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Program Preparation

This is an excerpt from Basketball Anatomy by Chicago Bulls team physician Dr. Brian Cole and USA Strength and Conditioning Coaches Hall of Famer Rob Pannariello.

If you are a coach, you must develop proficiency in writing training programs for your athletes. Training programs should be individualized to account for factors such as medical history, sex, biological and training age (experience), the sport, and the position played. The goal of the weight training program is to appropriately organize the application of high stress (weight intensity) in the exercises performed for adaptation of the body to take place. These training exercises are repeatedly performed over time. A properly applied design not only will produce the desired results, but will also prevent excessive fatigue that can result in injury.


Exercise Selection


Many training exercises are available for basketball players. The specific exercises should be based on needs and goals.


Primary exercises are those that often are performed in the standing position; they require balance, coordination, timing, and the contribution of various muscle groups of multiple joints to work in harmony. These primary exercises also allow for heavier weights when appropriate for gains in strength and power.


Assistance exercises require an action that emphasizes a single joint or the execution of an isolated exercise. Examples are leg extension, leg curl, biceps curl, and triceps extension. Although assistance exercises do have their role in training, this book focuses on the primary exercises because these are of greater value for optimal transfer to basketball. Primary multijoint exercises should be the foundation of the training program; assistance (joint isolation) exercises, if deemed necessary, should be considered the fine tuning.

Order of Performance


In the daily order of exercise performance, it is important to perform high-speed power exercises such as the power clean before heavy strength exercises such as the back squat. High-velocity movements are more stressful to the neuromuscular system than slower-velocity strength movements; therefore, you should not attempt high-velocity exercises when fatigued. For example, you likely would demonstrate a higher vertical jump (power activity) after an appropriate warm-up than you would after becoming fatigued from a two- to three-hour basketball practice. However, an effective two- to three-hour basketball practice can still occur after the vertical jump.


If incorporating assistance exercises in the program, perform these exercises at the conclusion of all primary exercises.


Repetitions per Set


The number of repetitions performed in each exercise set varies depending on the needs of the athlete and the type of exercise performed. Although muscle strength and size (hypertrophy) go hand in hand, different set repetitions reflect an emphasis on muscle strength rather than muscle size. The repetitions performed per set for a strength exercise are summarized here:

  • 10 repetitions per set: Gains in physical strength with an emphasis on muscle hypertrophy.
  • 5 or 6 repetitions per set: Greater physical strength gains than with 10 repetitions per set with less emphasis on muscle hypertrophy, although there is still very good development of muscle hypertrophy.
  • 1 to 3 repetitions per set: Greatest gains in physical strength with the least amount of muscle hypertrophy.


For power or high-speed barbell or dumbbell exercises, limit the repetitions per exercise set to 1 to 5. Performing higher repetitions will result in excessive fatigue, limiting both the force output and technique. Poor exercise technique while lifting a weighted barbell, dumbbell, or kettlebell will increase the risk of injury.


As a general rule, when the number of repetitions in a set decreases, the weight to be lifted should increase.

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The above excerpt is from:

Basketball Anatomy

Basketball Anatomy

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Basketball Anatomy

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