When it comes to basketball injury prevention, Strength is as the foundation. To take it a step further if an athlete wants to improve any physical attribute , run faster, jump higher, become quicker, or reduce injury strength is a major part of the equation. For some reason in the basketball world, strength is one of the least sought after attribute. Maybe it’s the old school body building methods, coaches fearing that my athletes will become slow, ineffective, or may affect the players mechanics on his or her jump shot is flat out wrong and potentially dangerous.
What do Michael Jordan, Kobe Brant, Steve Nash, Chauncey Billups, or Ron James and Dwight Howard have in common? Despite being somebody of the best basketball players in the world, they all live in the weight room and are very strong. None of these players have a body builder type body (except Dwight Howard. Nevertheless, he is just a beast in general) but they all have tremendous strength.
Strength is half of the equation when trying to produce ultimately what all coaches and players want which is power. Power is how much force you put in the ground and how fast you can do it. Strength allows you to increase your force production, which makes other parts of your training more effective. With a smart and progressive strength program any athlete can build strength to improve performance.
One thing I hear all the time from basketball players, coaches, and parents all the time is I want to do “Functional training”. I agree all training should be “functional”. My definition of functional training is training that makes sense. We want our strength gains to be applicable to playing basketball, and not just getting stronger at a certain lift. Lifting 5 pound weights and squatting on a bosu ball is not functional, it is just plain ineffective.
The strength gains that athletes and coaches should be looking for are improvements in relative strength. If I tell you to eat as much as you want and lift heavy during the summer, surely you will get stronger but you probably won’t be too effective as a player. We want to get stronger while staying as lean as possible. You can checkout sample programs HERE on the site.
Also in my opinion basketball is played mostly on one leg. Think about it running, cutting, shuffling is all done by pushing off and landing on one leg at a time. Sure there a times that you jump off toon’s legs, but more often than not you are jumping and landing on one leg. This is why it is paramount that you develop one-leg strength. Being strong on one leg is a key ingredient in basketball injury prevention. Exercises such as single leg squats, Bulgarian lunges, lunges, among others are very effective in building this strength.
Remember getting strong is just as important as working on your free throws or your ball handling. So are if you want to improve performance and stay healthy. Build a good strength foundation.