Women's Basketball Single-Leg Training Tips

STACK Expert T. J. Allan explains why single-leg exercises should be part of your basketball training program, then suggests three good ones.

Women's basketball

Watch a basketball game closely. You'll notice something strange. It's primarily played on one leg in multiple planes. A crossover is a simple weight shift from one leg to the other in the frontal plane. A layup is a single-leg explosive hop in the sagittal plane. Even a defensive shuffle is a short, quick single-leg push in the frontal and transverse planes.

Basketball may be played on two legs, but it's dominated by players who own their 360 degrees of space with single-leg movements. Unfortunately, during a typical women's basketball workout, most weight room exercises are done on two legs.

Squats, Cleans and Deadlifts should be the staple of almost every women's basketball workout. But to get the most out of your training, don't ignore single-leg exercises. Not only will they make you more explosive on the court, they're also great for ACL injury prevention.

Include the following three exercises in your basketball workout.

RELATED: Leg Workouts That Actually Work

Front Lunge

  • Hold a pair of dumbbells at your sides.
  • Step forward with one foot and slowly lower your back knee to the ground.
  • Focus on keeping your front knee from caving in and going past your toes.
  • Keep your torso as upright as possible.
  • When you drive up, push through your front heel and return to the starting position.
  • Sets/Reps: 3x8-10, each leg

How it transfers to the court: What position are you in before you explode out of a crossover? A lunge. When a ball is loose on the floor, what position are you in as you accelerate toward it? A lunge.

Lateral Step-Up

  • Select a box 8 to 12 inches high.
  • Grab a pair of dumbbells and stand right beside the box.
  • With the leg farthest from the box, step across your body and onto the box.
  • As you step onto the box, drive through your heel.
  • Keep your torso as upright as possible throughout the entire movement.
  • Sets/Reps: 3x8-10, each leg

How it transfers to the court: The defensive slide depends on a strong lateral push. The faster and harder you can push into the ground laterally, the quicker you will be on the defensive end. The Lateral Step-Up strengthens that push.

TRX Single-Leg Squat

  • Set up a TRX in a squat rack.
  • Grab the handles and balance on one leg.
  • Lower yourself into a Single-Leg Squat. Try to get your hip below your knee.
  • Once you're in the bottom position, drive through your heel and return to the starting position.
  • Use your arms as little as possible.
  • Make sure the knee on your working leg does not cave in.
  • As you progress, use less of your upper body during the concentric portion. Eventually you won't need the TRX at all.
  • Sets/Reps: 3x8-10, each leg

How it transfers to the court: A single defensive sequence perfectly illustrates the 3-dimensional game of basketball. A lateral defensive shuffle turns into a transverse drop step to recover. The TRX Single-Leg Squat creates an explosive step in all three directions.

Include one of these exercises at the end of each lower-body workout. Rotate among the three exercises. If you work your lower body twice per week, perform Front Lunges after your first workout and do Lateral Step-Ups at the end of your second. During the following week, perform TRX Single-Leg Squats during your first lower-body workout and repeat the cycle.

RELATED: The 4 Best Leg Exercises for Women

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