Basketball Strength Training for Newbies

Take a look around. What are you seeing more and more in basketball? Guys on the court that are as big and wide as a barn-yard door. I was watching a NBA game last night and there happened to be a game playing on that ESPN classic channel at the same time. I found myself flipping back and fourth between commercials.

I knew today's players carry quite a bit more muscle mass then the players of the early '80s. But WOW, I couldn't believe the difference. When you have the chance to see both eras playing at the same time, the difference becomes even more apparent! If Michael Cooper were to attempt to take a charge with LeBron James coming at him with a full head of steam, I think Coop would be sent flying into the 10th row. And back then, Mr. Cooper was one bad boy!

Times have changed, and this will only continue in the years to come. Get strong or get left behind. But where do you begin? If you do not have an experienced strength coach to work with, what are you to do? There are a couple things you can't risk happening.

  • You don't want to get hurt. And if you don't know what you are doing, that can easily happen.
  • You don't want to put all that time into resistance training without getting results. Spinning your wheels and going nowhere is very frustrating. That time could have been better spent developing your left hand, or working on your mid-range game.

So, if you are new to the strength training world, are you simply out of luck? NO!

The Pushup

Everyone thinks they know how to do pushups with proper form. But from what I've seen, most people do NOT do them properly. This is especially true of beginners. To make sure you are know how to perform these with proper technique, let's go over the correct form.

As you start the descent, "pull" yourself down with your shoulder blades, tuck your elbows 45 degrees relative to your torso, keep your head/neck neutral (in line with your spine) throughout, and keep your abs tight (like you are about to take a punch to the stomach). Make sure to have the chest lead the way to the ground (or bench), NOT the chin. Go down slow and controlled, and explode up to the top. This "explosion" is controlled speed. Think of keeping your body rigid throughout. Do not let the hips or upper back lead the way on the ascent. The hips and shoulders should be as one. In the video below, you'll see the following exercises. They are in order from easiest to hardest. Make sure you master the easiest before moving onto the next level up.

  • Bench Pushups (easiest)
  • Step Pushups
  • Floor Pushups
  • Feet Elevated Pushups
  • Spiderman Pushups
  • Band Pushups (hardest, and to make it even more difficult, just use a thicker band)
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