I recently wrote an article for iHoops called about basketball strength training for newbies. Many of the loyal iHoops readers liked it, BUT some of you asked me for something a little more advanced than a bunch of body weight exercises.
My response to these youngsters went something like this; "I know you want to do heavy benches presses and squats, but honestly, at this point in your 'training career,' push-ups, body weight lunges/split squats, and some core exercises are all you need to get off to a great start in the weight room." (yes, there are a few exceptions to this rule). Well, hopefully you took this advice and mastered the form on the exercises that I outlined in this article.
After putting in 6-plus consistent months at the beginner ("newbie") stage of weight training, you will start to approach the intermediate level. Once entering this new level of manhood (or womanhood), it's time to start packing some weight onto the bar. After all, body weight exercises can only take you so far. With that said, I will highlight five great exercises for you to include to help you take your strength to the next level.
Trap Bar Deadlift
Deadlifts (and their variations) are one of the best exercises to include for improving strength throughout the entire body. It hammers the "posterior chain" (hamstrings, glutes, back), which are the muscles most responsible for speed and strength. It also works your gripping muscles, your core, and your quads. Talk about big-bang-for-your-buck!
You can also do conventional deadlifts and sumo deadlifts. However, the trap bar deadlift is the easiest to learn and master. So I suggest starting with the trap bar before moving onto a straight barbell.
The push press is basically an overhead press with a bit of a leg drive. Push presses work your shoulders, triceps, and core. This is a great exercise for improving upper body strength and power. I should add; overhead pressing is not for everyone. To see if you "qualify" to overhead press, check out The Right Exercises for Your Basketball Strength Training.
Now, I must say, I think the bench press is an overrated exercise. Not that I never have my athletes bench. It's just that TOO MUCH emphasis is often put on the bench press.
C'mon, admit it, this is the first question you ask your friends: How much you bench? Meanwhile, squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, and other great exercises often get tossed to the wayside. Because I KNOW you are going to make the bench press a big part of your lifting program no matter what I say, we might as well go over proper technique...