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Basketball Training Tips Without Using Weights

Basketball fitness is largely based on flexibility and explosive running and jumping ability. But upper body strength is important, too. You can achieve all of these fitness goals without using weights if you're willing to do a range of exercises that work all the major muscle groups.

Jumping Rope
Few exercises offer the kind of leg-strengthening benefits that directly help the kind of vertical leaping ability you need in basketball than jumping rope. Just a 10-minute workout of jumping rope will strengthen the long lean muscles in the calves and the rest of your legs. Try jumping rope for five to 10 minutes before and after practice, and then whenever you have a few minutes, to bolster those springs in your legs.

Upper Body Workouts
Whether it's taking a charge, fighting for a rebound or otherwise mixing it up with your opponents, upper body strength is a key to basketball success. Push-ups can give your whole upper body a good workout, so start with 20 push-ups in the morning and 20 at night, then add five to 10 more with each set when 20 becomes easy. Continue adding more to make sure that the last few you do are a struggle. Try to do 10 pull-ups each day, until they become easy, and then add five more, always making sure you're maximizing your effort on each set.

Full-court Sprints
Few exercises will give your legs a sprinter's explosiveness better than sprints. Start from one baseline and sprint as fast as you can to the other end of the court. Stop on the far baseline and then run backwards the length of the court. This improves your coordination by simulating game conditions when you have to run backwards on defense, and also strengthens your hamstrings.

You don't need heavy weights to get a good squat workout. Simply stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight, and bend your knees until your thighs are almost parallel to the ground. Slowly rise back up to the original position and repeat. Do sets of 10 squats throughout the day. Mix it up by squatting and then leaping as high as you can from the squatting position.