If you're a girl with game, you're part of a growing breed. Basketball is among the most popular sports for women, particularly at the college level where there are more women's teams than men's, according to the National Collegiate Athletic Association. While being tall or having a long reach are definite assets, muscle power may be your best weapon on the court. A basketball strength-training workout routine will help you develop the muscles you need to run, pass and, most importantly, sink those baskets!
Explosive strength is dangerous -- in a good way. Developing explosive strength is crucial for basketball, as many aspects of the sport -- shooting, blocking and grabbing rebounds -- involve jumping and other so-called explosive moves. The method used to develop explosive strength is called plyometrics. Some plyometric exercises to include in your basketball strength-training workout routine are squat jumps, single leg hops, jumping over cones in front of you and to your sides, and long jumps. These exercises will train your leg muscles to jump higher and help you gain a competitive edge.
Stretching can have a significant impact on the results of your strength-training routine. According to a study published in the February 2010 edition of "Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research," combining a stretching routine with your workout program can increase strength gains compared to a workout program alone. Begin and end your workouts with stretches for the muscles targeted during your exercise session to make the most of your routine. Stretching provides some downtime during which you can strategize about upcoming games or chat with your girlfriends.
Upper Body Exercises
Blocking, passing and shooting require upper body strength, so exercises for the muscles of your upper body should play a major role in your workout routine. Exercises such as the bench press, pull-down, overhead press and back fly can help develop the muscles of your upper body you'll need to dominate on the court. These exercises can also help tone your arms and make them appear more toned and defined, a great perk for the off-season as well!
Lower Body Exercises
In addition to jumping exercises that help boost plyometric strength, you should perform lower body exercises with more controlled, less explosive motions to support running, pivoting and other tasks. Among the best lower body exercises for basketball are squats, leg presses and deadlifts. As with arm exercises, these exercises have a toning effect.
Building core strength is important for basketball. In addition to helping you develop an enviable set of abs, core exercises will help you transfer power from your legs to your upper body when shooting. Exercises such as weighted crunches, mountain climbers and hanging knee raises can be effective for this task. The first two can be performed virtually anywhere, so you can use them to keep your tummy tight year-round.
- NCAA.com: NCAA Participation Rates Going Up
- Perform Better!: Plyometric Training - Part II Jump Higher for Basketball Season
- Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: Early-Phase Resistance Training Strength Gains in Novice Lifters are Enhanced by Doing Static Stretching
- NBA.com: The Strength of the Sixers
- Stack.com: Build Your Women's Basketball Training Program
Brian Willett began writing in 2005. He has been published in the "Buffalo News," the "Daytona Times" and "Natural Muscle Magazine." Willett also writes for Bloginity.com and Bodybuilding.com. He is an American Council on Exercise-certified personal trainer and earned a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from the University of North Carolina.