Specificity training…The secret to achieving lightening-quick speed, gravity-defying hops, bone-crushing strength, and energizer-bunny stamina on the basketball court, regardless of your current basketball skill level.
Are you getting pushed around on the basketball court? Do you feel out of breath practically minutes after joining a basketball game? Do you feel like you have the vertical leap of a worm? Or, do you find yourself getting left in the dust every time you try to keep up with the man that you’re guarding because you have the speed of turtle? If you answered “yes” to any of the preceding questions, there is no doubt that you need to develop either more strength, basketball stamina, better leaping ability, or speed. The good news is that there is a way to improve that specific “weak” area of your game, regardless of which one it might be. The answer: specificity training.
What is specificity training? Basically, it’s a way to target-train certain muscle groups in your body in a specific way regularly, consistently, and frequently in order for those muscle groups to perform and react the way you want them to under pre-determined situations or duress. For example, since basketball is such a fast-paced sport, your body should be able to keep up with a sudden change of direction while in motion or in a situation where you suddenly had to dive on the basketball court to get a loose ball. With the help of a qualified trainer, you could design different types of training regimens that would condition the different muscles in your body that are often activated or triggered and needed when you’re playing a game of basketball; the type of exercises incorporated into a workout regimen to achieve specificity training varies depending on the type of sport. For example, the way you would train to get ready for basketball season would be different from how you would prepare for football season. And, depending on your personal goals, there are various types of specificity training programs that can be designed to meet your sport-specific needs such as, core training, speed training, vertical-jump training, strength training, endurance training, and flexibility training. For the purposes of this article, we will only discuss core training.
Core training: An important component to any specificity-training exercise program.
If you don’t do anything else, you should at minimum include core training as part of your overall basketball training regimen. Core training involves developing the core muscles in your body. Just like the foundation of a house supports the entire structure and prevents it from collapsing over time, the core muscles of your body serve as the foundation of your body; they support your entire body by providing stability whenever you’re performing any physical activity from something as simple as walking or bending down to tie your shoe laces to a more physically demanding activity such as leaping up several feet into the air to dunk a basketball. Regardless of the type of activity you’re trying to perform, it all starts from your core or sometimes referred to as the “center” of your body. If your core muscles groups are not sufficiently developed to especially withstand the rigors of your specific sport (in this case, basketball), you will be more susceptible to muscle injuries with the most common injury being lower back pains. Also, your posture will be negatively affected.
Now that you have discovered that your core muscle groups play a significant role in how well you perform on the basketball court, what are the exact muscles in your body that makeup your core muscle groups? If you have not already guessed it, the muscles that combined makeup your main core muscle groups are your abdominal muscles (Transversus abdominis, Rectus abdominis, and External oblique), your back muscles (Multifidus and Erector spinae), and your hip flexor muscles (Psoas major, Illiacus, Rectus femoris, Pectineus, and Sartorius). Therefore, you should perform exercises that would target the preceding muscle groups as part of your core training regimen. Some basic exercises that would help strengthen your core muscles include: Squats, abdominal crunches, push-ups, back extensions, russian twists, hip lifts, lunges, and row exercises. Proper nutrition is also essential to making sure that your core muscle groups are not compromised. This is because, you want to prevent excess fat from accumulating around your midsection, which would not only compromise the performance of your heart but most likely also put a strain on your lower back. Therefore, try not to eat high-calorie-junk fatty foods. Do not drink excessive amount of alcoholic beverages, and try not to eat late at night.
The importance of core training cannot be emphasized enough. Nothing happens unless you have a strong, properly developed core muscles. The longer you wait, the more difficult it would become later to develop your core muscle groups. Start today. Don’t delay.