9 Essential Leg Exercises & Workouts for Basketball Players
For basketball players, the legs are undeniably important. They are necessary for jumping, landing, pivoting, running, and lunging for the ball. And if you want to excel in basketball, you can't skip leg day.
Improving your leg strength, mobility, and coordination can help you better maneuver on the court. It allows you to jump higher, change direction quickly, run faster and defend at a high level. It also contributes to a reduced risk of injuries.
Yet, many basketball players have the same problem; they jump into plyometric training without first focusing on the basics.
Ideally, a solid leg training program should focus on various factors. You want strengthening moves, plyometrics, balance and coordination exercises, and mobility-focused movements. Combined, these factors give way to efficient movements on court and during a game.
So, what exercises should you consider including in your basketball leg strengthening program?
Check out the 9 exercises below that we think are essential exercises for basketball players.
The Single Leg Romanian Deadlift exercise contributes to foundational glute strength, balance, hip stability, and coordination. Slow and steady always wins during this exercise. If you lose balance, restart the rep.
This is a full-body movement, with a focus on the lower body. Add load with either a dumbbell or kettlebell.
This exercise is also all about control. Go slow on the way down, feel tension in the hips, full foot pressure, and drive up strong. Doing this movement regularly will strengthen not only your lower body, but also will contribute to better balance and stability overall.
Glutes are vital in core strength and athletic development. The glutes are part of the power behind your jump. By performing glute bridges, you develop a mind-muscle connection, and lay the foundation for further exercises and movements for complete preparation and injury prevention.
The Isometric Split Squat is a foundational position. It helps build strength and hip stability, establishing the basis for strength in your lower body.
This is another isometric exercise that works to build strength by creating tension in a low, long, and extended range of motion. A position crucial for the movement quality needed to be a lockdown defender..
Lunges are an active movement that mimic the various actions a player experiences on the court. Further challenging the hip, knee, and ankle to be both mobile and stable, while engaging the muscles of the lower body.
The Marching Plantar-Dorsiflexion exercise helps develop structural integrity through the foot and ankle. It uses an end-range of motion to engage the stabilizing muscles of the ankle joint. This is important since a lack of ankle mobility may inhibit your ability to squat or lunge properly. In turn, this can prevent a proper loading phase involved in jumping, as well as cause inefficient movement mechanics.
Snap Downs are all about force management. After you’ve learned to load slow and controlled with your squat, snap downs are the starting point to establishing proper loading and landing mechanics with increased velocity. This develops the stiffness and coordination needed to generate an explosive and reactive takeoff.
Seated Box Jumps are all about force production. With the proper coordination and movement efficiency from the lower body exercises above, you’re ready for takeoff. Seated box jumps provide an effective way to challenge your explosiveness and improve your jump height.
If you want a step-by-step program to help you improve your basketball game and technique, check out the 12 Week Athletic Development Program for Basketball Players. This program provides a full-body guide on what you need to do to improve your movement efficiency, power, and strength. And this all starts with improving your foundation and doing the right exercises to get you to where you need to be.