Basic Strength Training Program

All beginner level players will benefit from a basic strength training programme that caters for increases in strength over the whole of their body. Exercises must be sequenced to make sure that the right muscle groups are addressed in the right order.

As a general rule, larger muscle groups are worked first before smaller muscle groups, and multi joint exercises are prescribed before single joint exercises. The number of sets for each exercise should start at three and progress as the training age of the player increases.

In order training sessions to help the body adapt as much as possible, a minimum of three sessions per week should be scheduled for beginners. This allows enough stimuli to optimise the adaptation by the players. The sessions should be spaced out over the week to allow for recovery between sessions, but often enough to have the body to continually adapt to the training prescribed.

Above is an example of a well-spaced weekly strength training plan.

The number of different sessions per week should be limited to two initially. This enables the exercises prescribed to have enough effect on the body to stimulate adaptation.

If you constantly change the exercises the body does not have enough time to adapt to the load effect of the prescribed exercise and thus shortens the time that the body will adapt to it.

Session 1 Repetitions Sets
Bench Press 6 3
Seated Row 8 4
Squats 5 3
Lateral Pull downs 8 4
Cable Trunk Rotations 8 4
Session 2 Repetitions Sets
Dumbbell Shoulder Press 6 4
Bench Pull 8 3
Dumbbell Lunges 6 4
Triceps Press 8 3
Dumbbell Curls 8 4

This programme should be followed for 4-6 weeks and then changed to ensure continued adaptation. Rest periods of 2 minutes should be taken between each set.

Each exercise should be undertaken with a load that enables the player to achieve all of the repetitions without failure whilst being very hard to complete the last 2 repetitions.

Basic Bodyweight Program

The following sessions are examples of bodyweight exercises that can be completed on a basketball court with minimal equipment. Depending on the time allowed for training, these sessions can be implemented separately throughout a training week or incorporated into skills training.

A simple method if highly restricted for time would be to include some of these exercises as part of the athletes, warm-up for training.

The exercises in these tables are done in sets so that those with the same letter are repeated together, i.e. one set of A1, and then one set of A2, brief rest, and then repeat until the described number of sets is achieved. This programme should be maintained for 4-6 weeks and then progressed with an increase in sets and/or repetitions.

See below for further information on the various exercises. Coaches should pay particular attention to athletes keeping their body as shown in the photographs.

Session 1 Sets
1A Backboard Tips – rebound off ground quickly 3*5
1B Clap Push Ups 3*5
2A Single Leg Hamstring Bridge 4*8/leg
2B Push Ups (vary grip, narrow, offset, close) 4 * max
3A Bulgarian Lunge 4*8/leg
3B Bench Tricep Dips 4*12
4A Prone Hold 2*1min
4B Side Hold 3*30sec/side
Session 2 Sets
Circuit 1 2-3 sets
Squat (pause at bottom) x10
Perfect pushups x10
Crunches x20
Single leg hamstring bridge x10/leg
Side double leg lift x20/side
Circuit 2 2-3 sets
Forward and back lunge x6/leg
Bench dips x10
Prone hold x30sec
Single leg calf raise x20/leg
Bent knee feet to ceiling x20
Circuit 3 2-3 sets
Lateral lunge x8/leg
Push up hold arm lift x10/arm
Side hold x30sec/side
Single leg squat to box x10/leg
Crunch hold 5 sec foot change x1 minute

Bench Tricep Dip

Starting Position
End Position

Bridged Hip Extension – Single Leg

Starting Position
End Position

Bulgarian Lunge

Starting Position
End Position (left) Extended End Position (right)

Hip Extension

Starting Position
End Position
End Position - single leg

Prone Hold

Push up with clap

Starting Position
End Position


Standard Position (left) Narrow Position (right)
Wide Position

Side Hold

Recommended Further Reading

For further information on the topics listed above, the follow reading list is recommended;

  • Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning – Baechle T.R
  • Designing Resistance Training Programs – Fleck S & Kraemer W
  • Strength Training for Basketball – Pauletto B
  • High-Performance Training for Sports – Joyce D & Lewindon D