Basketball performance training for adults – part 4

by | July 31, 2018 | Fitness, Sport performance

In part 1 of our series, we talked injuries and warm-ups, 
 
In part 2, we talked about how to jump higher and run faster, 
 
In part 3, we talked about how to get stronger and build up some lean muscle
 
and in this final installment, we’re going to talk all about conditioning,  
 
How to get the stamina to sustain yourself through an entire game, 
 
How to not gas out before half-time, 
 
and how to prevent fatigue from causing busted ankles and pulled hammies.
 
It is in developing the conditioning to go for the whole game that errors become less frequent, 
 
turnovers occur less often, 
 
injuries happen less frequently, 
 
and fat burning potential increases. 
 
So, how do we do this??
 

Energy systems…again!

We talked extensively about the different energy systems here.
 
Basically, in a nutshell, of the three primary energy systems involved in producing sport actions, the alactic and aerobic systems are the most dominant in basketball. 
 
Basketball is a game of high-intensity efforts with fast breaks, changes of directions and expressions of strength and power. 
 
There’s no doubt about it. 
 
But, what happens between these high-intensity efforts? 
 
Well, typically, there are lower-intensity efforts
 
like dribbling and jogging up the court at a submax pace,
 
setting up plays, 
 
and getting into position. 
 
These activities, although they involve substantial mental focus and intensity, would not be considered high intensity from a physical perspective. 
 
So, when you analyze the high- and low-intensity activities inherent in basketball, it becomes evident that two primary energy systems will be of the utmost importance in basketball:
 
The anaerobic alactic energy system and the aerobic energy system. 
 

A match made in heaven?

These two systems work beautifully together as the only way the high-intensity, anaerobic alactic system can replenish it’s energy stores is through the aerobic system. 
 
As in, to fully express speed, strength and power repeatedly, you need a strong aerobic system. 
 
And another benefit of training the aerobic system is that it lends itself to health. 
 
You know, the less-sexy stuff like
 
decreased overall stress, 
 
improved blood pressure,
 
improved blood sugar control, 
 
improved sleep, 
 
decreased inflammation, 
 
decreased risk of heart attacks and strokes, 
 
and increased life expectancy. 
 
Because, although it’s appealing to look good in your swim trunks (and that will happen with consistent training and sound nutrition),
 
Being alive to see your kids graduate, 
 
and being around to walk your daughter down the aisle are pretty important too. 
 
So, how do we go about training these two systems? 
 
Let’s start with the aerobic system. 
 

Aerobic system training 

One of our favourite ways to train the aerobic system is with the cardiac output (CO) method. 
 
With the CO method, you are working for 20-90 minutes using lower intensities. 
 
So, one might assume that going for a run would be a wise CO strategy. 
 
And yes, you would be right…sort of.
 
You see, it really depends….
 
If you can run for extended periods and you don’t get bored, 
 
your knees and back don’t get sore, 
 
you have access to a place to run year-round, 
 
and you like it…
 
Sure…do your thing. 
 
But, if the thought of running on a treadmill in February makes you want to pull out your toenails in boredom, 
 
fear not. 
 
We have another suggestion. 
 
Road work 2.0. 
 
Joel Jamieson coined this term for CO training and it is marvelous. 
 
Basically, the road work 2.0 method allows you to combine several activities back-to-back, 
 
like a circuit, 
 
in order to build up your aerobic system.
 
The only thing is that you have to keep your heart rate in a range of 120-140 beats per minute. 
 
If you have a heart rate monitor on your Apple watch, this is easy. 
 
If not, you can periodically check your pulse on your wrist. 
 
Set a 10s timer, 
 
Count the number of beats in 10s. 
 
Multiply that number by 6 and you’ll have your beats per minute. 
 
It should equal out to 120-140 beats per minute. 
 
Here is a video on how to find your pulse. 
 
So, back to these road work 2.0 circuits. 
 
You can do nearly anything, 
 
Light dribbling up and down the court for 2 lengths, 
 
then doing battle ropes for 50 slams, 
 
then mountain climbers for 30 reps, 
 
then lunge walks for 10 reps per side
 
and repeat that for 30 minutes. 
 
Again, as long as your heart rate stays in the 120-140 beats per minute range, you will be building up that system. 
 
Here is another option for you…mobility circuits. 
 
We learned this one from Eric Cressey. 
 
You can pair up mobility exercises back-to-back for 30 minutes. 
 
That way you can get your mobility, injury prevention and conditioning work in all at once. 
 
