Strength Exercises for Basketball

Stop powerlifting for basketball! Basketball is a fast-paced, demanding sport that requires a combination of strength, speed, and agility. To excel on the court, players must continually develop their physical abilities and refine their skills.

One essential component of any basketball player's training regimen is strength training. By incorporating targeted exercises that focus on various aspects of athleticism, players can unlock their full potential and gain a competitive edge.

In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of strength training for basketball players and discuss specific exercises that can enhance their performance. We will delve into how strength training can improve agility, vertical jump height, overall power output, and other aspects important to your game.


Strength Training for Basketball
10 Strength Exercises for Basketball

Strength Training for Basketball

Strength training is essential for basketball players as it helps develop various types of strength needed for success on the court, including speed strength, absolute strength, and core strength. Incorporating specific exercises into a program can lead to significant improvements in a player's overall performance and reduce the risk of injuries.

One of the main reasons strength training is crucial for basketball players is the enhancement of blast impulse, which is the ability to generate force quickly. This attribute is vital for explosive movements, such as jumping for rebounds and changing directions rapidly.

Another key benefit of strength training is the improvement of power output. By building stronger muscles, basketball players can generate more force during gameplay, leading to higher jumps, faster sprints, and more forceful passes. This increased power output can give players an edge over their opponents and contribute to their team's success.

In addition to power output, strength training also improves agility. A well-rounded training program that targets different muscle groups and incorporates various exercises can help players become more nimble and agile on the court. This enhanced agility enables them to react faster to on-court situations and maintain an advantage over their opponents.

Note: You can try strength training specialized for basketball for free inside of Peak Strength.

Let’s dive deeper into what those actual exercises are and why they are going to benefit players throughout a training block.

10 Strength Exercises for Basketball

Exercise #1 - High Hang Power Clean

As a basketball player, building strength, agility, and coordination is crucial to elevating your game to the next level. The first exercise that can help you achieve these goals is the high hang power clean.

This dynamic and versatile movement targets key muscle groups and motions that are essential for basketball performance, making it an indispensable addition to any athlete's training regimen.

High hang power cleans promote power production by engaging the hips, knees, and ankles, thereby increasing speed, jump height, and overall basketball strength. This triple flexion action, combined with the explosive nature of the movement, trains your body to generate force quickly and efficiently. The result? Enhanced acceleration on the court, higher vertical leaps for rebounds and blocks, and greater physical dominance during gameplay.

Additionally, the high hang power clean is an excellent exercise for refining technical coordination. By starting from the high hang position, athletes are forced to maintain proper form and technique throughout the lift. This consistent practice improves neuromuscular efficiency, translating to smoother, more precise movements during high-pressure situations in the game.

Exercise #2 - Power Jerk

The second exercise that can help basketball players develop these qualities is the power jerk. This dynamic movement packs a punch when it comes to increasing athleticism and enhancing performance on the court.

The power jerk is a unique exercise that involves compressing the weight on your back, followed by an explosive upward thrust to lift it above your head. This counter movement is instrumental in building explosiveness, a key factor for basketball players.

The forceful nature of the power jerk trains your body to generate and transfer energy efficiently, enhancing your ability to make quick, powerful movements during gameplay. This can translate to faster breaks, higher jumps, and more aggressive defensive plays.

Another significant benefit of the power jerk is the development of dynamic trunk control. By requiring athletes to maintain core stability throughout the exercise, power jerks train the body to control the core during dynamic movements. This skill is essential for basketball players, as it enables them to change direction quickly, maintain balance during contact, and perform high-velocity actions with precision and stability.

Incorporating power jerks into your basketball training regimen can yield impressive results in both power and control. As you build explosive strength and improve your dynamic trunk control, you'll find yourself better equipped to handle the physical demands of the game, making you a more formidable player on the court. You can start with doing 4 sets of 4 or 5 sets of 3 at about 90 seconds rest for your working sets.

