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Thread: gaining weight for basketball

  1. #1
    Wannabebig Member
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    gaining weight for basketball

    I'm 20 5'8 or 5' 9" and currently a sad 145 lbs...

    I'm probably an ectomorph and I have a hard time keeping weight on. When I do sit at about 155-162 lbs which is probably when I feel stronger I lose quickness. My vertical always stays about 30- 32 in. even from the time I was 5' 7" 135lbs (my base weight without lifting) my frosh year in HS in 2003-04. In fact I may have even jumped a little higher then. So even as I have gained 20 lbs of muscle at 5-8% body fat my vert stays the same or decreases. I get faster and stronger but my explosiveness and agility goes down.

    I don't seem to be physically maturing very quickly and I look about 17 yrs old right now. Not a problem though because my dad has always looked about 10 yrs younger than he really is and didn't stop growing till his mid twenties. Doctors have always said I'll top out at 5' 10" or 5' 11" so not too worried.

    Anyway my question is, how can I keep weight on while maintaining quickness and increasing explosiveness? I'm very quick and have good basketball speed but everytime I start to run playing ball I drop 10-12 lbs... I start to look really lean. I'm super shredded but too lean.
    Even if I eat the same amount of food which is a hella of a lot anyway. Just looking for some lifting and eating tips for bball. When I bodybuild I gain weight but lose much agility.

  2. #2
    195 lb. endurance geek Willie's Avatar
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    My first question is:
    What is your goal?

    If it is to improve your game or get bigger, you're in luck because either of those is a simple (as opposed to "easy") fix.

    However, if you want to get bigger AND improve your game, well you're dealing with a much more complex formula.

    Think of it this way:
    Strength adds power.
    Lifting weights builds strength.
    Lifting can add mass.

    However, the size gained doesn't always result in a positive power-to-weight ratio, as you have seen. It's called relative strength, which for an athlete not involved in strength sports, is the most important kind.

    Powerlifters need pure strength, and they generate huge amounts of power.
    Very often, they are large guys. Their power-to-weight, however, is lower.
    A 200 Lb power lifter that can deadlift 400 lbs has a greater power-to-weight ratio than a 300 lb powerlifter that can deadlift 500 lbs., even though the guy that lifts 500 lbs. has more pure strength.

    Stronger is always better (for any sport).

    Bigger, on the other hand, is not always better for athletes involved in sports that require locomotion because it's not always relatively stronger.

    In order to get bigger and have the strength from that size work for you (as a basketball player), you have to increase your strength enough to compensate for your gain size.

    You have to increase your power to weight ratio. There are two ways to do that:
    -Increase your strength to make up for your size, or
    -Decrease your weight, while maintaining your level of strength.

    I struggle with this (as a cyclist). It's pure physics: lower weight requires less strength to move. If I can increase my strength, and not my size, then I've increased my speed. (or in your case, jumping/running ability).

    Focus on getting stronger. In our case, that is training that creates a CNS adaptation that helps you recruit more of the muscle fibers that you already have for a particular event (i.e dunking a ball), rather than increasing their size.

    See, when you jump for a dunk, for instance, you're muscles recruit only enough fibers to get the job done, however, it recruits them at 100%. If you can adapt your body to recruit a greater percentage of muscle fibers, you can weigh more or jump higher.

    For us, it's not as simple as more muscle = more strength, because we're not talking about pure strength, but relative strength.

    Once you get maximum strength gains, size will come, but as long as you focus on maintaining strength and speed, you shouldn't see an attendant drop in either, even though you are increasing muscle mass.

    Does this makes sense to you?

    You must decide what you want, and train for that.

    good luck.
    Last edited by Willie; 08-21-2008 at 09:13 AM.
    "This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time."
    -Tyler Durden

  3. #3
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    yes willie that makes a lot of sense. I don't gain weight easily so I don't think it should be too hard to increase my power input by increasing my strength without gaining too much weight. I've found as I lost the 10 lbs I haven't lost much strength.

    Should I be doing power lifting if I want to increase my strength, speed, quickness, leaping ability and overall athleticism? I'd like to develop all muscle groups equally so as not to create injury due to muscular imbalance. How do you train to prevent muscular imbalance in cycling? Bodybuilding offers this but does not necessarily increase your power output.

    I've bought the vertical jump bible earlier in the year but haven't used it yet due to focusing on other areas of my life. I'll give it a look maybe I'll find something in there.

    thanks again willie

  4. #4
    195 lb. endurance geek Willie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by purenikebball View Post
    I've found as I lost the 10 lbs I haven't lost much strength.
    Right, but you also need to be cognizant of the type of "weight" you gain. I am making the assumption that you are gaining pure muscle, which isn't really the case, so you may have lost fat, which would actually show an increase in power-to-weight.

    Quote Originally Posted by purenikebball View Post
    Should I be doing power lifting if I want to increase my strength, speed, quickness, leaping ability and overall athleticism?
    Not necessarily. Since basketball is your primary focus, I would say to focus on the technical aspects of basketball, practice drills that stimulate the CNS for those activites. I'm not a basketball player, so I can't tell you what drills those should be.

    I would then recommend that you ADD some weight training for strength.

    Not bodybuilding, which implies mass/size gain, and not necessarily a strict powerlifter routine.

    Be aware, though, that no exercise in the gym can replace sport-specific training. Weight training is a great addition to basketball training, but it is not a short-cut.

    Quote Originally Posted by purenikebball View Post
    I'd like to develop all muscle groups equally so as not to create injury due to muscular imbalance. How do you train to prevent muscular imbalance in cycling? Bodybuilding offers this but does not necessarily increase your power output.
    Right, bodybuilding is just that, "BODY" building. It is hard work, but it is not applicable to basketball (or cycling).

    As for training to reduce "muscular imbalance," if you mean muscular SIZE, the answer is: I don't.

    My legs are disproportionately larger to my upper body because of the cycling. I don't care. They got that big because they need to be to put out the power needed. While I can still do 20 pull-ups, my arms are not really "balanced" (in a bodybuilder's sense) to my legs.

    However, since basketball requires use of arms more so than cycling, you will probably find that you become more proportionate (in size) than me.

    That said, I do use a full-body routine to attempt to increase my _strength_ as equally as possible (which is a pipe dream because my legs will always win due to the cycling.)

    Quote Originally Posted by purenikebball View Post
    I've bought the vertical jump bible earlier in the year but haven't used it yet due to focusing on other areas of my life. I'll give it a look maybe I'll find something in there.
    That's probably a good idea. I'm guessing there's stuff in there on plyometric training and other stuff like that.

    Give this article a read, and poke around over there at Dragon Door to see what else you can find that might help.


    Quote Originally Posted by purenikebball View Post
    thanks again willie
    no worries.

    -willie
    Last edited by Willie; 08-21-2008 at 06:34 PM.
    "This is your life, and it's ending one minute at a time."
    -Tyler Durden

  5. #5
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    At 5'9 I'd focus on agility, a great shot and a lightning quick first step. Of course you should try to get stronger and larger, but for your height it's best not to sacrifice your quickness; even if you'd be able to post up a 6'6" player down in the post it still comes down to height. Speed is your best weapon; if you have it, capitalize on it and work on your ball handling.

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