Train to Improve Your Game: Basketball and Soccer

Train to Improve Your Game BasketballIf you’re exercising to improve your overall health and wellness, your weekly routine should be well rounded and allow you to work on several components of your fitness level. This includes your cardiovascular fitness level, muscular strength, flexibility and endurance. However, if you wish to improve at a particular sport or activity, you need to do a little extra each week and train in a way that is specific to your chosen sport. Performance specific training is very important especially if you wish to improve and avoid unnecessary injury. If you are an avid soccer or basketball player, having good cardiovascular fitness level is essential. There are several ways that you can train to ensure that you can keep up with a fast moving game.

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Interval training is an ideal choice because it’s basically just using timing as a way to ensure your body is working hard and combining it with a period of rest or active rest. Using timing and training intensity to manipulate the rise and fall of your exercise induced heart rate pushes your body to use different energy sources for the workout and over time will help to improve you cardiovascular fitness level. This type of training mimics the way in which your body has to work during a stop-start game such as soccer and basketball.

If you play soccer on the weekends, consider adding two running based interval- training sessions to your weekly routine at the beginning of the week so that you have ample time to recover before game day.

Try this sprinting based interval routine:

  • Warm up for 15 minutes, adding a few 20-second bursts at the end to prepare for the workout.
  • Run, bike, or row for 30 seconds at a nearly all-out effort. Take three minutes active recovery and repeat the 30 on/3 off pattern five or six more times.
  • Finish with a 10-minute cool down at a jogging pace.

Sprinting is great for strengthening your legs, glutes and core. It increases your muscular power, which helps you push harder and makes your non-interval training workouts feel easier. Adding a sprint- based workout to your current routine once per week will be a great addition to your program.

Both soccer and basketball require a lot of stop-start movement, as well as sideways movements that can put stress on the knee joints if you are not well prepared. Having a balanced and functional body is important because when you don’t work on the small muscles and tendons that are responsible for stability, it puts you at a greater risk of getting injured. Prevention is a much better approach than a cure when it comes to taking care of your joints. So consider adding some side ways movements to your routine to help strengthen your quads and protect your joints.

Side Step Shuffle

  • Stand with both feet together in an athletic stance with a slight bend in the knees. Take 3 steps to the right, then 3 steps to the left.
  • Start out slowly then pick up the pace.
  • Do this for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat 6 times.

Speed Skater

  • Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms by your sides. Hop to the right, landing on your right foot while sweeping the left foot diagonally behind the right leg and swinging the left arm across the body and the right arm behind back.
  • Jump to left, switching legs and arms to complete one rep.
  • Perform 20 reps, rest and then repeat for 4 sets.

Lateral Lunge

  • Step to the right with your right foot, keeping your toes forward and your feet flat.
  • Squat through your right hip, while keeping your left leg straight.
  • Squat as low as comfortable and hold the position for two seconds.
  • Push back to the starting position and repeat to the opposite side.
  • Perform 12 lunges each side for three sets.

There are so many positive reasons why playing sports as part of your healthy, active lifestyle can be beneficial. They help you stay in shape, teach you how to organize your time, boost friendships and help you to build strong relationships with your peers. Being part of a team gives you an opportunity to surround yourself with competitive people and it is such a great way to keep you accountable to being healthy. As you become more active, find ways to challenge yourself and include new exercises into your weekly routine so that you continually improve.

Written by Samantha Clayton, AFAA, ISSA. Samantha is Sr. Director of Fitness Education at Herbalife.





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