Weight Training For Basketball
These pages are from my Training Manual. After what happened to Kobe Bryant, I decided to release the book for no extra cost. When I wrote this manual I studied his active years among others and he's a great example of a great basketball player, with an amazing work ethic and unconditional love to the game.
The Manual is Free from now on. Hope this helps for many athletes training in the off-season. Although it's written for basketball players, the system and the workouts can easily be adjusted to similar sports like football, handball and anything with a longer off-season period, where getting stronger is the main goal.
Basketball players don’t like to lift weights. I know, I’ve been there. During my decade of playing the game, I can’t recall a moment that I wanted to go to the gym to do barbell squats - I just wanted to hoop. Running was necessary, so I ran; working on my skills was necessary, so I practised the shots, the rolls, the crossovers; and if I had five minutes at the end of the training session, I did some biceps curls (because who doesn’t want bigger arms?).
If I had the knowledge then that I have today, I would have started incorporating weight training into my basketball sessions, even if it meant playing less. Building strength and explosiveness off-court would have stopped me from getting injured and, ultimately, finishing my career early.
Listen to the man who played the wrong way, but learned his lesson and now passes his knowledge on to hundreds of people to save them from making his mistakes.
Of course, with the lack of strength training, I started to get injured. My lower back has always been my weakness. Ankles, knees, elbows, broken fingers - I could carry on. If you’ve been injured once, you know what I mean. If you have one injury, you’ll get another. Because we try to compensate for the pain or the lack of mobility, it means the next joint will give up sooner or later.
After trying different medications and treatments, I thought I had to stop playing basketball. Then my father put a pull-up bar up between my door frames. I couldn’t even do one pull-up and I was just hanging from it, but my back started to feel better. Then I jumped up and lowered myself slowly (which later I found out is called ‘eccentric training’). This helped me build up to my first pull-up. In a few weeks, I was doing pull-ups every day. And my lower back never hurt again. And I could play basketball again.
I guess you can see where I’m going with this. Strength training is crucial in injury prevention. During the 2016-17 NBA season alone, there were 1051 injuries. In one season! And every year, there’s a similar number. The 2017-18* season started really badly, with over 400 injuries in the first three months, ultimately ending the season with a total of 970 injuries.
Superstars like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are amazing players, and the reason why they can achieve all-time records is because of longevity. They never have to miss a game, let alone an entire season, so they can keep getting better, scoring points, collecting rebounds and assists.
Bryant has been in the NBA from 1996, and he never had a career stopping injury until 2013. That’s 17 years! Seventeen years of non-stop playing. He retired in 2016, after 20 years in NBA.
Now, this is the technical part. I will explain the science behind the benefits of weight training in terms of sports performance. I’ll try to be as straightforward as possible, please stay with me.
The General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS) Model and Dr. Selye
Hans Selye, MD, PhD (1907 - 1982), the “Father of Stress”, was a Hungarian endocrinologist and the first to give a scientific explanation for biological ‘stress’. He borrowed the term ‘stress’ from physics to describe an organism’s physiological response to perceived stressful events in the environment.
“Every stress leaves an indelible scar, and the organism pays for its survival after a stressful situation by becoming a little older.” - Hans Selye, MD, PhD
He eloquently explained his stress model, based on physiology and psychobiology, as the General Adaptation Syndrome (GAS), stating that an event that threatens an organism’s well-being, a stressor, leads to a three-stage bodily response:
Stages of GAS
Upon perceiving a stressor, the body reacts with a ‘fight-or-flight’ response and the sympathetic nervous system is stimulated as the body’s resources are mobilised to meet the threat or danger.
The body resists and compensates as the parasympathetic nervous system attempts to return many physiological functions to normal levels, while the body focuses resources against the stressor and remains on alert.
If the stressor or stressors continue beyond the body’s capacity, the resources become exhausted and the body is susceptible to disease and death.