Top 5 Explosive Upper Body Exercises For Basketball Athletes

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All basketball athletes want to build explosive power so that they can blow by defenders and power through to finish strong around the basket. Oftentimes, basketball players tend to overlook the importance of having a strong and explosive upper body.

You’re only as strong as your weakest link, being explosive overall will help you transfer power from your lower and upper body. As well as generating more power to be able to absorb contact or finish through after getting bumped.


Plyometric Pushup W/ Box

Start by having both your hands on top of a 6″ of plyoboxes. Drop down onto the floor and quickly push up back on top of the boxes. You want to be quick and powerful off the ground to really maximize the stretch shortening cycle. This movement is like the depth jump for the upper body.

Explosive Pullup

It’s exactly what it sounds like. You can either choose an underhand or overhand grip, it all depends on your strength level. Then you are going to pull up as fast as you can, and letting go at the top of the bar for a split second. You want to control your momentum on the way down to make sure that your stable and in control of the movement.

Dumbbell Rotational Row

This is a great way to improve rotational power to your upper body movement. Start in a tall plank position while holding a pair of dumbbells. Then in one motion, row-rotate-press towards the ceiling.

Landmine Rotational Press

Start in an athletic position, holding the end of the barbell just under your chin. Flex, rotate, and bring the bar to the side of your body then press overhead. You want to move the end of the bar overhead as fast as possible.

Landmine Row Split Snatch

Start in a low athletic position with your butt back. Row the end of the barbell towards your belly button. Then as you bring it back down, as soon as the weight touches the ground, quickly snatch the barbell overhead, and catch it in a split stance position.


All these movements should help you build strength and power in the upper body area. What’s great about all these movements is that they are simple to do for most athletes that have built of some general strength in the weightroom.

When you already have a good upper body strength base, in order to see that transfer on the court, you need to turn it into power! By doing the exercises above, you will definitely become a more powerful athlete.

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