Science Looks At Safely Increasing Explosiveness in Teen Basketball Players

Basketball coaches are always looking for ways to improve explosive strength, but what if those coaches work with adolescents? Are there safe strength programs for boys already active in basketball?

Basketball coaches are always looking for ways to improve explosive strength in their players, but it can be quite challenging for those who coach adolescents. Coaches want to improve performance in their players, yet they do not want to compromise the young athlete’s health by overloading their skeletal muscle development. A recent study took a look at the effects of a lower and upper body resistance training program on explosive strength development in young basketball players.

The study lasted for 10 weeks during basketball season, and was performed on 25 adolescent male athletes, aged 14-15 years old. Each player was tested before and after the 10-week training program on: squat jump, countermovement jump, Abalakov test (a test that is a variation of the vertical jump test, used for measuring leg power), drop jump (from a 40 centimeter platform), and seated medicine ball throw.1

Each player was then randomly assigned to an experimental group or control group. The control group continued regular basketball practice without any intervention. The experimental group included resistance training. This group worked out twice a week, and the regimen included the following exercises: decline press, leg press, lat pull down, leg extension, pullover, and leg curl. The first two weeks the subjects performed 2 sets of 10-12 reps on each exercise, and the remaining weeks they upped the workload to 3 sets of 10-12 reps on each exercise.2

The results of the study showed that the experimental group demonstrated significant increases in every variable score. The control group players actually saw a significant decrease in performance in the squat jump, countermovement jump, and Abalakov test, but saw a significant increase in the medicine ball test scores.3

The take home from this study is that a 10-week in-season resistance training program with moderate volume and intensity loads actually can increase explosive strength in the vertical jump and medicine ball throw in adolescent male basketball players. It could be extremely beneficial to coaches to have a short resistance training program, such as the one used in this study, that can increase explosiveness in young male athletes without causing injury. This in turn will result in improved basketball performance. This program was determined to be safe for the adolescent athlete and did not induce any extra overload on the adolescents’ skeletal muscle development.4

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

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