Do you want to improve your balance? Good. This post will show you the best balance exercises for basketball that you can do.
Do you remember all of those layups that Steve Nash made while driving on 3 defenders? He would always twist his body like a contortionist!
Or plays of Kyrie Irving just straight-up dancing with defenders on the hardwood? Or LeBron James attacking and viciously dunking on opposing teams’ big men?
Yeah, all of these plays require balance. And a lot of it.
“But what can I do to improve my balance?” you may be asking.
Two of the best ways, in my opinion, are to increase your core strength and to strengthen your stability muscles.
By achieving these two things, you will improve your balance, which will allow you to do a myriad of things:
- It’ll help increase your chances of making unbalanced (and most likely contested) shots.
- It’ll help you stay stable when you’re attacking the basket or when you’re coming off a hard cut for a jumper, like Steph Curry.
- You’ll be more stable and in control when crossing someone over or when dribbling in high traffic.
- You’ll be stronger and more stable on defence, especially in the low post. If someone were to bump into you to create space, for instance, you won’t wobble and lose balance.
- You’ll have more balance and control when coming off of an old man step-back.
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So here are some of the best tools and exercises you can use and do to improve your balance:
Gear Required For The Balance Exercises:
Resistance Band Balance Exercises
Resistance bands are one of LeBron James’ favourite tools.
He uses them a lot to strengthen his core and stability muscles in his warm-ups.
The great thing about these is that you can make any primal movement more difficult by attaching it to a pole (or something similar) and strapping it around yourself.
By doing this, it’ll pull you in a certain direction and you’ll have to counter it (by stabilizing your body) to keep a good posture while doing the exercise.
The best exercises to do with the resistance band are:
- Standing Rows
- Standing Chest Press
- Side Steps
Bosu Ball Balance Exercises
The Bosu ball is great for doing both bodyweight exercises and plyometric ones.
When it comes to bodyweight exercises, the Bosu ball will add difficulty to all movements because you’ll be doing it on an unbalanced platform.
You’ll have to constantly tighten your core and stability muscles to stay stable as you do these movements.
If you don’t, you’ll lose balance and tip or fall over. Nash used this to work out a lot when he was playing for the Phoenix Suns.
As for the plyometric exercises, the Bosu ball will provide a cushion so that it won’t be so stressful on your joints.
Additionally, it will make the movements tougher because it’s bouncy and unstable.
The best exercises to do on the Bosu ball are:
- Romanian Deadlifts (Double and Single Legged)
- Bunny Hops
- Side Lunge Jump Offs
- Single-Leg Crane Stance
- High Knees
Balance Board Exercises for Basketball
The balance board is similar to the Bosu ball, except it is more challenging. Also, you shouldn’t do plyometric movements on it.
The reason why it’s harder to use is that the main platform is one hard, solid piece of wood and the bottom is rounded. It’s more difficult to stand and balance on it (let alone do exercises).
You’ll constantly move in different directions due to the lack of stability.
But as you get stronger, your body will adapt and you’ll be able to balance yourself.
The best exercises to do on the balance board are:
- Defensive stance for a certain amount of time
- Bodyweight (or lightweight) Romanian Deadlifts
- Overhead Press with a light dumbbell or medicine ball
Medicine Ball/Kettlebells/Sandbag Balance Exercises
With these tools, you can pretty much do any type of workout you please.
They’re that versatile!
But I’m only going to focus on the balance-building ones because that’s the topic of this blog post, and I really don’t want to go on a tangent like I am right now.
Anywhoo, the best way to work your core and stabilizers with the medicine ball, kettlebell or sandbag is to do single-limb exercises.
Using these tools along with an inflatable exercise ball is a great way to strengthen core and stability muscles too.
You’ll constantly be unbalanced because you’re either on one limb or on an unstable platform (exercise ball). This will force you to use your smaller muscles to correct your posture and stabilize your body.
Another benefit of doing balance workouts is that they force you to focus on staying stable.
If your mind veers off and thinks about something else, like an annoying 2K player, then you’re probably going to lose balance and tip over.
So these exercises are great for strengthening the mind as well.
I apologize. I went on a tangent. But here are the best balance exercises to do with a medicine ball, kettlebell, or sandbag:
- Split Squats
- Single-Leg Romanian Deadlifts
- Single Arm Kettlebell Swings
- Kettlebell Halos
- Waiter Carries
- Single-Leg Overhead Press
- Bench Press with Exercise Ball
- Seated Overhead Presses w/ Exercise Ball
So these are the best exercises and equipment to use to improve your balance.
If you want to make it more challenging (or increase your exercise options), you can combine tools.
For example, you can do kettlebell deadlifts on a Bosu ball.
Or you can strap a band around your waist and do overhead presses with a medicine ball. Or you can wear a weighted vest and do push-ups on a balance board.
The options are endless! You just have to put some creativity into it.
Are these tools you would use to improve your balance? And what’s your favourite balance exercise? Let me know in the comments below.
P.S. If you’re struggling to improve in basketball, you may be training wrong.
This is why you need to check out my Old Man Game Activity Guide and Planner. They’re mobile activity guides that will help you work on your fundamentals and conditioning for basketball.