Here is a sample mobility circuit protocol you can use: 
 
A march x 15 yards
A skip x 15 yards
Lateral A skips x 15 yards/side
Carioca x 15 yards/side
Backpedal x 15 yards
A march x 15 yards
A skip x 15 yards
Lateral A skips x 15 yards/side
Carioca x 15 yards/side
Backpedal x 15 yards
 
A1. Knee grab  x 5/sd
A2. Bird dog x 8/sd
A1. Knee grab x 5/sd
A2. Bird dog x 8/sd
A1. Knee grab x 5/sd
A2. Bird dog x 8/sd
 
B2. Supine leg whips x 8/sd
B1. Spiderman lunge to hip lift to arm reach x 5/sd
B2. Supine leg whips x 8/sd
B1. Spiderman lunge to hip lift to arm reach x 5/sd
B2. Supine leg whips x 8/sd
 
C2. Downward dog x 8
C1. Lateral lunge walk w/ arm reach x 5/sd
C2. Downward dog x 8
C1. Lateral lunge walk w/ arm reach x 5/sd
C2. Downward dog x 8
 
D1. Squat to stand w/ reach x 5
D2. Wall press abs x 8/sd
D1. Squat to stand w/ reach x 5
D2. Wall press abs x 8/sd
 

But, isn’t conditioning supposed to be brutally hard? 

Well, maybe not. 
 
Training until you puke is one way to build toughness and fortitude…I guess…
 
But, it’s not a long-term strategy. 
 
Training until the point of puking focuses on the lactic energy system and there is definitely a time and a place for that, but adaptations in this system usually level off at around 4-6 weeks. 
 
And, this system may be optimized with more rest between bouts of exercise anyway. 
 
So, although, you may feel like you’re getting things done, you may be plateauing in your gains. 
 
Not to mention, what happens to your form as you get that tired. 
 
Pretty nasty, right? 
 
And the more often you train that poor form, the more likely you will do it in games, 
 
and the more likely you are to get injured. 
 
Finally, you run the risk of running yourself into the ground with training that makes you nauseous. 
 
So, focus on CO training 1-2 times per week and you’ll be on your way to better health, 
 
long-term, sustainable leanness, 
 
and improved ball performance. 
 
 

Alactic energy system training 

The alactic energy system is your high-intensity system 
 
As in, your “absolute” high-intensity energy system.
 
That means short periods of work, longer periods of rest, and a whole lot of intensity in every rep. 
 
If you’re thinking “high intensity” means work that is really, really, really hard, 
 
like, puking in a bucket hard, guess again. 
 
That type of intensity is known as “relative” intensity and, as discussed above, this is not optimal for most of the year. 
 
Although, it may serve a purpose at certain points of the pre-season (but, you still shouldn’t have to puke…who wants to go to a workout where they puke every time?). 
 
The alactic system is dominant for activities lasting 0.1-12 seconds. 
 
So, anywhere from a quick jump to a hard sprint up the court with a quick turnover and a hard sprint back. 
 
And again, rest periods are longer…
 
anywhere from 90 seconds or more. 
 
For the purpose of conditioning, much of this should be done on-court and in sprint/speed sessions. 
 
Hey, you’re probably already doing this if you read part 2 of our series. 
 
Sprinting and agility drills will work great to train this system. 
 
But, the best option is to get on the court and work hard on your drills for the durations listed above. 
 
 
You not only get to work on the technical aspects of the game, you get to build the physiological systems responsible for basketball performance in a way that is ultra-specific to what you will encounter in a game. 
 
So, to train this system, get on the court, 
 
do your drills hard for 6-12 seconds and then get to the back of the line and chill. 
 

Wrap-up

To wrap up conditioning for adult ball players, it really comes down to this:
 
Do some mobility circuits or road work 2.0 1-2 times per week for 20-90 minutes, 
 
then get on-court and do your drills hard 1-2 times per week. 
 
If you are doing this on your own, hitting up the local outdoor courts and hammering through a few drills is a great idea. 
 
If you have a good coach with a knowledge of both the technical and physiological aspects of the game, then this becomes ultra simple. 
 
Just listen to what coach says. 
 
Of course, if you want real-life, hands-on experience with this sort of thing, you can always join our free 2-week “Jump into Shape” Basketball Academy Jump Start. 
 
In the Jump Start, you get 4 free strength and conditioning sessions with Coach Brent Lohmer, a certified strength and conditioning coach with 10 years of experience coaching athletes, 
 
a free one-on-one strategy session with coach Brent, 
 
free nutrition coaching, 
 
and 2 free on-court session with Coach Jon Giesbrecht, the number one up and coming basketball coach in Manitoba. 
 
You’ll also have access to great discounts on our 8-week “Jump into Shape” Basketball Academy
 
All you have to do is sign up here and we’ll contact you to let you know if you qualify. 
 
 

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