Many basketball players choose to be skinny to zip around the court. Gone are the days when basketball athletes oozed big and bulky muscles. Today, this sport is all about speed and precision.
After all, basketball is a fast-paced game, especially for the NBA. The professional basketball scene provides “edge of your seat” sports action wherein relatively anything can happen on the court. For example, underdog teams snatch seemingly impossible wins from top teams in the league. Consequently, star players may make common mistakes during climactic moments. Hence, basketball players always need to have an optimal physique for the sport.
Continue reading, and you’ll know the top three reasons why basketball players look skinny while maintaining healthy lifestyles.
- Why do Basketball Players Stay Skinny and Fit?
- How do Basketball Players Achieve Lean Physiques?
- Why do Basketball Players Have Skinny Legs?
- Final Words – Reasons Basketball Players are Skinny
Why do Basketball Players Stay Skinny and Fit?
Although many basketball players look skinny, they are far from being unhealthy. Many athletes, particularly in the NBA, follow rigorous training programs to keep their health, physique, and athletic performance in top shape.
Here are the top reasons why basketball players maintain a healthy lifestyle:
1. Improve Muscular Endurance
Generally, basketball requires players to achieve and maintain three athletic qualities: agility, stamina, and strength. Shooters need to reach a respectable distance from the hoop to have a higher-than-average chance at scoring. Blockers need to reach opposing players quickly, lest their teams lose points.
These quick and abrupt movements may put a high strain on the muscles. In turn, muscles become sore quickly, leading to a reduction in a basketball player’s overall performance on the court.
Following the right exercise regimen helps basketball players to build and maintain muscular endurance. Some exercises, like bodyweight squats, lunges, and pushups, help athletes improve muscle endurance over time. Doing so allows players to stay longer on the court without worrying about muscle pain surfacing quickly.
2. Improve Lean Body Mass
Large muscles, like those found in people vying for Mr. or Ms. Olympia titles, may not be ideal for fast-paced sports like basketball. Although bulky physiques may signify a healthy lifestyle, bulging biceps and thighs that can crush cans may not be ideal for running, jumping, and shooting on basketball courts.
Having a lean body mass may promote better performance for basketball players. These athletes may have biceps that seem minuscule compared to bodybuilders, but the lean arms won’t hinder the players from receiving passes or extending their arms to attempt three-point shots.
Consequently, most professional basketball players need only to stay skinny and fit during official seasons. Some athletes may want to use their free time binging in buffets or partying until dawn. But, these unhealthy choices may lead to loss of lean body mass, along with increasing the risk of a slew of health conditions.
On the other hand, many basketball players know the importance of building and maintaining their lean body mass. Keeping that healthy physique won’t only help those athletes in the court but the healthy lifestyle will also help them function properly doing seemingly menial tasks, such as carrying boxes and putting them on the top shelves.
3. Improve Self-Confidence
Psychological characteristics are also important, if not even more critical than physiological traits in basketball. Imagine a player lacking in self-confidence. If so, that athlete might have doubts about shooting the ball, despite that person having a clear shot. Those few microseconds wasted might be critical for the team as opposing players can snatch the ball quickly.
Following strict exercise programs, regardless if they’re on or off the basketball court, helps build self-confidence. The enhanced self-admiration won’t only be useful in giving positive vibes while looking at yourself in the mirror. Training the body helps boost self-esteem, which may lead to giving basketball teams award-winning shots.
One study reveals that exercise can help boost self-esteem and cognitive function. The researchers also state that regular physical activities promote other psychological health benefits, such as reducing anxiety and depression symptoms.
How do Basketball Players Achieve Lean Physiques?
Many people, regardless if they’re basketball fans or not, yearn for that beach-body-ready physique. But, that goal might be more challenging to achieve than usual without proper guidance.
Hence, here are five exercises basketball players do to achieve their fit figures:
1. Lateral Lunges
Lateral lunges target the legs and buttocks. But, why include this exercise in your training plan when other exercises already exist that target these body parts? First, lateral lunges involve the adductors to promote lean muscles to the inner thigh. Next, this exercise delivers less load on the knees than squats or regular lunges.
In basketball, players need to assume the starting position of lateral lunges countless times. In detail, it’s the sport’s standard defensive shuffling stance.
Here’s how to perform lateral lunges:
- Step to the right from a standing position. Ensure that the toes are pointing forward while the feet are flat on the ground.
- Squat using the right leg while keeping the left leg straight. Put your weight on the right leg for stability.
- Squat as low as possible while keeping the left leg straight.
- Hold your lowest position for two seconds.
- Return to the standing position.
- Repeat for 10 repetitions before switching legs.
2. Glute Bridges
Have you wondered why many NBA players have appealing “behinds?” One reason is that these athletes perform glute bridges regularly.
