Interval Training for Basketball Players

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It is important to be in good shape on the court. Interval training for basketball players is a great way to condition and stay in shape. Interval training is a foundation of athletic training.

While today’s methods are far more sophisticated, the primary goal is the same: athletic performance enhancement. Interval training can be developed for an entire team or to just an individual athlete. Interval training sessions are often developed with the athlete’s sport in mind, as well as their level of conditioning. The intensity of the workout often depends on the anaerobic threshold testing results of the individual athlete.

Interval training is also flexible and a training plan can be developed for beginner basketball players to advanced athletes. As the athlete “outgrows” his current training routine, it can be increased. There really is no limit and athletes can increase training routines to make it as challenging as they need it to be. Before starting any interval training routine, it is important to consult a physician to ensure it is safe.

How Does Interval Training Work?

Both the anaerobic and aerobic systems are worked with this type of training. During high intensity, glycogen is used for the short activity bursts. Oxygen is not used with anaerobic metabolism. During high intensity, the athlete goes into energy debt and lactic acid builds. The recovery phase involves the lungs and heart working in unison to break down the lactic acid and recover from the oxygen debt. The aerobic system is working during this phase, creating energy by using oxygen to convert carbohydrates that are stored.

Interval Training Benefits

An adaption response results from interval training. The heart muscle gets stronger and tolerance develops to the accumulation of lactate. Improved performance, specifically the cardiovascular system, results. Injuries that often result from repetitive endurance training are also more often prevented with interval training for basketball players. This type of exercise allows athletes to increase the intensity of their training sessions without burning out or over-training. Other benefits include improving aerobic capacity, not needing special equipment, burning more calories, and not getting bored with the routine.

Safety Tips

There are things all athletes should do before beginning interval training. Before a workout, a thorough warm-up is necessary. During the workout, athletes should aim for 100 to 110 beats per minute when they are in the recovery phase. Throughout the interval, the pace should be challenging but steady and the number of repetitions should be built over time. Improvement requires increasing both duration and intensity, but these should be increased separately.

Advanced Workouts

Athletes can take a more scientific approach to this type of training by varying their recovery and work intervals on their predetermined goals. There are four variables that all athletes can manipulate when they are developing their individual interval training program. These include work interval speed, the duration of their recovery interval, the duration of the work interval, and how many repetitions in each interval.


The American Council on Exercise. (2010). Interval Training. Retrieved on November 22, 2010 from The American Council on Exercise: (2010). Interval Training: Can it Boost Your Calorie-Burning Power? Retrieved on November 22, 2010 from