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How To Train Now That Basketball Season Is Almost Here

Basketball season is getting closer with each passing day. Because of this you should be making a point of starting to peak your off-season training if you haven't already. As a good rule of thumb to follow, the closer you are to your preseason camp starting the more you should be training at peak intensity - meaning weight - and peak technicality.

What this means is you should be hitting your PR’s and performing your strongest lifts of the summer. You should also be incorporating more dynamic and neurally demanding movements, even olympic lifting, if you are prepared for it.

Remember, you are training - you are not just working out and lifting weights. There is a difference. Training implies preparation with a specific purpose. Obviously, off-season strength & conditioning should be done to help you be the most explosive and athletic for the upcoming season.

So have you been training this summer? Or just lifting weights?

Incredible athlete Russell Westbrook

When I think of crazy athleticism I think of Russell Westbrook

At this stage of the off-season (late August at the time of this writing) your deadlifts and squats should have the most weight on the bar you’ve had all summer. You should be performing lower reps with high weight. Your training should include some degree of plyometric work like bounding, box jumps, hurdle jumps or similar. If you have the ability and can execute the technique then cleans, push jerks and other olympic lifting movements could be incorporated as well.

You should be training this way because you are not only peaking your physiology but also your nervous system. This way of training causes the brain to recruit more muscle fibers. Wouldn’t you like to step on the basketball court with the ability to recruit as much muscle fiber as possible? Many athletes (and coaches) don’t realize that they cannot recruit 100% of their muscle fibers and that training with heavier loads and with more dynamic movements “unlocks” your body’s ability to use these muscle fibers.

"Wouldn’t you like to step on the basketball court with the ability to recruit as much muscle fiber as possible?"

Basketball clients of mine at this stage in the off-season will also be performing their lifts with faster eccentrics - so less 5010 tempos and more like 2010 tempos, for example.

You should be leaving the gym with a sense of, “Hell yeah I feel awesome!” and not sore and worn out like you just went 12 rounds with Mike Tyson. (Do kids nowadays still know who that is?!) This is the time in your training calendar that you want to get your training exactly right. Doing sets of 12 reps or even more as well as doing exercises like leg extensions (Boo!) and leg press aren't the exercises that should be in your program right now.

So be strong and take long rests. Do a set of box jumps immediately after a set of squats. Improve the technique on your power clean. This is how your preseason strength training should look like.

Here is a demonstration with one of my professional basketball players doing a set of squats into a series of 4 hurdle jumps. The squat potentiates the nervous system so that when the jumps are performed more muscle fibers will be recruited. Over time the nervous system will remember these sets of jumps and also remember being able to recruit more muscle fibers.

And Voilá .. you’re jumping higher - with greater force and intensity!

Now go have yourself a great training session!!!

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