Exercises for Basketball Abs

a hunky asian basketball player
Your abs keep you strong on the court. (Image: 1911/iStock/Getty Images)

Professional basketball players need a strong set of abs to help them perform their best. With every dribble, jump shot or shuffle of their feet on defense players engage their core muscles. Their bodies move through multiple planes of motion, sometimes in a split second of explosive movement. Building a strong set of abdominal muscles could be the difference between winning and losing, while also looking good in the process.

To develop basketball abs you'll need to do more than hit the court; specific exercises help you build athletic and powerful basketball abs.

One study at Asbury College found that core stability tests translated to better overall athletic performance in basketball, soccer, volleyball and swimmers. In basketball in particular, a strong core keeps a player on his feet and helps him assume a stronger defensive position. A player’s core must be strong enough to resist extending his trunk, maintain a strong posterior pelvic tilt and prevent excessive rotation when his opponent hits him with a sick crossover.

Pallof Press

The Pallof Press is the perfect stability exercise for building great looking abs and a stronger, higher-performing core.

Step 1

To perform the Pallof Press, adjust a cable stack to shoulder height.

Step 2

With your side to the machine, grab the cable handle with your outside hand and place the hand closest to the cable pulley over your other hand.

Step 3

Take a step away from the stack to create slight tension in the cable and assume an athletic position -- keep a small bend in your knees with the cable tucked to your chest.

Step 4

Slowly press the cable away from you, extending your arms all the way. Keep your core tight and don’t let the weight rotate your body.

Step 5

Hold for 1-2 seconds in the extended position and return the cable to your chest. Perform 12 reps per side.

Wood Choppers

Rebounding a missed shot in basketball is one of the keys to winning. Sometimes, you need to wrestle away a rebound from an opponent and you’re going to need rotational strength to win the ball.

Woodchoppers are a cable exercise that builds rotational strength and power.

Step 1

Set up a cable above your head, stand to the side of the cable and grab the handle.

Step 2

Keep your arms straight and rotate your torso, pulling the handle across your body and towards your opposite foot.

Step 3

To achieve a deeper range of motion, pivot your back foot while bending your knees slightly.

Step 4

Slowly return the cable to the starting position making sure to maintain a tight and engaged core the entire time.

Tip

You can also reverse this movement and perform a low to high woodchopper. Move the cable as low to the ground as you can and in the reverse motion pull the cable up and across your body.

Skater Squat

Basketball players need to build explosive strength and power to explode up the court on a fast break or to make the highlight reel with spectacular dunks. Skater squats will not only challenge your leg strength, but your core will need to engage and fire double time to support your weight on one leg.

Muscular, young afro-american man playing basketball
Strong abs help you play better. (Image: Yuri/iStock/Getty Images)

Step 1

Balance on one leg and raise the other off the ground.

Step 2

Extend the raised leg behind, bending the knee to 90 degrees, slightly leaning forward to help with balance.

Step 3

Bend the knee you’re standing on to enter into a one-legged squat. Maintain tight and engaged abs. Once your leg reaches parallel with the floor push through your foot and return to standing.

Medicine Ball Chest Pass

A team that passes the ball well wins. Executing a great pass takes strong arms and chest muscles as well as a strong and stable core.

Step 1

With an 8 to 10 pound medicine ball, stand facing a wall with the medicine ball against your chest.

Step 2

Assume an athletic stance and throw the ball against the wall with as much power as possible.

Step 3

Catch the ball as it bounces back, bringing the ball back to your chest before repeating your next throw.

Step 4

Perform 10 to 12 throws for three to four sets at the end or beginning of a workout.

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