Bodybuilding is good for anyone, especially for athletes, but the program should be designed for how the body functions during play in a particular sport. Thus, a basketball player’s routine will differ from that of a football player or a baseball player.

For your vertical jump and a quick give-and-go, you’ll want lower-body explosive power. To hang onto the ball during the wrestling match of rebounding, you’ll want upper-body strength. And for game-long sprints up and down the court, you’ll want endurance. I orient my basketball clients’ programs around explosive or rhythmic lifting, with those criteria in mind.


Leg extensions should be what I call rhythmic — moderate speed, consistent pace and high reps of 12-15 — for sprinting up and down the court. Squats, on the other hand, should be explosive, with lower reps of eight to 10, to develop jumping strength and powerful lateral darting. Incline leg presses should also be explosive, the push coming from your heels and rear parts of the balls of your feet. Also, do not ignore leg curls for hamstrings; those are perhaps your most important leg muscles for leaping, bounding and springing. During leg curls, you can go all-out, with heavy weight and reps of 10-12.


The importance of shoulder strength is evident every time your arms become entangled with your opponent’s. Sometimes you have to literally lift him off the floor in reaching for the ball. Military presses, and lateral and front raises are indispensable for superiority in these areas, but their training should be for power and strength, more than for endurance. Therefore, I suggest you train your shoulders with a bodybuilding style, using a rep range of eight to 10 for militaries and 10-12 for raises, with movements that are tightly controlled, feeling the muscle progressively fatigue through the set. 


In basketball, these function as one muscle group, especially when wrenching the ball away from your opponent in a rebound. Work your back vertically, with chins; horizontally, with rows; and lower-back pivoting movements, such as stiff-leg deadlifts, that raise your upper body from a bent-over position to upright.


Biceps and triceps strength is valuable for the same functions as shoulders and back, so your arms, as well, should be trained bodybuilding- style, with mind-muscle connection, a consistent pace and reps of 10-12.

With a weight-training program, your bodyweight will likely increase, but those gains will be in muscle mass, and your concomitant strength gains will more than compensate. You’ll be a bigger, stronger, quicker, higher-flying, better basketball player. 



  • Barbell Bench Presses | SETS: 4 | REPS: 8-10
  • Flat-Bench Dumbbell Flyes | SETS: 3 | REPS: 8-10
  • Seated Military Presses | SETS: 3 | REPS: 8-10
  • Dumbbell Lateral Raises | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-12
  • Dumbbell Front Raises | SETS: 2 | REPS: 10-12
  • Lying Triceps Extensions | SETS: 3 | REPS: 8-10
  • Triceps Pushdowns | SETS: 2 | REPS: 10-12
  • Barbell Curls | SETS: 3 | REPS: 8-10
  • Preacher Curls | SETS: 2 | REPS: 8-10


  • Leg Extensions | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12-15
  • Squats | SETS: 4 | REPS: 8-10
  • Leg Presses | SETS: 3 | REPS: 8-10
  • Chinups | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-12
  • Barbell Rows | SETS: 4 | REPS: 10-12
  • Stiff-Leg Deadlifts | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-12
  • Leg Curls | SETS: 3 | REPS: 10-12
  • Standing Calf Raises | SETS: 3 | REPS: 12-15

NOTES: Train every other day, alternating the first workout one session, legs and back the next (thus, each bodypart is worked every four days). Do a warm-up set for the first exercise. Pyramid all working sets. Train your abdominals every day.