In basketball, and sports in general, developing a strong body is as essential as working on your skills. In fact, if you exercise and build strength, it can be said that it is the key to unlocking the other facets of your game. That is why power exercises for basketball and other exercises for basketball conditioning are essential as part of basketball training.
The best part about doing basic power exercises is that you can start by doing simple pushups. In turn, if you can’t do a full pushup at the beginning, you can build strength by doing push up variations for beginners. From there, you can gradually build strength and do more basketball exercises for beginners. Before learning more about power exercises, let us first know the benefits of doing pushups.
Why are Pushups Good for Basketball?
Doing pushups is an excellent way to build upper body strength. Pushups work and tone the pecs, the triceps, and the shoulders. When done correctly, you can also bolster your core and lower back. No matter how simple and ancient this exercise is, it is proven effective in building strength. The best part about pushups is, you can do it anytime and anywhere without the help of expensive gym equipment.
Now, why are pushups good for basketball? Because in basketball, upper body strength is vital to excelling. For example, basketball is a contact sport that involves a lot of banging and pushing. Additionally, almost all basketball moves require endurance and the use of upper body muscles such as passing, shooting, dribbling, rebounding, and more. Without adequate upper body strength, you can get easily displaced and won’t be able to absorb contact when driving or establishing a position under the basket.
How Many Pushups Should an Athlete Do a Day?
There are no definite answers to this, and it may simply boil down to the strength program an athlete is in and his level.
For instance, many ordinary people can do 300 pushups a day with no problem. But the thing is, every person is different, and it depends on the specific sport how many pushups they should incorporate in the overall training program.
However, as a measuring stick, let’s see what science says about this. Dr. Lawrence Golding, professor of kinesiology at UNLV, suggested pushup benchmarks for men and women of different ages. He says the norm for men 20-29 years of age is 13-24 pushups, while women at the same age should be able to do 12-22 consecutive pushups on average. If you are at an athlete level at that age range, you should be able to do at least 47 consecutive for men and 36 for women.
This is totally unofficial, but Military.com also suggests that your daily pushup numbers should be four times that of your highest consecutive pushup count. That means if you top out at 50 consecutive pushups, then you should do 200 a day. Of course, military and athletes undergo different types of training, but that suggestion is a good benchmark as to how many pushups an athlete should do a day.
How Many Pushups Should a Basketball Player Do?
You should remember that pushups are not some magical routine that does miracles, so there is no set number of pushups a basketball player should do as part of their bodyweight exercise routine.
Now, here is an interesting story about Kobe Bryant. One thing that you can learn from this is that serious basketball players like him never do things conventionally, including pushups. Bryant actually does suicide pushups. (If you don’t know what suicide pushup looks like, here it is.) Bryant does an even more challenging variation of a suicide pushup, and he does seven reps, three sets each.
Austin Daye, a former NBA player for the Detroit Pistons, did the pushup as part of his weight and muscle-gaining regimen. Again, he was doing pushups with a twist. For example, Daye does 10 reps, but he holds the position for 10 seconds in-between repetitions. The number of reps goes down from 10 to 8 to 6 and so forth. Daye holds the position in as many seconds as the number of reps. His pushup training cycle requires 124 repetitions and also 124 seconds of holding the position. That’s pretty tough!
How Many Pushups Can NBA Players Do?
NBA players are some of the very best athletes in the world, so there’s no doubt that they can perform pushups with the best of them. In fact, as mentioned above, these players often incorporate a pushup variation in their training.
For instance, 10-year NBA vet Cuttino Mobley suggests doing as many pushups and dips as you can, especially as a shooter. Mobley noted that pushups strengthen the wrists, and a shooter’s strength comes from there.
More often than not, though, NBA players do not just do pushups and go for as many as they can. Like Kobe and Austin Daye mentioned above, their pushup training is a little out of the norm. It caters to the kind of players they are and what they need to improve on. For Bryant, it’s about strength and explosiveness; for Daye, it’s about putting muscle in a lean frame. The key is doing pushup variations depending on your exercise goal.
7 Best Power Exercises for Basketball
1. Fingertip Pushups
Finger strength is an underrated aspect of strength training. If your fingers are strong, it enables you to catch passes better, have a better grip on the ball, and even shoot better. With fingertip pushups, you can improve finger strength and your upper body at the same time.
