Strength: Game-Day Strength Workouts Can be OK

Strength: Game-Day Strength Workouts Can be OK

Serena Jennings

It can be difficult to schedule strength training sessions during a scholastic basketball season. Games often begin shortly after the season starts and coaches may be reluctant to include sessions on the same day as a practice or game for fear it will impair their players' performance.

However, a study has shown that strength training can be performed the same day as a game with no affect on performance…providing it is moderate in intensity and takes place six hours before the competition.

The Study
The study examined the effect of a moderate strength workout on the vertical jump, anaerobic capacity and shooting accuracy of 18 female college basketball players. The players had lifted weights for approximately five months prior to the study. During the study, the women trained for six weeks and were tested in the last two weeks of the program.

The players were tested six hours after a morning weight-training session and the results were compared to those from control days, when no weights were performed. The strength training sessions consisted of a full body workout of seven exercises with 3-6 sets of 5-12 reps (depending on the exercise) at 60-70% of their one-repetition maximum.

Exercises Performed
While a number of exercises were performed over the six week period, the exercises used on test days did not vary. They included the hang clean, push jerk, bench press, back squat, overhead press, prone leg curl and dumbbell incline press. Most of the exercises included warmup sets in addition to the actual workout sets.

The study found no difference in results between strength training days versus rest days.

The researchers concluded that moderate strength workouts (60-70% of 1 RM) six hours before a practice or game will not affect performance and will allow athletes to maintain their strength regime throughout the competitive season.

This information will allow basketball coaches to schedule strength training sessions on the morning of games or important practices--or even at lunchtime, for evening games--without negatively affecting their players' performance.

Editor's Comment
The study involved experienced college basketball players who had already performed five months of strength training. The results might not be the same for inexperienced beginners who might be susceptible to muscle soreness.

Reference: M.T. Woolstenhulme, B.K. Bailey, and P.E. Allsen, "Vertical Jump, Anaerobic Power, and Shooting Accuracy are not Altered 6 Hours After Strength Training in Collegiate Woman Basketball Players," in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. National Strength and Conditioning Association, 2004. 18 (3), 422-425.


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