This exercise promotes numerous benefits to athletes in basketball and relatively any other physically-active sports. Some of these advantages include improving posture, enhancing breathing, and developing strong legs.
Here’s how to perform glute bridges:
- Start by lying face-up on the floor.
- Bend the knees to about 90 degrees while the feet stay flat on the floor.
- Slowly bridge the hips to the ceiling.
- Hold the position for one or two seconds at your highest point. Ensure that your shoulders and heels remain on the ground.
- Slowly lower the hips back to the starting position.
- Repeat for 10 repetitions and do two sets.
3. Romanian Deadlift (RDL)
Perhaps you already saw someone do RDLs at the gym, but they were doing this exercise with a barbell. But, it’s also possible to do it without weights.
The RDL is useful for basketball players as it develops jumping prowess. It builds leg strength, particularly in the hamstrings and glutes. Building these muscles promote explosive jumping power, which is crucial to achieving that crowd-pleasing dunk.
Although being a tall person is advantageous in basketball, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for people with shorter-than-average height. One case to prove that point is 5’5’’ Porter Maberry, who starred in a commercial for the Samsung Galaxy Note II with LeBron James.
With that in mind, here are the steps to perform the RDL properly:
- Stand with the feet at shoulder-width apart.
- If you’re using weights, hold them at each side of your body. Ensure that the weights are on the back half of the feet.
- Assume a squatting motion by shifting the hips back while lowering your hands, dumbbells, or barbells as far as you can. Make sure to keep your back straight at all times.
- Place a sufficient amount of tension on your hamstrings and glutes. Use this pressure to help you return to the original position.
- Repeat for 10 repetitions.
Many fitness enthusiasts dread the pullup because it can be one of the most challenging exercises to accomplish. However, many basketball players need to accomplish this exercise as it marks the existence of strong backs, shoulders, wrists, and lats.
Here’s how you can start doing pull-ups if you’re a complete beginner to it:
- Use a chair and stand on it. Make sure that the furniture is stable. If it rocks, use another chair or a flat, sturdy surface.
- While standing on the chair or surface, grip the pullup bar with both hands. The distance between both hands should be about shoulder-width apart while the palms are facing away from you.
- Put tension on the arms as you lower your body while still maintaining balance on the chair or surface.
- Return to the original position after reaching the lowest point.
- Repeat for 10 to 12 repetitions and do two sets.
But, if you find yourself to be quite strong, you may not need a chair or surface to do assisted pullups. So, here are the steps to do regular pull-ups:
- Grab the pullup bar while the palms are facing down or outward. The hands should be about shoulder-width apart.
- Release the legs from the floor to start hanging. Engage your core to avoid rocking in place.
- Start pulling yourself up by imagining your elbows moving to the floor.
- Aim for your chin to go over the bar.
- Slowly lower yourself down, but don’t let your feet touch the ground yet.
- Do 10 to 12 repetitions and do two sets.
5. Front Squats
Also called the standard squat, the front squat promotes a solid base for basketball players. In particular, many NBA players need a strong base to avoid becoming outbalanced when a larger player comes crashing into them.
Here are the steps to do front squats:
- Stand with the feet shoulder-width apart while resting the arms on both sides of the body.
- Engage the core while keeping the chest and neck in a neutral position.
- Start bending the knees as you lower the body at the waist. Imagine that you’re going to sit on an imaginary chair.
- Raise the arms as you lower your body. Once you’re at the lowest point, the arms should be parallel to the floor.
- Pause for one or two seconds when the thighs are parallel to the floor.
- Push the heels to return to the original position.
- Do 10 to 12 repetitions and do two sets.
Why do Basketball Players Have Skinny Legs?
Do you wonder what 6’5’’ Jamal Crawford, 6’11’’ Kevin Durant, and 6’9’’ Tayshaun Prince have in common? Aside from having excellent NBA careers, these basketball players tend to have skinny legs.
Tall basketball players tend to have long limbs that generally look skinny. Although many NBA players have “skinny leg syndrome,” these legs are far from weak. Long-legged athletes tend to run, sprint, and jump higher than their shorter peers, making them valuable assets in different teams.
Final Words – Reasons Basketball Players are Skinny
Many skinny basketball players still follow strict health regimens to help them develop and maintain healthy lifestyles. Despite their relatively thin statures, these athletes have advantages over their shorter peers because of their longer limbs.
Basketball players also follow stringent exercise routines, like front squats, RDLs, and pull-ups, to help them achieve lean muscle masses. In turn, moves like passing, rebounding, blocking, and, of course, shooting becomes easier to do than with large, bulging muscles.
James is a big time NBA Golden State follower, who makes sure to catch games when he's in the area. He likes to follow International Soccer, with an interest in small town soccer club, Blackburn Rovers located in the North on the UK.