Some people view basketball as “soft” sport. These people have clearly never spent time in the paint with a 6'5" 270-lb. forward. In order to hold your own with the big men you need to be strong. Develop absolute strength by executing fundamental lifts correctly. By performing these movements, an athlete will build a great base level of strength, a tall posture and the stability to hold their ground when things get real down low.

Lift Heavy Weights

The deadlift (and it’s variations) is the ultimate all around strength builder for athletic preparation. The deadlift is a hip dominant movement that requires a proper “hip hinge” movement pattern. This pattern is the basis for all explosive lower body movements, i.e. sprinting and jumping. In reality the deadlift builds strength through the entire posterior chain, hitting everything on the back side of the body.

Conventional Deadlift

5-8 sets x 3 reps (progressively work up to heavy set of 3) 2-5 minutes of recovery Set-up position: 1. Feet hip width or slight narrower (jump stance) 2. Barbell over the middle part of the foot 3. Knees slight bent and rotated out (external rotation) 4. Hips back (create a vertical shin angle) 5. Lower and upper back arched (extended in neutral position) 6. Pull shoulder blades down and together (retracted and depressed) 7. Arms extended 8. Chin tucked (make a double chin) and head in neutral position 9. Brace the torso (fill the belly with air and lower the rib cage) Upward phase: 1. Take the slack out of the bar by creating an up and backward tension with the arms and lats. (Try and bend the bar) 2. Push through the heels (drive yourself away from the floor) 3. After the bar leaves the ground keep the bar close by pulling in a backward motion using the upper back 4. Once the bar gets passed the knees pull the shoulder blades back and hips forward into extension using the glutes Downward phase: 1. Begin by pushing the hips back (hip hinge) 2. Knees are slightly bent and rotated out (external rotation) 3. Keep the bar close to the body (pull backwards with the lats.) 4. Maintain a neutral head position by tucking the chin (make a double chin) 5. Finish in the set-up position NEXT: Get up, get rolling >> [pagebreak]

Chin-Ups/Pull-Ups

Pull-ups are the true test of upper body strength. They should be the primary vertical pull in most strength programs. In addition to increasing strength in the back and arms, the pull-up is a great exercise to improve upper back and shoulder mobility. The pull-up is often neglected because it’s hard. However, a pull-up can be easily regressed as we discuss below.

Chin-Up

5-8 sets x 5 reps 1-2 minutes of recovery Set-up position: 1. Start from dead hanging position (elbows extended) 2. Tuck the chin (make a double chin) 3. Brace your torso and squeeze your glutes Upward phase: 1. Initiate the movement with your shoulder blades (retract and depress) and drive your elbows down 2. As you pull keep accelerating with as much force as possible and squeeze your shoulder blades together and down toward your back pockets 3. At the top of the chin-up make sure you pull to the top of your chest Downward phase: 1. As you descend (eccentric) grip the chin-up bar as hard as you can and keep your torso braced 2. Finish the movement from the start position (dead hang)

Roll Outs

The torso should be trained for stability rather than movement. Rather than endlessly rotating, flexing and extending the torso we advocate strengthening the muscles of the torso to keep the low back in a stable position. Movement of the limbs, upper back, and hips should take place around a stable midsection. The rollout is a terrific anti-extension movement that will aid in building impressive torso stability.

Barbell Roll Out

3-5 sets x 8 reps 45-90 seconds of recovery Set-up position: 1. Place the feet underneath the hip and hands underneath the shoulders 2. Brace the torso (squeeze the abs and lower rib cage) 3. Lower and upper back arched (extended and neutral position) 4. Place the hands slight wider than shoulder width on the barbell 5. Feet off the floor (do not cross) and toes pointed up towards the knees Outward phase: 1. Begin the movement by pushing the hips forward into extension by squeezing the glutes 2. Keep the torso braced 3. Simultaneously roll the barbell forward and allow the arms to go overhead and place your head in between the elbows 4. Keep the feet elevated in the air and try to maintain the knee position Inward phase: 1. Roll the barbell back to the set-up position by bracing the torso and squeezing the glutes (don’t think about using your arms to roll the bar back) 2. Keep the head in a neutral position (chin tucked) 3. If you feel the movement in the lower back then your not keeping your hips locked in (neutral) with the torso and glutes. Greg Robins NASM-CPT, RKC & Jamie Smith C.S.C.S. are trainers with Total Performance Sports in Everett, MA.