Multiple components must align to become an elite basketball player. One of the hardest skills in basketball occurs after each missed shot. Successful players such as Dennis Rodman and Russell Westbrook were able to separate themselves from scoring with rebounding. Being a great rebounder is challenging and takes sound technique on the box out, toughness, strength, and endurance to endure such an energy-demanding role throughout the entire game. Basketball is predominately a non-contact sport. When you are in the paint jockeying for position during a shot, the sport is anything but non-contact with people pushing, pulling, and grabbing at you. Having a foundation of strength will help anyone in this position.
Four Key Strength Training Movements To Help With Rebounding
Squats are a foundational strength movement for all athletes, but the importance of grooving a proper and strong squat pattern cannot be overlooked for rebounders and basketball as it strengthens the entire lower body. The squat allows basketball players to be strong and maintain their positioning when the ball goes up and provides the strength needed to move opposing players when necessary. Use the squat to build a solid base to own your positioning on the court and decrease your likelihood of injury. When you view the squat as a movement rather than an exercise, you can understand that this doesn't have to be a barbell back squat. A front squat, gobble squat, overhead squat, or any other variation that works with the equipment you have available to train with and your experience level. The primary consideration of training the squat should be using sound technique and training a full range of motion to avoid injury. A heel lift can also be used for flexibility restrictions to achieve a better position throughout the movement.
Pull-ups are a foundational exercise for the upper body training of basketball players. They are especially useful for rebounders because of the vertical pulling motion mimicking the action involved in pulling in a rebound. Pull-ups and chin-ups are responsible for strengthening the arms' musculature and back to varying degrees depending upon which grip the athlete uses to perform the movement. While training the pull-up the focus should be working through a full range of motion similar to the squat. The arms go from being fully flexed to completely extended to get full results. The exercise's tempo should be controlled and executed without excess kicking or swinging by the athlete to gain momentum. Accessibility is a benefit with these exercises because a pull-up bar can be found almost anywhere you go. The movements can also be adjusted to fit various strength levels. Whether that's someone who can already string together multiple pull-ups or a beginner who may need to start with partner-assisted or iso-hold chin-ups. This exercise offers numerous options for athletes to scale up or down their training, including performing reps with palms facing towards or away from you, pausing reps at the top or bottom of the rep, or changing the exercise's tempo of the pulling or lowering portion of the movement.
Plyometrics are a vital piece of the puzzle for improving timing, jumping power, and muscular reaction timing to help you wreak havoc on the glass. Properly trained plyometrics are also an effective means to improve a person's vertical jumping ability. All things being equal among two athletes going for a rebound, the athlete who can generate their jumping force faster will get to the ball every time. In the athletic performance world, we call this the Rate of Force Development. Many are describing what they talk about being explosive and powerful and these exercises and the ones used to train this quality. More of a family of exercises similar to the squat movement, where multiple exercise options fall into this category. This could include box jumps, loaded and unloaded, weighted squat jumps, resisted broad jumps, continuous broad jumps, and certain types of medicine ball throws. This family of exercises shares a common trait with the pull-up because they can be performed virtually anywhere. However, special attention should be paid to the surface being jumped on. Surfaces like grass or turf can be more forgiving than harder surfaces than concrete or wood basketball courts.
Having a strong core is a responsibility to all basketball players. The amount of contact one receives trying to pull in boards makes it paramount in the paint. The core is the root of the body from which all movement occurs and allows you to transmit force from the lower body to the upper body and vice versa. It also allows you to remain solid and own your space while being boxed out or performing the other exercises listed above. Two misconceptions in the core training world need to be addressed before going in-depth with specific exercises. The first is the core musculature's idea solely being the abdominal muscles on the front of your body. The core actually is a system of overlapping layers wrapping your body and running from roughly the top of your knees to mid-chest height. The majority of core training programs you see many high repetition movements. These movements are created at the spine, yet in sport, the emphasis of training the core should be coming from exercises that resist movement. This directly translates to how the core is used in a sport where you are primarily resisting movement or bracing. An example of this is being bumped midair while going for a ball. Reacting, reaching, securing the ball, and land without losing any positioning or holding off an opposing player performing a swim move during a box out. When you look at training through this lens, the most appropriate core training means up as plank variations, crawling patterns, bracing holds, and pall of or anti-rotation pressing and loaded carries exercises.
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