Professional basketball players follow a sport-specific training program to improve their performance, but the training program also builds lean muscle tissue. As a result, pro basketball players are often ripped, with large muscles and a low percentage of body fat. You can improve your muscle mass and body composition as well by following a similar training program. However, you need to consult a doctor before starting a training program and consult a certified fitness trainer for an individualized workout program.
Perform strength-training workouts that include sport-specific functional exercises. Strength is a key component to basketball success, and the exercises help to build defined muscles. Sample exercises used by professional basketball players, including LeBron James, are pushups, pullups, dumbbell snatches and a cable single-arm row.
Incorporate other functional training exercises into your strength and conditioning program. These exercises can be performed with a variety of equipment ranging from tractor tires to sledgehammers and sandbags. A sample functional training workout used by Cory Maggette includes dumbbell grabs where he sprints while carrying the weight as well as during bear crawls and a fireman carry.
Perform power and speed training drills to improve endurance and stamina that decreases body fat. The best sport-specific power and speed drills include plyometrics such as box jumps and squat jumps and cone drills using an agility ladder and marking cones. Rajon Rondo, for example, uses these exercises to build muscle while increasing his vertical leap.
Decrease your body fat to improve your body composition. Burning excess body fat helps to define your muscles to make you look ripped. Professional basketball players focus on managing their body weight to optimize performance and ability. Most pro basketball players have a low body fat percentage, but George Hill has been measured at only 3 percent during a pre-draft combine.
Work on your flexibility with range of motion and stretching exercises. Not only will improved flexibility help your basketball skills, it will improve the effectiveness of your training workouts to build muscles and burn fat. Sample flexibility exercises include arm swings, leg swings and trunk rotations.