Of course, it’s understandable that fingertip pushups are a lot harder than traditional pushups, so don’t push yourself too hard. If you are in excellent shape, you can probably do 15-25 reps, but simply start slow and work your way up if you can’t.
2. Rotational Side Wall Throws
The rotational side wall throws is the basketball workout definition of hitting two birds with one stone (three even!). Not only does it improve hand-eye coordination, but it also helps you develop core strength, multi-directional speed and agility, and change direction in an explosive manner.
To do rotational side throws, remember these steps:
- Be sure that you are facing the wall sideways and in a shoulder-width stance with your legs.
- Secure the medicinal ball with your hands and throw it from your far-side hip with knees and arms slightly bent.
- Slam the ball underhand and forward against the wall.
- Catch the ball as it rebounds towards you and do the same motion repeatedly.
- Do the drill from both sides of the body.
3. Power Lunges
What I like about doing power lunges is that, like the pushups, you don’t need special equipment to execute them. From a reverse lunge position, drive back up and explode with your other leg, basically doing a power skip. Do this on both legs.
Power lunges help basketball players develop that jumping power, especially off the second jump. That greatly helps during rebounding situations, as doing this improves your explosive power so you can quickly go to the ball before others can.
4. Dumbbell Jump Squat
Playing basketball requires a lot of explosive motion, especially when you’re trying to outjump opponents. One power exercise that helps with that is the dumbbell jump squat.
To do this exercise, use dumbbells about 15% to 30% of your max capacity. Stand up straight with legs slightly apart and your arms hanging down by your side. From this position, push down with your hips until your thighs are parallel to the floor. Jump straight up and land on the balls of your feet, still with your arms hanging down to your sides. Repeat the action as soon as you land.
5. Bulgarian Split Squat
We are talking a lot about upper body strength in basketball, but if you don’t have the same power in your lower body, that hardly matters. One way to develop lower body strength is doing Bulgarian split squats.
If you’re a newbie to this power exercise, you may initially do it without a dumbbell. To do the Bulgarian split squat, plant one leg flat on the floor and the other foot in its toes on a bench on the back. Once in position, lower yourself in a deep lunge while keeping your just up and back straight. The front foot does all the heavy lifting while the rear foot is used for balance. Do the same number of reps on both legs.
Basketball is more about pulling than pushing; that’s why it’s important to develop work the biceps and core. Doing chin-ups is a great pulling exercise that will help you be tough in the post or in a rebounding scuffle.
Like pushups, chin-ups are a pretty simple exercise, especially if you are already lean. On a chin-up or pull-up bar, do a supinated grip and hands closer than a normal pull-up. (Pull-ups are done with a wide overhand grip.)
If you’re new to this exercise, perhaps you do not have the strength to actually get your chin up on the bars. That’s fine. Take it slow and build strength, and you’ll get there eventually.
7. Side Leg Plank Raise
This power exercise helps you get that core stability which is an absolute need in almost every basketball play. The side leg plank raise is just like it sounds. Position yourself in a side plank with your arm or elbow propping yourself up. The simplest way is to raise the outside leg up. Aim to hold that position for 30 seconds and switch sides. One other variation is raising your leg and arm up. If you can’t do this yet, then raising the side leg will do.
Wrapping Things Up: How Many Pushups Should a Basketball Player Do?
Pushups are one of those easy basketball exercises to do at home. It helps beginners strengthen their upper body and build their muscle mass, which eventually helps improve basketball skills.
Here’s the deal, though: When you reach a higher level in your play, you just can’t rely on pushups to improve. NBA players like Kobe Bryant, Cuttino Mobley, and Austin Daye incorporate pushup variations in their training regimen, but it was catered to their specific needs. Kobe did it for explosiveness, Mobley did it to strengthen his wrists, and Daye did it to put on muscle. Whatever the case, you can integrate pushups in training, but there must be other power exercises you should do to strengthen your core and lower body.
For instance, rotational side wall throws improve hand-eye coordination, as well as explosive agility. The Bulgarian split squat mimics in-game movements and strengthens the legs and lower body. The dumbbell jump squat improves jumping power, and so forth.
All of these exercises, along with some variation of a pushup, will help your body improve and be better equipped to handle a demanding physical game like basketball. It can’t be emphasized enough how basketball exercise benefits you as a player.
To conclude, it’s not really about how many pushups you can do that eventually get you to your desired level. It’s a combination of practice, doing power exercises for basketball, and a commitment to be great. If you do all these things, then you have a chance to be the best basketball player that you can be.