Strength & Conditioning for D1 Basketball

The following post is written by Nick Cipkus.  Nick works as the Social Media and Marketing Representative for Liberty Performance Training.  Please take a moment to visit his website at for insights on small business and sports performance!

It’s hard to believe basketball season is upon us once again. Division 1 College Basketball practice started on September 29th, while NBA teams started training camp on September 26th.

Sure, “official” practice is underway, but these basketball players have been grinding for several months in preparation for the wear and tear of the season. There used to be a myth that lifting weights was bad for basketball players. There were “claims” it effected your shot, disrupting your touch on the basketball.  This has been debunked by research and players such as Lebron James who consistently lift weights.

Brighton Hill is the Head Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Arkansas State Men’s Basketball Team.   He is also a Cleveland native, like myself.   I asked Brighton about preparing his basketball team for the upcoming season, tips for youth and high school basketball players, and some of his favorite core exercises.

Liberty Performance Training: Basketball season is right around the corner. What are you doing with your program to get them ready?

Brighton Hill:  I became the Director of Strength and Conditioning for Men’s Basketball at Arkansas State in March.  I set the bar of expectations for our Culture and what we are looking for in our program. The Culture of our team is conceived, born and raised in the weight room.

From a programming standpoint, Summer Phase 1 and Summer Phase 2 was a 4 day split

Upper Body –Monday

Lower -Tuesday




During the preseason, our workout schedule was MondayWednesday, and Friday.We completed full body lifts on these three days.  Tuesday and Thursday we conducted agility and conditioning training. It was required to pass our conditioning test in order to be allowed to begin in-season practice starting Friday September 29th.

Liberty Performance Training: What are 3 tips for High School and Youth Basketball Coaches they can use to prepare for their season?

Brighton Hill: Three tips for High School and Youth basketball coaches to help prepare them for the season include . . .

A. Build your team Culture through Strength and Conditioning.

B. Keep things KISS “Keep It Simple Sweet.”

C. Teach mental and physical toughness.

D.  Don’t allow anything to be easy. They have to EARN their right to play. Strip away entitlement and EGO!

Liberty Performance Training: What are your 4 favorite core exercises to perform with your basketball players?

Brighton Hill:  My 4 favorite core exercises to perform definitely starts with an old school buddy sit up. One guy lays down in sit up position while another guys steps on his feet. The guy doing sit ups MUST lock their hands behind his or her head the entire time. We’ll go 70 sometimes 100 sit-ups completely locked out.

My second favorite core exercise are weighted plate rotations.  We use anywhere from a 25lb-45 lb plates. They typically perform between 100 and 200 plate rotations, each touch counts as one. Feet are up and crossed as they conduct movement.

The next exercise is the medicine ball side toss. We do  4×10 side tosses on each side to a partner.

Standing med ball slams very aggressive and explosive engaging their core thru the slam.. I also REALLY like a weighted DB full sit up with anywhere from a 35lb to 60lb DB. Reps range depending on weight.

Big thanks to Brighton for taking some time to sit down and speak with us.  We will definitely be keeping an eye on your basketball team this season. Good luck!

Take a moment and follow Brighton on Twitter at @Brighton_Hill.