Basketball workouts at home: pro training tips
Want to improve your basketball skills? Watch pro trainer Paul Fabritz as he goes step-by-step through his favorite individual basketball workouts.
When it comes to honing your basketball skills, playing the game is just one piece of the equation. Paul Fabritz trains pros like James Harden, and he stresses the importance of muscle strength and overall fitness on the court, which you can build with workouts for basketball players at home.
7 Exercises for a Full-Body Basketball Workout
You don’t need a court or even teammates to practice these basketball workouts. These are some of Paul Fabritz’s favorite exercises and individual basketball drills.
Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of each move:
HOP AND HOLD
What’s Working: The muscles and tendons in your feet, ankles, knees and hips.
Why: To improve your balance and stability when you’re hustling on the court.
1. Start by standing on your left foot with your core engaged and knees slightly bent, holding a basketball in front of you. You can also practice the movements with no ball by pretending to hold one.
2. Hop from your left foot to your right foot.
3. Stabilize on your right foot and lift the ball over your head as if to shoot – just like a fake-up.
4. From this position, come back down and hop back to your left foot.
5. Stabilize on your left foot and repeat the fake-up motion with the ball. This completes one repetition.
6. Repeat these steps for a total of four repetitions for one set.
7. Switch sides and lead with the opposite foot for your next set.
Bring It: If you’re comfortable with this move and want to build more strength, Fabritz suggests holding a medicine ball instead of a basketball.
What’s Working: Your ankles, knees, and overall agility.
Why: To improve your ability to quickly change direction when you’re playing.
1. Stand with your legs apart and your knees slightly bent, holding a basketball in front of your chest.
2. Hop diagonally from left to right, then from right to left.
3. Reverse the motion from step 2, hopping back to your starting position. You might know this move as a Euro Step.
4. Repeat these moves for a total of four repetitions to complete one set.
Bring It: Pro ballers love this move for speeding past the defense towards the hoop. Advanced players can make this drill more challenging by holding a medicine ball.
What’s Working: The elasticity of your muscles and tendons. Says Fabritz, “what we're trying to do is turn our muscles and our tendons into human springs.”
Why: When it comes to dunking, jumping and speeding across the court, elasticity is key: “We don't just want to be strong with our muscles, we also want to be springy and elastic, and the depth jump is one of the top exercises for building that.”
1. Stand on a step or sturdy box that’s about 12 inches above the ground, but no higher than your knee height.
2. With your shoulders directly over your knees, and your knees directly over your toes, drop from the box to a stable position and hold for two seconds (this is the beginner version).
3. Swing your arms and jump as high as you can.
4. Repeat these steps for two to four repetitions each set.
Bring It: If you’re familiar with this move, bounce your feet when you step off the box to power up before your jump. For a more advanced depth jump, spring up into your jump as soon as your feet hit the ground.
REAR FOOT ELEVATED SPLIT SQUATS
What’s Working: Your quads, your glutes and your adductor muscles.
Why: These muscles power your vertical jump and help you blow by defenders.
1. For this move you need a box, a step or a bench – anything that's about 12 inches off the ground, but no higher than your knees.
2. Stand in front of the box on your right foot and bring your left leg back so that your foot is resting on the box behind you. Point your toes to bring the top of your foot flat on the box.
3. Lower yourself slowly, counting two seconds, until your thigh is parallel to the floor.
4. Launch yourself back up for a count of one.
5. Repeat this “two seconds down, one second up” lunge for a total of 15 repetitions to complete the set.
6. Switch legs and do another set of 15 repetitions on the opposite side.
Bring It: If you need more burn, try 20-25 reps.
What’s Working: Your core stability and your abdominal muscles.
Why: Core strength can help you stay balanced and light on your feet for tricky plays, and that increased stability can also help you avoid injury.
1. Start in a push-up position, on your hands and toes with your palms stable on the ground.
2. Engage your core and keep your spine flat, like a tabletop.
3. Inch your feet back, one at a time, as far as you can go. Advanced athletes can sometimes inch back until they’re flat on the ground. See if you can inch back six to 12 inches at first.
4. Inch forward, one foot at a time, to your starting position to complete one rep.
5. Start with two to four sets of eight repetitions.
ELEVATED HIP BRIDGE HOLD
What’s Working: The all-important gluteus muscles, plus your core.
Why: Strong glutes can help you make quick moves and power across the court, no matter what position you play.
1. Grab your box. Lie face-up with your head and shoulders on the box and your feet flat on the ground. Your knees should be bent at a 90-degree angle and positioned directly over your ankles.
2. Squeeze your glutes and keep your hips flat and parallel with the ground.
3. Lift one leg off the ground, keeping the knee at a 90-degree angle. Transfer your weight to the other leg and squeeze your glute on that side.
4. With one leg in the air and the other on the ground, hold this position for 20-30 seconds, squeezing your glute muscle as hard as you can the entire time.
5. Lower your leg and repeat the move on the opposite side to complete a set.
6. Try two to four sets, holding the pose for 20-30 seconds each time.
Bring It: 30 seconds just doesn’t do it for your glute muscle anymore? Try holding the pose for up to a minute on each side.
What’s Working: Your chest, shoulders and arms, which propel your basketball shoot.
Why: By increasing the range of motion, yoga push-ups activate your upper chest and shoulders. Says Fabritz, “It's very similar motion to our shooting motion.”
1. Start in a classic push-up position, with your toes and palms on the ground. Keep your elbows close to your side.
2. Lower yourself just like you normally would for a push-up, for a count of two seconds.
3. Push yourself up and back into a Downward Dog-style position. Keep your ab muscles engaged and your back flat.
4. Lower yourself back into starting position to complete one repetition. Start with eight reps per set, increasing your reps as you get stronger.
Small Gains Can Up Your Game in a Big Way
Fabritz suggests working out on non-consecutive days; three days per week is a great start. Just like with any workout routine, aim for consistency, and pay attention to every sign of progress. Regular practice – even if it’s just ten or 15 minutes – is the key to unleashing your basketball best.
Get more of Fabritz’s basketball fitness tips from this guide to basketball stretches, and learn exercises increase your vertical jump.