This in spite of the great battles among the likes of Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell, two behemoths who set the standard, offensively and defensively, for what big men in basketball should be.
Years after those two had retired, a new breed of big man arrived. Shorter but stronger, this big man was built in the mold of the Knicks’ Willis Reed or Washington’s Wes Unseld. Since they were shorter, most amateur observers immediately felt they’d be at a disadvantage since basketball is in larger part built around height. But what they lacked in height they made up for in strength, and the concept of basketball strength training was born.
The most important thing to understand about basketball strength training is that the sport isn’t just reliant upon lower body strength. Nor is it just reliant upon upper body strenght. Basketball requires core strength of the utmost importance, and thusly basketball strength training will concentrate primarily upon strengthening your core.
This means sit-ups. Crunches. Push-ups. More crunches. More sit-ups. Leg lifts. Do ’em til you throw up if you’re serious about becoming the best basketball player possible.
The idea behind building your core is that, if you’re stronger than the other guy through your middle, you’ll be harder to move around the court. Guys like Reed and Unseld were great rebounders and scorers because they were stronger than almost anyone they came into contact with, so they could shoulder their defenders out of the way and either get to the hoop, or get to the ball if in pursuit of a rebound.
Think about it. You have a bigger guy defending you, with a longer reach and maybe even better jumping ability. How do you get a shot off?
Well, you have to knock him off balance. Nobody – not Bill Russell, not Michael Jordan – nobody in basketball history can block a shot if they’re off-balance. And the way to get them off balance, if they’re bigger and more athletic than you, is to be stronger than them. Get them on your back and drive them down to the low post, keep them on your shoulder then go up strong. It’s the essense of basketball strength training.
Working with a medicine ball will help as well. Medicine balls increase both strength and flexibility, which are the two most important aspects of basketball strength training