Fit Tip: Shoot Some Hoops
It’s finally summer and adults and kids alike are hitting the court for a pick-up game of basketball with friends, neighbors or coworkers. Depending on the intensity of your game, basketball can be a great total body workout with all the benefits of a cardio session at the gym. You don’t have to be a pro to play, but there are a few things you can do to improve your game and get more out of court time.
Strength Training: Shooting the basketball involves chest and shoulder muscles. If you haven’t shot a ball in a few months your muscles will be talking after your first game. Start doing pushups on a regular basis to strengthen your shooting muscles. Begin with 10 and work up to 3 sets of 20 each day. If traditional pushups are too difficult, start on your knees and work up to performing them from a full plank position.
Dribbling: Get a ball and practice dribbling for 10-15 minutes a day. Try four dribbles each hand, then three, two and one dribble each hand. Also practice dribbling while looking straight ahead instead of down at the ground. This will help you in a game situation when you need your head up as you dribble down the court.
Shooting: Remember the game of H-O-R-S-E from your childhood? Grab a friend and use the game to practice shots from all different spots on the court to improve eye-hand coordination and depth perception.
Speed: Practice getting your heart rate up and improving your agility by trying a few shuttle runs. Shuttle runs focus on fast-twitch muscle fibers and explosive movements. Basketball requires quick change of directions.
Practice, practice, practice: As with all sports, practice leads to improvement. Get some friends together or participate in community basketball games. You won’t think of it as exercise, but will reap all the benefits.