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Brock Washington of MSU on Strength Training for Basketball Players

Brock Washington MSU

As someone who played competitive basketball for most of his life, Brock Washington of MSU understands that basketball players are not necessarily known for their weightlifting acumen. At least not in the same way that the football or wrestling team may be. However, Brock Washington of MSU always found that regular strength training made him a better player and made recovery easier after a grueling 48-minute game. Today, Brock Washington will provide some tips for basketball players looking to incorporate weight training into their routines.

Before getting into exercises that require weights, Brock Washington recommends that younger players work on the fundamentals. Just as you wouldn’t work on a no-look pass before your standard bounce pass, you shouldn’t lift weights if you can’t handle bodyweight lunges. The best bodyweight exercises include push-ups, split squats, sit-ups, and lunges. Once the body adjusts to these exercises, the foundation will be set for weightlifting. There’s nothing more critical for one’s health than doing every exercise with the proper form. Brock Washington of MSU recommends starting these exercises with a manageable lightweight and ensuring perfect form before upping the difficulty with heavier weight.

The reason Brock Washington is such a stickler for form is that he finds the greatest weightlifting exercise for basketball players is the deadlift. Deadlifting with proper form can improve strength throughout the body, with an emphasis on the hamstrings, glutes, and back. These areas provide basketball players with the lift they need to jump higher. Utilizing the trap bar for deadlifting is a great way to enhance one’s grip strength. When you’re battling for a loose ball, grip strength can be the reason your team maintains possession. Once the trap bar deadlift is something your comfortable with, you can add in variations like the sumo deadlift or straight barbell deadlift to keep the muscles guessing.

Everyone wants to rush right to the bench press when they start lifting. While it does help strengthen the chest muscles, it’s not necessarily the most practical exercise for a basketball player. Brock Washington means that there’s no need to try and bench press maximum weight just because teammates and peers are more likely to ask how much you bench than any other weightlifting question. For the bench press exercise to work effectively, the weight must be controlled slowly all the way up and all the way down. This is not about vanity; it’s about functionality. No ability is as valuable to a team as availability, so stay healthy, and stay smart while benching.

Every strength coach at every college in the country, from MSU to Washington U is going to incorporate weighted squats into the workout routine of a basketball program. Squats strengthen the quads, hamstrings, and glutes, all at once. The great benefit to squats is that it also strengthens the core, and a strong core can help prevent a number of injuries. For those new to weighted squats, Brock Washington recommends the goblet squat variation. This calls for a single dumbbell to be held in front of the body. Utilizing the goblet squat technique will make it easier to get deeper into the squat and maintain proper form. Once you squat regularly, you will find that you are able to recognize when form slips. If this happens, stop the exercise and lessen the weight.

A strong back is a blessing for a basketball player, and rows are a great way to once again work the gripping muscles while also targeting your back muscles. The reason targeting back muscles is vital for basketball players is that it helps them maintain proper posture. When guys and girls aren’t out on the court, hooping it up, they are often slouched over a desk or rounding their back to fit in a smaller space. Basketball players tend to be taller people and maintaining the correct posture is vital to their health. Keep your shoulder blades retracted throughout the movement no matter what variation you try at the gym. This will isolate the muscle and help build the muscle faster.

Finally, with all of these exercises, focus on time under tension. This will help a weightlifter build definition and maintain a physique that allows them to put their best self on the court day in and day out.