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Running in a straight line or around a track for an hour might help you build leg stamina, but it won't prepare you for the many quick changes of direction you perform during a basketball game. In addition to building limit strength, train your legs for explosive and reactive power and vertical jumping. Create a training plan that includes different types of workouts to get your legs in shape for the many demands of basketball.
Start your training program at least six months before your basketball season begins if you have the time. Divide your training program into three equal time periods if you don't. Begin your program with strength-training workouts that consist of five repetitions of an exercise per set, and three to five sets of each exercise performed consecutively, followed by a one-minute break after each set. Use enough weight so that it's difficult to finish the fifth rep. Include deadlifts, leg presses, heel raises, squats, box squats and hamstring curls, performing your reps slowly. Perform at least three strength workouts per week.
Run or perform other aerobic exercise that works you legs, such as using an elliptical, cycling or skating. Exercise at the highest heart rate you can maintain for 30 minutes without stopping. Consider using varied workouts, such as jogging one day, using an elliptical the next and so on. Perform at least three workouts each week.
Change to endurance strength training after one or two months of strength training, depending on how much time you have. Reduce the amount of weight you use to approximately 50 percent of the maximum weight you can lift one time before failure. Perform circuit-training workouts to build muscular endurance, performing 10 to 12 reps of an exercise in a row, then taking a 30-second break before starting a new exercise. Repeat exercises two to three times per workout, but do not perform them consecutively, as you did during strength workouts. Add kettlebell swinging to your workouts.
Begin power, jumping and speed workouts one to two months before your season begins, or during the third phase of your schedule. Use 30 percent to 50 percent of your maximum resistance to perform deadlifts, squats, box squats, reactive squats and heel raises. Perform your reps quickly, rather than slowly, as you did during strength workouts. Perform six to eight reps of each exercise per set, and do three sets per workout. Eliminate aerobic exercise, such as running or using cardio machines, which train your slow-twitch muscle fibers.
Add box jumps, depth jumps, shock jumps, bounding across the court and walking back, shuffling before sprinting, 1-2-3 jumps, resisted dashes and standing broad jumps to your training. Include footwork drills such as rope ladder exercises, spider drills, dashes over hurdles and jumping rope with different footwork. Include sprint, or interval training, to train your muscles' ability to recover quickly from intense bursts of activity.