Going to the gym just isn’t an option for many of us right now. Thankfully, athletic courts in neighborhood and public parks offer plenty of opportunities for outdoor fitness. Although I have never played basketball on an organized team, I am well aware of the health benefits of playing the game. Cardiovascular endurance, agility, balance, coordination, building muscle, and burning calories are just a few. So, I asked myself,
“Can I turn some time on the court into a workout that will meet or exceed the benefits of my regular fitness routine at the gym, or is that just a hoop dream?”
To find the answer to this question, I enlisted the help of my sweetheart, Steven. We met our sophomore year in Mr. Pasqualini’s English class. Some of my most fond memories of high school are of Steven all suited up for a basketball game after school. He truly loves the game and knows it well. I was sure he could show me a few drills that I could use to develop this routine. So we grabbed our ball and headed to the court in our neighborhood park.
I usually perfrom a full-body routine including resistance and conditioning, so here is the corresponding court routine we developed…
Step1: Dynamic Warm-up x3
- 5 laps around a full court dribbling the basketball
- Large arm circles forward and backward x20
- Inch worms, 25 ft. out and back
- Traveling lunges, 25 ft. out and back
- Power skips, 25 ft. out and back
Step 2: Exercises x3
1. Defensive Slides (45 sec.)
Complete Defensive slides from the free throw line to the basket for 45 seconds. Stay low and keep your hands up in a defensive position
2. Backboard Touches (x10)
From the free throw line sprint to the backboard and jump up to touch it. If you can’t reach that’s no problem, just be sure to jump as high as you can each time. Sprint back to the free throw line and touch it.
3. Shooting Drill (45 sec)
Stand halfway in between the free throw line and the basket and shoot. Retrieve the basketball, then stand underneath the basket and shoot again. Retrieve the ball and head back to the halfway point to shoot again. Repeat and complete as many shots as possible in 45 seconds.
4. Plank with Basketball (30 sec.)
Come into plank position then place your palms on the basketball and hold your plank for 30 seconds.
5. Body Weight Squats w/ Basketball (x10)
Stand with feet hip width apart and hold the basketball with arms extended in front of you. Squat down until your legs create a 90 degree angle. Be sure not to allow your knees to come over your toes. You can do this by pushing your glutes back. Then push back up with the majority of your weight on your heels.
Step 3: Cool Down
First, take a moment to recognize the hard work you just did. Now take one of the most important steps toward proper recovery – let’s stretch. Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds.
|1.||Triceps Stretch x30 sec.|
|2.||Bicep and Chest Stretch x30 sec.|
|3.||Forward Fold x30 sec.|
|4.||Quad Stretch x30 sec.|
|5.||Core Stretch x30 sec.|
So what did I think of the routine we created? It’s definitely posible to turn some time on the court into a highly beneficial fitness routine. It was easy to meet or exceed my targeted intensity and incorporate all components of my regular gym routine. Because it’s great for adding variety and it can be done solo or in a group, I’ll definitely use this routine again.
Your Challenge: Do some research and find a fun/alternative fitness routine that still meets your needs. Or, try this workout for the basketball court and let me know what you think. Feel free to modify the sets and repetitions to meet your current activity level.