Run Suicides

Improve Cardio for Basketball with Suicides

The suicide running drill is one the best basketball conditioning workouts you can do, especially when you basketball-ify it.

I was in middle school when I first learned what suicides were.

My gym teacher (or basketball coach, I don’t quite remember) made us do them as a warm-up in this one class.

At first, I didn’t know what they were. But my teacher explained the steps and I understood.

The point of the drill, from my understanding back then, is basically, you have to attempt to kill yourself.

“Whoa, what?!” you’re probably saying in your head.

Why, yes. You read that correctly. You’re supposed to run until you’re sooo tired that you can’t get up. The point of this drill is to improve your cardio.

(Oh, I get why you were shocked now. Anywhoo…)

What are Suicides?

Suicides is a running drill where you have to run different lengths of the basketball court each lap. It’s usually a medium-intensity running drill, but can also be used as a light cardio workout (i.e. jogging), similar to jump roping.

It’s great for conditioning cardio, especially in small spaces. The reason why is that you have run to a certain point, run back to the starting point, and then run to the next point (that’s further away) and then back (and so forth and so forth).

And you just keep doing this until you’re completely drained (or for a certain amount of time). You have to pull deep, mentally, to reach your desired goal or to complete the drill.

Also, suicides are a good drill for working on stopping and going, and quickly changing directions.

This was probably one of my favourite drills back then. I still do it every now and then in my backyard or at the park.

The Benefits of Running Suicides

Aside from it being fun, suicides are also a good exercise to trick yourself into running long distances.

Since you’re running in a straight line, just going back and forth, you don’t actually know the distance of your run. This makes you feel like you’re not running that far and so you don’t dread the distance.

But if you were to go running around the neighbourhood, for instance, the distance would psyche you out because you won’t see the end of the path.

With suicides, you’ll see the other side of the gym or the yard. So your brain thinks it just has to move your body for a short distance.

This is how easily our brains can be persuaded!

Additionally, this drill is also great for speed workouts. And with a little tweaking, can also be a good basketball footwork workout.

How to Run Suicides


So, here’s how to run suicides:

  1. Start on the baseline
  2. Run to the free-throw line (or first cone) and bend down to touch the line. Then, run back to the baseline and touch it before running the next suicide line.
  3. Run to the three-point line (or second cone), touch it, and return to the baseline.
  4. Run to the half-court line (or third cone), touch it, and return to the baseline.
  5. Run to the opposite three-point line (or fourth cone), touch it, and run back to the starting baseline.
  6. Run to opposite free-throw line (or fifth cone), touch it, and return.
  7. Run to the opposite baseline (or sixth cone), touch it, and run back.
  8. That’s one lap. Now repeat it for the number of desired laps.

When running these, keep in mind that you have to touch each checkpoint with your hand.

You can’t just step on the line. You have to crouch down and touch the point before heading back.

This will make the drill a bit more challenging, but it can improve your coordination, balance, and footwork.

Additionally, you don’t have to sprint. You can, but you don’t have to. You can use this drill to just run or jog in a small space.

How to Turn Suicides into Basketball Drill

If you want to turn suicides into a basketball-specific drill, you can substitute one (or more) of the laps with defensive lateral slides and/or grapevines.

You can also run to each checkpoint as if you were closing out and pretend that you’re contesting a shot. You can also do the Kobe Defensive Suicide Drill as an alternative.

You can also dribble a ball and do different combos as you run suicides.

There are a bunch of customizations you can do with this drill. You just have to get creative with it to make this your ultimate basketball drill.

I will add, however, that the best cardio workout for basketball is still to play basketball (you can read why here).

But suicides are a great substitute (especially when you basketball-ify it).

Final Thoughts

Suicides are a fresh, fun way to work on your cardio.

You can do it in a small space and can customize it however you want to meet your goals. It’s an easy drill that will benefit many basketball players.

So, start doing suicides to improve your cardio and stamina for basketball.

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