The best workout for playing basketball is playing basketball. Running will help building the muscles and endurance needed for the aerobic side of the game. Doing sprints are really important though because basketball is a game of sprinting. Squats are good to help build up your jumping muscles in your legs and bench press is good to build up your arm strength. Another good exericse is to practice shooting with a medicine ball that is much heavier that the real ball.
There are many exercises that will improve your basketball game. A mixture of both cardio and weight training will most effectively prepare your body for the game. An effective exercise that builds the calf muscle can be done without expensive exercise equipment. You need only to find a set of stairs or even a single step.
Facing toward the step, place your toes on the step edge, letting your heels hang over. Raise yourself up on your tiptoes and then lower yourself to a flat footed position. Repeat for one minute. Rest for a minute, and then repeat 3 times. This simple exercise will help increase jumping height and improve a player’s rebounding and shooting technique.
Straight cardio is not the most optimal exercise in training for basketball. Because it is a game played in spurts, interval training (springing for 20 seconds, jogging for 30, etc.) is better to develop conditioning, as well as running sprints along the length of a basketball court. You also need to develop explosiveness through plyometric and resistance training, something you won’t easily get just from lifting weights. Work with medicine balls to become stronger with the ball, and do a lot of motion-intensive lifts to work your entire body. You can also develop better ball handling by working with a tennis ball instead of a basketball.
Basketball is the obvious answer, but I would also suggest other sports that involve a high amount of cardiovascular exercise like soccer, especially indoor soccer and swimming. Also try jogging and sprinting exercises on days you’re not playing sports.
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