5 Strength Training & Plyometric Methods to Improve Rebounding


You may think rebounding is based off of athleticism or height, but this belief is false. Rebounding is a developed skill that anyone can acquire through proper training – specifically, strength and plyometric training. Since rebounding has many components to it, there are many drills you can do in order to improve your rebounding ability. This article will highlight what I believe to be the best training methods for turning any athlete into a strong rebounder.

#1: Squats

This is essential for athletes to work out their entire lower body. Squats are great for increasing muscle endurance and strength. The endurance will allow basketball players to jump higher, run faster and run longer. Leg strength contributes to staying low and boxing out your opponent. When you are able to hold your man and push them back, you will give yourself a better chance of grabbing the rebound. Almost everyone is familiar with the squat technique; start with your feet hips width apart and back straight. Push hips back with weight on heels until your knees are parallel to the floor. Use your leg muscles to push back up. In order to keep your body guessing, it is good to perform different squat techniques. Here are some variations of the squat.

-       Body weight squat - Squat at high repetitions with your body weight. This method will increase muscle endurance while weighted squats will increase muscle strength.

-       Back squat – Squat with the barbell rested behind your head on your shoulders and neck.

-       Front squat –Squat with the barbell in front of your body with elbows parallel to the ground.

-       Goblet squat – Squat with a dumbbell or weight plate held between your legs. Lower until the weight touches the ground and come back up.

-       Overhead squat – Hold the barbell with a grip that is much wider then shoulder width. With arms fully extended overhead, perform squat. Note: this is one of the hardest squats because it requires good balance from the core and shoulders.

#2: Pull-ups

Pull-ups are one of the best exercises basketball players can do. They are especially useful for rebound improvement since the pulling motion is similar to the motion of pulling down a rebound. Pull-ups strengthen the back and arm muscles used when ripping down a rebound so you are more powerful during a basketball game. You can find a pull up bar at any gym, buy one for your home, or improvise with anything that will allow you to safely pull yourself up. Grab the bar with hands facing away from your face (or you can do chin ups when the hands face towards you). Using your back muscles, pull yourself up until your chin is over the bar; lower yourself until arms are straight. Aim for at least three sets for 8-12 reps. If you are experienced with pull-ups, try wearing a weighted vest or attached a weight plate between your legs. If you cannot complete pull-ups on your own, get a partner to help support you or use the assisted pull-up machine at your gym.

#3: Plyometrics

Vital for increasing timing and muscle reaction, plyometrics train your muscles to contact quicker and more explosively when jumping for a rebound. This explosiveness will also help you beat your opponents to the ball. Furthermore, plyometrics can increase your vertical jump, which is a huge component for becoming a better rebounder. Here are a few simple plyometric drills you can do pretty much anywhere.

-       Squat jumps – Wearing a weighted vest, lower into a squat position and explode off the ground. Imagine yourself jumping higher each time in order to grab a rebound. Do three sets for 8-12 reps.

-       Box jumps – Stand about 1-2 feet away from a sturdy box at an appropriate height for your abilities. Standing still, lower into a position similar to squat and jump up and forward onto the box. When landing, make sure you land gently on the balls of your feet so that less pressure is put on your knees. Again, wear a weighted vest to make this more challenging. Do three sets for 8-12 reps.

-       Broad jumps – Start with feet hip distance apart and lower down to get more power. Jump as far forward as you can. Land softly and repeat this action as quick as you can. Limiting time on the ground trains your muscles to contract quicker. Do three sets for 8-12 reps.

#4: Weighted jumps

Weighted jumps are a sub category of plyometics because they train your muscle fibers to react more quickly. These exercises are ideal for basketball players specifically to increase vertical jump.

-       Weight plate jumps- Hold a 5-10 pound plate over your head and try to touch the backboard. Complete this for 12-15 reps and go to the other side of the basket. Once you have completed two sets with weight, take a ball and repeat the drill. You will find it much easier to touch the backboard since the ball is significantly lighter than the weight.

-       Weighted vest jumps - Stand at the foul line and throw or bounce the ball at the backboard. Wearing a weighted vest, jump as high as you can and reach the ball at its peak. Finish the lay-up or throw an outlet pass; complete 5 sets of 5 reps.

-       Weight put backs- Stand in the center of the key about two feet in front of the basket. With arms extended holding a 5-10 pound plate overhead, jump straight up. Next, pivot towards the basketball and jump again as to finish the put back lay-up. Do three sets of 10 repetitions.

#5: Core

Your core is where all of your strength and power come from. The stronger your core, the stronger and more efficient your other muscles will become. If your core is weak, your other muscles will not be able to perform as efficiently. Therefore, a strong core is necessary to complement the exercises mentioned above.  A strong core is also crucial for boxing out and moving your opponent. Most people think core is purely abdominals. However, training your core involves strengthening your back and shoulders as well. Do this routine 3-4 times a week and you will have a stronger core in no time.

·      25 push-ups

·      1 minute plank

·      1 minute wall sit

Repeat this cycle 4-5 times. Also, you can add in any abdominal drills you like to supplement these exercises.

For more rebounding drills and exercises, check out this course by Michigan State’s Tom Izzo on CoachTube.