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Play Better

Jump Out of the Gym

Jonathan Daniel / Getty Images

Basketball players often say, "I am a one foot jumper" or "I am a two foot jumper." But which is better? To be a complete player, you must be able to perform both, because different situations dictate a different take-off style.

Besides, running is a single-leg activity. Each propulsive stride in filling the lane on a fast break requires a powerful push, while landing from a jump can be unstable onto one leg. For this reason, single-leg strength and power is important not just for performance, but also for staying safe on the court.

Many players overlook single-leg strength because it must be developed off the court to be integrated on the court, and most weight room exercises, such as leg extensions, leg curls, leg presses, and squats, are typically performed with two legs.

To improve single-leg strength, jump higher, and become a more complete player, begin by performing single-leg exercises like the ones demonstrated below, as well as plyometrics.

Squat - Single-Leg Balance

Romanian Deadlift - Single Leg

Darryl Eto is the Director of Strength & Conditioning for the Houston Rockets. As a former senior performance specialist at Athletes' Performance, he's worked with high school, college, and pro athletes in his 25-year career.

Tags: Basketball, Lower Body, Plyometrics, Lower Body Push, Sports Performance