How to Get in Shape Like a Basketball Player

Getting in basketball shape requires developing lower- and upper-body strength.
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Basketball requires hours of practice developing fundamental skills as well as being in top physical shape to be able to perform those skills. Lower- and upper-body strength are required to be an effective basketball player, and many exercises can help you get in basketball shape. Doing these exercises will make you fitter -- even if you don't play basketball as your preferred sport.

General Conditioning Drills

    Step 1

    Begin your workout by stretching thoroughly to warm up. This warm-up should include lightly jogging up and down the basketball court, front and side lunges, hamstring stretches and quadriceps stretches. Warming up is an essential part of your workout, as it helps prevent injury.

    Step 2

    Grab a jump rope and rapidly jump with both legs for 45 seconds, with your left leg for 45 seconds and with your right leg for 45 seconds. Take a 30-second to one-minute break and repeat this workout two more times. Jumping rope will help build quickness, explosion and agility.

    Step 3

    In a low squat position with your butt down like you are sitting in an invisible chair, do defensive slides from side to side across the foul lane three times for 30 seconds. Defensive slides will improve your defensive ability and help build upper-leg strength by using your quads and hamstrings.

    Step 4

    Do calf raise exercises using a 2-by-4 piece of board. Place the balls of your feet on the board with your heels hanging off the back. Slowly rise onto your tiptoes and then lower back to your original position. Calf raise exercises will build your calf muscles, which will improve your vertical leap. Start with 15 reps and slowly add to your total as you get stronger.

    Step 5

    Lower into a pushup position, but rather than putting your palms flat on the ground, use only your fingertips to do pushups. Hand and wrist strength is essential to being in basketball-playing shape, as it enables you to handle the basketball. Do three sets of 15 and increase as you feel comfortable.

    Step 6

    Run sprints up and down the basketball court. Basketball requires quick spurts of speed followed by proper defensive position, so sprints will increase your endurance and your cardiovascular strength. Sprint as hard as you can up and down the floor five times, increasing as your fitness level increases.

Basketball Drills

    Step 1

    Grab a basketball and a stopwatch. Timing yourself for four minutes, shoot as many shots as you can for one minute each from the foul line, the left wing, the right wing and the three-point line. Try to score 40 points in the allotted time, repeating until you've reached your score. This drill will condition you to get your shots off quickly and help you to keep correct form even when you start getting tired.

    Step 2

    Dribble in a full sprint down the right side of the floor and shoot a right-handed layup on the opposite end. As soon as you land, jump again to rebound the ball out of the basket and sprint-dribble down the left side of the floor, finishing with a left-handed layup. Repeat this pattern until you've successfully made 10 layups using each hand. Incorporating dribbling and scoring into conditioning exercises will simulate a game situation and allow you to work on your fundamentals.

    Step 3

    With a partner playing defense on you and forcing you to switch directions, dribble in a zigzag pattern to half court. Once you've reached half court, attack the basket hard trying to score on your partner like you would in a game of one-on-one. After you've scored, switch with your partner so that you can work on defense. Full-court defense will quickly get you into playing shape.

    Step 4

    Using a weighted training ball or a basketball, pick out a spot on the backboard and do continuous jumps holding the ball with both hands above your head. Try to hit the spot you've picked out each time. Three sets of 15 continuous jumps with a 30-second break in between will sufficiently add to your stamina and your vertical jump.


    • Build up your strength and endurance gradually rather than jumping into a full workout.


    • Always use correct form when doing these exercises to avoid injury.

    Things You'll Need

    • Training or basketball shoes

    • Jump rope

    • 2-by-4 piece of wood

    • Stopwatch

    • Basketball

    • Weighted training ball

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