Exercise #3 - Single Leg Squat

Basketball players require exceptional lower body strength and power to dominate the court. The third exercise that can help develop these qualities is the single leg squat. This challenging yet rewarding movement should be a staple on any basketball player's leg power day, particularly for taller athletes who can benefit from the enhanced strength and stability it provides.

single leg squat demonstration

Single leg squats target multiple muscle groups, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, and calves. By working each leg individually, this exercise helps correct muscle imbalances and improves overall lower body strength.

For taller basketball players, this is especially important, as it can help counteract the increased demands placed on their lower body due to their height. Stronger legs translate to a more powerful presence on the court, enabling players to hold their ground, make explosive movements, and become more physical contenders.

In addition to increasing lower body strength, single leg squats also improve balance and stability. This is crucial for basketball players, as maintaining control during fast-paced, high-intensity gameplay is essential for success. The enhanced stability gained through single leg squats allows for more precise movements and quicker changes in direction, giving players the agility they need to outmaneuver their opponents.

Exercise #4 - Dumbbell Military Press

The dumbbell military press is an excellent exercise for targeting the shoulders, triceps, and upper back, making it a must for any basketball player's strength training program.

One of the primary benefits of the dumbbell military press is its ability to build overhead stability. This is crucial for basketball players, as overhead strength and control play a significant role in shooting, passing, and blocking. By developing this stability, athletes can improve their overall performance and reduce the risk of injury during high-intensity gameplay.

The dumbbell military press is best utilized during an absolute strength phase, when the focus is on maximizing muscle force production. For basketball players, performing sets of 7-9 repetitions is ideal, as this rep range promotes strength gains while maintaining proper form and technique. This exercise can be easily incorporated into any strength and conditioning program and can be adjusted to accommodate different fitness levels by varying the weight used.

Exercise #5 - Pogo Jumps

Explosive power and quickness are essential attributes for any player looking to excel on the court. Pogo jumps, an exercise similar to bunny hops, are an effective way to develop these qualities, making them a valuable addition to any basketball player's training program.

Pogo jumps involve a quick, reactive jumping motion where athletes aim to minimize ground contact time while maximizing height. This exercise trains both the elastic and reactive properties of the muscles, helping to improve vertical leap, quickness, and overall explosive power. These benefits directly translate to enhanced performance during gameplay, such as faster sprints, higher jumps for rebounds and blocks, and the ability to change direction more rapidly.

To increase the challenge and add a resistance component to pogo jumps, athletes can incorporate powerlastic bands. By using a band, players are forced to contract their muscles more intensely during the jump, resulting in increased power production and muscle activation. This added resistance not only makes the exercise more demanding but also accelerates strength and power development.

Exercise #6 - Rotating Jump Lunge

Time to target agility, stability, and lower body strength to outperform your opponents on the court. The exercise that can help develop these attributes is the rotating jump lunge. Similar to regular jump lunges, this dynamic movement involves a twist at the hips and a change in foot placement, adding an extra dimension of complexity and challenge to the exercise.

Rotating jump lunges not only target key lower body muscles like the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, but also engage the core muscles, providing a comprehensive workout for athletes.

The twisting motion in this exercise trains the body to be more agile and coordinated, allowing for smoother changes in direction and improved lateral movement during gameplay. These benefits are essential for basketball players, as they need to be able to react quickly and efficiently to stay ahead of their opponents.

To further challenge themselves, athletes can incorporate a medicine ball or a hydro weight into the rotating jump lunge. Holding the weight overhead while performing the exercise places additional emphasis on dynamic trunk control, enhancing core stability and overall balance. This increased stability can translate to better control and precision on the court, allowing players to maintain their footing during high-pressure situations.

Exercise #7 - Neutral Grip Pull Up

A well-rounded upper body is needed to excel on the court. The next exercise that can help develop this attribute is the neutral grip pull-up. This powerful movement is an excellent hypertrophic exercise for building upper body strength and serves as a perfect complement to the pushing and pressing movements commonly found in basketball training programs.

Neutral grip pull-ups target key muscle groups, including the lats, biceps, and shoulders, contributing to a balanced and powerful upper body.

