9th February 2017. Of all the sports, basketball can be one of the most physically demanding. Anyone who's played in even a casual "pick up" game knows that after an hour of chasing the ball around the court, you're drenched in sweat and out of breath. With your heart pounding, though, you know you've had a good game. Playing the game regularly requires some serious physical fitness, though. It's necessary not just to keep up with the pace of the game and its demand for sudden movements, but to develop your overall skill, too. While practising on the court and improving your ball handling skills are both necessary steps, they're just one part of an overall approach to training. When you want to develop your body for basketball, what kind of exercises should dominate your routine? It can be tricky to figure out. You need solid arms for making long-distance three-pointers, but your legs need the endurance it takes to shuffle in every direction around the court. At the same time, you'll need a strong core ? just think about all the twisting and bending one does in a game! With some of the ideas we'll discuss below, you can reshape your routine into a better fit for basketball. The important thing is to try and hit all the major areas of your body you'll use in a basketball game. So, where should you start?

Make the intensity of interval training work for you

Have you heard of HIIT before? That stands for "high-intensity interval training," and it's something even pro basketball players use in their training. At its most basic form, interval training involves periods of regular effort exercise punctuated by exercise at your maximum level of effort ? but just for a short time. Basketball Training Tempo RunBy alternating between intense activity and recovery periods, you're able to push your muscles harder and develop them further. For basketball players, that's a real boon. So how do you access those benefits? An exercise called the tempo run is a good example of using interval training. Mark out four segments of 100 metres, totalling 400. Run each 100-metre segment as fast as you can, then allow yourself a few seconds to rest. After, run on to the next section. Do this several times. This method is an easy way to start building up the endurance in your legs and lungs you'll need for the chaotic action of a basketball game. The classic basketball running workout known as the "suicide" is also a good fit in this category. In this run, you run towards the court baselines, then double back. You repeat this process with all the major lines of the court. It's quite a workout, and will have you reversing direction rapidly ? just what you need to practice.

Build up your ability with regard to agility

Speaking of sudden changes in direction, how about building up to some fancier footwork? Developing your agility isn't just about having a quick reaction time to events happening in front of you. It's also about having access to the fast-twitch muscle power you need, and knowing how to throw your weight around to Basketball Training Agility Drillsconserve momentum. To that end, focusing on some agility drills will put you on the path to performing better in your next game. Using cones, create a long zig-zagging path across the basketball court. Think of it as one line of four cones, and then another parallel line of another three or four cones off to one side. Make sure there is an appreciable distance between them. Now, shuttle to each cone and rapidly dart back and forth as you follow them. Include plenty of lateral movements and shuffles. Once you get to one end, return; repeat this process up to 5 times. You'll quickly become adept at controlling your feet and moving them quickly to close the gap. Another classic agility drill to dry is the "box drill." Create a square with cones at each corner. Make it so that it's about 5 meters to a side. Then, beginning at the centre, you must dash rapidly to one corner then shuffle backwards. Randomly select another corner and repeat the process. Continue doing this for several minutes; the more often you practice this, the better you'll be at keeping up with the ball.

Make the weight room your second home

We've already touched a little bit on why strength training is important to basketball players. Once you get into the weight room, what should you do first? Planning out a solid strength routine that you can stick to over several weeks will help lock in the most gains. Let's consider some of the best strength exercises for basketball players so that you can work them into your routine. Basketball Training SquatsSquats will soon be your new best friend ? or your most punishing foe in the gym. Find a weight level you're comfortable with, and be sure to have a spotter watching you for good form. With your chest and back straight, stoop down until your thighs are roughly parallel to the gym floor. Continue through several sets of reps. The more you squat, the more powerful a base you'll build up in your legs. Using barbells on their own is a good method, too. Try doing bicep curls, or try out aerobic step exercises while holding weights. Weights help to work out your core and develop upper body strength crucial for making long shots and twisting through the motions.

Develop your aerobic ability for explosive power

Many of the exercises we've discussed so far have some aerobic component to them, but you also spend a lot of time in an anaerobic state when training for agility. While that's good for game day, your routine should also include some regular aerobic exercise. Improving your cardiovascular system works the same way as it does for any other kind of athlete, whether you play basketball or not. What are some of the best Basketball Training Exercise Bikeways to develop the endurance you need to breathe easy all game long? If you already have access to a gym for its weight room, try the stationary bicycles. These machines let you work up some serious RPMs and get your heart pumping fast. As a bonus, there's no need to deal with planning out a bike route or contending with traffic. Just hop on the machine and spin as hard as possible for the duration of your workout. If that's not your style, there's always long distance running, jogging, or even swimming. The relatively low impact swimming has on your joints could be just what you need when you're still feeling the burn from your other basketball practice.

Drills for practising on the basketball court

Finally, of course, you'll want to incorporate some practice that will do more than just improve you physically. You should try to sharpen your skills, too. With that in mind, your efforts should include some drills designed to improve your ball handling abilities. PBasketball Training Ball Practiceractice with just one ball at first. Spend time on crossing the ball between your legs and controlling it behind your back. Mix up your patterns. Start stationery, then move towards controlling the ball around the court. When you're ready, move up to two balls. Now you're learning independence for your hands while also improving your skills at control even with your non-dominant hand. Want to work out with a partner? This is a good place to do so as they can help challenge your ball handling ability. Have them act as an obstacle or attempt to steal the ball away. Short, intense sessions like this can help increase comfort with the ball. Over time, you'll even begin to shoot more confidently as a result of knowing how the ball handles.

Find the combination that works for you

Based on the role you like to play on the team, you might want to tweak these ideas to fit your skill set. Regardless of how you approach the game, though, developing a consistent and structured routine from some of these ideas will help you improve. Whether it's powering across the court to nab a rebound or springing off the floor to make a jump shot, a fitness routine can help you achieve your goals. Grab your favourite basketball shoes and grab your ball. After a few weeks of consistent practice, you're sure to feel like you're more in command of your abilities on the court.