Basketball Workouts: Elite Level Athletic Conditioning with HIIT!

HIIT Helps Explode Your Basketball Skills!

If you want to dominate your sport, you’re going to need a few things. A high level of skill at your position if it’s a team sport, dedication to stay with your training and superior athletic conditioning. In this article we will focus on the last one.

If you think your talent or skill will allow you to skimp on the conditioning phase of your training, guess again. You may already have mad basketball skills on the court; incredible handles, mad hops or an automatic jump shot from 24 feet, but what happens to your game if you don’t have the conditioning to use those skills late in the game? You get tired. The legs go and your shot starts falling short. You turn the ball over with 2 minutes to go because fatigue is setting in. Your vertical drops and you can’t get up for that crucial rebound and guess what… the less talented but harder working kid gets the rebound AND the assist to win the game!

Now before you start to get bummed because you think this means you’re going to be running for an hour or more everyday hang on a second. Sports & fitness training has come a long way since the days when your old man had to jog 50 laps around the field after practice. Today you have a secret weapon. A 4 minute secret weapon known as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training).

HIIT is a series of short, high intensity exercises divided by short rest periods.

Typically, you might do 30 seconds of sprints followed by 30 to 60 seconds of rest. This would make one set. The great part of HIIT is that you only need a little bit of it, 6 to 10 sets, to get maximum conditioning benefits. Another great aspect is you can incorporate almost any intense form of exercise into the workout so it can be tailored to just about any sport.

The science behind HIIT – During exercise, your body uses two different types of systems to burn energy. Aerobic (slow and steady like jogging) and anaerobic (fast short bursts like sprinting). Without going into a long scientific explanation, the main difference is with anaerobic (sprints) where your body will create lactic acid much faster. As the lactic acid reaches high enough levels fatigue sets in and energy output slows. This is also known as your lactate threshold. The higher your threshold, the longer you can go before fatigue becomes a factor. HIIT training can improve your lactate threshold in a fairly short amount of time. You are also improving your cardiovascular (VO2max) system at the same time.

Now that we know what HIIT is, lets focus on one of the most effective HIIT protocols called Tabata.

Tabata just means you divide your intervals into eight 30 second sets. 20 seconds of intense exercise followed by 10 seconds of rest. The rest is important because you need to recover enough to be able to go all out during the 20 second intense phase. Otherwise you’re just doing cardio and you won’t be able to sustain the intense phase long enough to get the benefit. If you find that you can’t recover quickly enough in 10 seconds, increase the rest phase as much as you need to.

Here’s a sample HIIT Tabata baskeball workout using sprints as the intense phase.

    20 seconds – sprint — 10 seconds – rest.
    Set 1 is complete.
    20 seconds – sprint — 10 seconds – rest.
    Set 2 is complete.
    20 seconds – sprint — 10 seconds – rest.
    Set 3 is complete.
    20 seconds – sprint — 10 seconds – rest.
    Set 4 is complete.
    20 seconds – sprint — 10 seconds – rest.
    Set 5 is complete.
    20 seconds – sprint — 10 seconds – rest.
    Set 6 is complete.
    20 seconds – sprint — 10 seconds – rest.
    Set 7 is complete.
    20 seconds – sprint — 10 seconds – rest.
    The workout is over – 4 minutes.
Mix it up!

Another great way to do HIIT sessions is by super setting or cycling the exercises. For example instead of sprinting on every intense phase, alternate between sprints, squat jumps, pushups and jump rope.

Incorporate your vertical jump training into the sets with various plyometrics. Make sure you keep the intensity high and the rest adequate so that you are getting the full benefit and you will be jumping higher AND getting the elite game conditioning you need.

Some HIIT benefits include -
    Improved VO2max (Lung oxygen utilization).
    Increased Lactate Threshold (muscles can work longer without fatigue)
    Strength gains depending on the exercise.
    Improved balance and coordination.
    Improved sport specific skills depending on the exercise used.
    Dramatically improved overall conditioning.
    No super long boring cardio sessions.
    More calories burned = much more efficient weight loss.

HIIT also raises your metabolism for several hours after the activity has finished. The hormone called HGH is also released into the blood stream during HIIT training. This helps build muscle and the extended raised metabolism phase will cause you to burn extra calories long after you’re finished working out. Some studies show the extended weight loss benefit may last as long as 36 hours after.

Incorporate HIIT into your basketball workouts and you will find that you get stronger in the 4th quarter instead of fading down the stretch like a cheap peel and stick tattoo!!!

Work Hard – Train Hard!

Scott Bias

BallinUSA.com

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Article by Scott Bias

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