To further enhance the benefits of neutral grip pull-ups, athletes can combine them with plyometric or reflexive movements. This pairing promotes the development of explosive power and speed, allowing players to react more quickly to on-court situations and generate greater force during gameplay. Combining neutral grip pull-ups with plyometric exercises can lead to significant improvements in overall athleticism and performance.

By consistently practicing this exercise and pairing it with plyometric or reflexive movements, you can unlock new levels of power and agility, giving you the edge you need to excel on the court. Embrace the challenge of neutral grip pull-ups and watch your basketball performance reach new heights.

Exercise #8 - Explosive Push Up

The reflexive exercise that can help achieve these goals is the explosive push-up. This dynamic movement combines strength and reflexive training, making it an ideal complement to neutral grip pull-ups for a well-rounded basketball training program.

Explosive push-ups involve a powerful pushing motion, propelling the body off the ground and training the chest, shoulders, and triceps. This reflexive movement helps build explosive power, speed, and agility, which are crucial for basketball players.

Incorporating explosive push-ups into your training regimen can enhance your ability to push past opponents, make forceful passes, and maintain control during high-intensity gameplay.

To maximize the benefits of explosive push-ups, consider supersetting them with neutral grip pull-ups. This pairing not only creates a balanced workout for your upper body but also promotes the development of power and athleticism. When supersetting these exercises, aim to wait only 30-45 seconds between sets. This short rest period maintains the intensity of the workout and stimulates optimal strength and power gains.

Exercise #9 - Euro Step

The euro step balance is as specific as you can get for basketball players. This plyometric is going to take the exact movements you use during playtime and incorporate them into your strength training.

The euro step balance can be used with a medicine ball or a plate to simulate holding a ball. You want it to be a little heavier so that you are focused on controlling the package securely.

You’ll start at an initial point and then have an elevated target about 10 feet in front of you. You will then euro step while holding the weight and then pause once you step up onto the elevated target. Make sure to also hold the lad across your body when you finish each rep.

This drill is perfect for building balance, core stability, and also lateral adaptations for overall performance during gameplay.

Exercise #10 - Stair Jumps

The final exercise on this list is the stair jump. This plyometric movement is particularly beneficial for larger and heavier athletes, as it takes some of the load off the knees and joints while still providing an effective cyclical jump.

Stair jumps involve leaping up a set of stairs and landing softly, focusing on minimizing ground contact time and maximizing jump height. This exercise targets key lower body muscles, including the quadriceps, hamstrings, and glutes, helping to build strength and power necessary for basketball players. By consistently practicing stair jumps, athletes can improve their vertical leap, agility, and overall explosiveness on the court.

One of the key benefits of stair jumps is the improvement in reactive strength over time. As athletes become more proficient in landing and jumping quickly, their ability to react to rebounds and other fast-paced situations during gameplay will also improve.

This enhanced reaction time can give players a competitive edge, allowing them to secure rebounds and make game-changing plays more effectively.Incorporating stair jumps into your basketball training program can lead to significant gains in power, quickness, and reactive strength.


Throughout this article, we've explored various exercises that can enhance different aspects of a player's performance, such as agility, vertical jump height, and stability on the court.

While there are numerous other exercises that can be beneficial for a basketball-specific program, the exercises discussed in this post serve as the starting lineup of movements that can significantly boost player performance. By consistently incorporating these exercises into your training routine, you can develop the essential strength, power, and agility needed to excel on the court and outperform your opponents.

If you want to find more exercises and programming that is specific to basketball, check out the Peak Strength app developed by our team. Peak Strength is a complete programming app that caters to the resources you have and aligns with your goals to provide world class programming right in your pocket. Embrace the power of strength training and elevate your basketball game to new heights now!

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Yo, It's Dane

Welcome to the Garage Strength Blog, where it is my goal to provide you with the experience and knowledge I've gained in the strength and conditioning world over many years of learning from both successes and failures. I train elite-level athletes in a multitude of sports from the high school to professional levels, already producing 5 Olympics and 30+ National Champions. If you want to be the next champion I train, check out my strength programs below!

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