Weight Lifting and Supplements for Basketball


Watching high school basketball games in the state of Nebraska and the Midwest the past several weeks, I have come to the conclusion that the majority of players are MISSING something very important for their basketball success. The MISSING pieces are strength and nutrition. Several of the top players in the state of Nebraska need to add strength and muscle weight to fully reach their potential on the high school basketball court. It’s all about boys and girls being honest with themselves and realizing that added strength/muscle can take them to another level on the basketball court. Lifting weights properly, taking the correct supplements, eating right and maintaining a consistent workout schedule is crucial for development. Even when you are IN SEASON, it’s ok to lift and maintain your weight and muscle. ALL college and professional players lift during the season which helps MAINTAIN STRENGTH and PREVENT INJURIES! If YOU want to play and contribute at the next level, it’s time to get committed in the weight room and become educated about what you are putting in your body!

When I was in high school in the early 2000’s weight lifting for basketball players was nonexistent. Coaches weren’t encouraging of their players to be in the weight room to lift. I believe it was a combination of high school coaches knowing little about the benefits of strength training and that coaches followed the mentality that weight lifting wasn’t important unless you were a football player. Are you truly maximizing your potential on the basketball court? In this article I want to touch on the importance of basketball specific weight training and using supplements for enhanced nutrition.

In part one of the series on eating right and fueling your body, a friend and certified nutritionist and personal trainer at Good Life Fitness in Lincoln,Nebraska shares some words on healthy eating. Below, Bryant Travis touches on the importance of weight training and supplementation.

“Weight training for basketball athletes should be looked at in two phases, an off-season phase and an in-season phase. The exercises do not necessarily need to be different but the way they are utilized should be. Lifts such as squats, power cleans, deadlifts, and other compound movements are extremely valuable to any athlete. These lifts go a long way in increasing strength and power. Becoming a stronger, more powerful athlete in the weight room will lead to a faster, quicker, and more explosive athlete on the court. There is no need for a basketball player to be concerned with isolation exercises such as curls, triceps extensions, chest fly’s, etc. Pressing movements, such as bench presses, do not need to be prioritized. One or two pressing movements should be plenty, leave the pressing to the football team. During the off- season, weight training can be higher volume and intense. Working up to near-failure in lower rep ranges. Weight training during the basketball season should be looked at as more of a maintenance phase where both volume and intensity are considerably lower. Weight training is great for basketball players but it should be utilized as an accessory to court time along with plyometric drills, foot drills, etc.”

Having a strong core is vital in basketball. If the core is weak a player will never be as powerful and explosive as they could be. Meaning decreases in vertical, speed, quickness, and agility. Having a weak core can also set an athlete up for injury. Some great ways to strengthen the core are planks of all forms (weighted especially), crunches using resistance, ab wheel roll outs, back extensions, and medicine ball slams. The compound lifts mentioned above will also go along ways in strengthening the core.”

Supplements are not needed and should be just what the name says… supplemental to a solid nutrition. Most supplements promise dramatic results and fail to deliver anything besides a lighter wallet. Before ever bothering with supplements an athlete should be far more concerned with their overall nutrition which will do far more in terms of performance. What an athlete eats the day before a game is far more important than what they can supplement with or eat in the hours leading up to a game. “ -Bryant Travis, Certified Nutritionist and Personal Trainer with Good Life Fitness

If college basketball is your ultimate goal or the professional ranks, strength training will be a staple in your life for many years. It’s time to get ahead of the curve and make adjustments in your life to make weight lifting part of your training. With school, family, social life, other sports, basketball, sleep, etc it’s hard to find time. If you truly want to be your best and continue to chase the college basketball dream, time management and your priorities must be in check. Strength training and proper nutrition are only two things on the long list of items to find time for in your basketball life, but are two things with a very large impact on performance. Once you learn proper techniques, you will be able to get in the weight room and transform your body in ways you never thought possible. These transformations and gains in the weight room are essential to higher productivity on the court and ultimately higher achievements on and off the basketball court.

I know many players don’t know how to lift or what exercises/lifts benefit you in the weight room. For further information on strength & conditioning or supplements to take, feel free to email me directly from the site or drop me a DM on twitter @vigliancohoops.