What Are The Benefits Of Weight Training In Basketball?

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As basketball is a physically demanding sport that requires strength, endurance, and speed, many people wonder: should basketball players lift weights?

Weight training offers several benefits to basketball players like better speed, decreased likelihood of injury, and enhanced overall performance. However, many arguments exist about the connection between weightlifting and basketball performance.

Let’s dig a little deeper to find out the benefits of weight training for basketball players.

8 Benefits Of Weight Training In Basketball

Before getting into the advantages of weight training when playing basketball, you should know that there are various ways to lift weights. You can use free weights, machines, and your body weight. Different weightlifting exercises have different benefits, and it is best to try each of them and figure out which is best for your needs.

However, whichever weight training exercise you prefer, you must be conscious of the weight you are lifting and the technique. It would be best to slowly increase the weight because starting with heavy weights could result in severe injury.

Below are the 8 reasons you should start weight training to be victorious on the basketball court.

#1 – Protects Your Body

The strength you gain from weight training can help in reducing your likelihood of getting injured on the basketball court. Weight training will help enhance your flexibility and avoid injury. Moreover, basketball weight training will also develop muscles around the joints, protecting them from severe injuries.

Running can put a lot of stress and pressure on the body and knees, resulting in injury. Replacing your intense cardio exercises with weight training will reduce the chance of injury on or off the basketball court. Also, weight training strengthens your bones!

#2 – Enhances Speed

Basketball is fast-paced, and newer players often struggle to keep up with the others. If you desire to boost your speed, weight training is the solution. By building more muscle in your body, you will have an improved power output, which will, as a result, increase your speed output.

#3 – Able To Take The Bump/Knock-Out In Basketball

In basketball, players can knock or bump the ball out of another player’s hands after taking their free throws. This method makes the opponent chase after the basketball and gives you more time to make a basket.

If a defender bumps you using their body to knock you off your stride, you cannot drive the basketball to the basket in a straight line, making it harder to make your play. 

One of the most practical ways to render the defender powerless is for basketball players to be strong. Strength is essential to drive the ball in a straight line and not be impacted by force or bumps. Weight training that concentrates on strength training will help you achieve that.

#4 – Able To Finish The Move Around The Rim

Being a skilled basketball player using impressive moves on the basketball court is purposeless if you do not have the stability and strength to tackle the defender and finish the game strong.

Even endless practice is useless if there is no strength in your lower body; your moves and plays might not work.

You will not have enough strength to resist the bumps coming your way, drive with your legs, and finish your play via contact.

Weight training will allow you to gain the power to drive through. The capacity to jump higher will also improve by lifting weights, a valuable skill for any player because it enables different tasks like blocking shots and scoring in a close basketball game.

#5 – Become A Lockdown Defender

A lockdown defender is one of the defense’s most promising players. A lockdown defender can shut down even the finest offensive player on the opposing team.

Some famous lockdown defenders are Shane Battier, Chris Paul, Iman Shumpert, Avery Bradley, and Paul George.

Building muscle and strength by weight training will let you defend numerous positions on the basketball court, regardless of your height.

When preventing the other team from scoring baskets, you must move your feet. However, you will also require the strength to hold your competitor in front of you and challenge the shot.

To defend a taller basketball player, you will require the power and force to make it more difficult for the opposing player to make the play. Increased strength will enhance your basketball performance, even if you are short.

#6 – Be More Physical On Offense

An excellent offensive player can tire out his defender with powerful dribble penetration, initiating contact, and posting up. The offensive basketball player has the advantage if he initiates the contact without charging.

However, playing physical will lead to more fouls in favor of the offensive player, and the defender’s guard will lessen as the game advances. So, by the time the fourth quarter arrives, you can overpower your opposition with improved strength, as they will be exhausted because of the physical contact.

#7 – Injury Prevention And Quick Recovery

Lifting weights builds up endurance and strengthens the tendons and ligaments. Your entire body will benefit from weight training because it will prevent you from severe injuries and allow speedy recovery. Due to the improved muscle mass density from lifting weights, your body can bounce back shortly.

#8 – Feel Confident

For young basketball players, it is recommended to start lifting weights early to reap the benefits of weight training. Moreover, most basketball players focus on the main muscles like the glutes, thighs, or chest when lifting weights.

However, you must also train the smaller muscles like your obliques, core, and rotator cuff. The neglected muscles are usually the first ones to get injured.

Role of Lifting Weights In Basketball

Lifting weights substantially improves the performances of basketball players. However, an appropriate weight training program would enhance a player’s efficiency.

For basketball players who want to lift weights, it is essential to train the entire body. Some areas to focus on when weight training are:


It refers to the full range of motion of a joint, making it a crucial element in lifting weights efficiently. When weight training, basketball players should focus on their hips, knees, and ankles because these body parts are affected when jumping, which is a necessary action in basketball. 


Stability is another important factor in weight training. It refers to how stable and maintained an individual’s movement is. Stability permits players to be more precise in shooting and recover from and prevent injury. 


This is critical in weight lifting, and in moving from one place to another, like moving around the basket court, the balance has to be maintained constantly. Good balance lets players absorb contact to catch the basketball in a scoring position. 


Weight training also improves posture and form. Doing upright rows, bent-over rows, and other exercises can improve players’ posture and ensure they do not have a hunched-over form. 

Workout Routine For Basketball Players

Basketball is about skill and speed, and building muscle is beneficial. However, getting too bulky can slow you down.

An ideal goal for basketball players should be to get toned.

Below is mentioned an example of a sample weight training workout for basketball players:

Dumbbell Presses

  • Start with pyramid training. You begin heavy and slowly decrease the repetitions or weights.
  • It is recommended to do 5 to 6 reps. Go up 2 to 5 kgs for each set until you can only perform 4 to 6 reps of the heaviest weight, and then decrease weight.

Shoulder Presses

  • Observe the pyramid format for 5 to 6 sets. 
  • Go up 2 to 5 kgs for each set until you can only perform 4 to 6 reps of the heaviest weight, then reduce the weight.

Reverse Fly

  • Begin with light weights and gradually increase them.
  • Perform 2 to 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps.

Bicep Curls

  • Begin light and slowly increase the repetitions or your weight. 
  • You can perform 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.

Tricep Dips

  • Perform this exercise on a training bench.
  • It is recommended to do 4 sets of 8 to 12 reps.
  • Use lighter weights and increase gradually.

Kettlebell Or Dumbbell Squat Jumps

  • Choose a weight that you are comfortable with.
  • You can do 3 sets of 8 to 10 reps and gradually increase your weight and reps.

How To Lift Weights Effectively And Safely As a Basketball Player?

  • Do not forget to warm up before beginning your workout, and you can do this by doing light stretches followed by simple aerobic exercise.
  • Slow and controlled movements and lifting weights with proper posture are essential.
  • Do not lift to the point of exhausting yourself. 
  • Rest days are essential between weight training sessions to allow your body to recover.

In A Nutshell

Should basketball players lift weights?

While defending, throwing, and shooting the ball are essential, basketball players need to make an effort to gain muscular strength by lifting weights to execute those moves flawlessly. However, weight lifting is a fantastic addition to a basketball player’s workout routine, but do not bulk up too hard, or it will slow down your performance on the court.

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Justin D. Johnson
Justin D. Johnson
Justin is a PhD student at Stanford University and has been a basketball youth coach for over ten years. He is passionate about sports, cinema, astronomy, and sharing knowledge.