Basketball at the highest level has changed drastically over the past few decades.
Where games were once played with an inside-outside style of play, with pass-first guards like John Stockton and big men like Hakeem posting up, the current style is much faster.
The game is being played more in the open court with an emphasis on quick lay-ups/dunks and is now littered with deadly 3pt shooters, forcing defenders to close-outs further and further.
It is now more dynamic to play than ever before.
Obviously not everyone plays at the highest level, but the fact that basketball is a very physically demanding sport remains the same throughout all levels.
Luckily, this blog is aimed at anyone who enjoys playing basketball.
Whether your goal is to reach the highest level and want to know more about supplementation or if you want to be able to properly run out a game at your local sport centre, there is a supplement perfect for you.
Creatine Monohydrate to aid basketball performance
Whether it is watching Zion Williamson sending a shot into the fifth row of the stands or Blake Griffin throwing down a huge alley-oop, in basketball it pays to be explosive.
Now there is no supplement that’ll give you a 40-inch vertical or a four second court sprint over night, but there is a supplement that helps with explosive movements.
Creatine is a supplement that directly effects the ATP system of the body, which is used for anaerobic movements such as running and jumping.
Countless studies have shown how effective Creatine supplementing is at improving athletic performance.
Creatine encourages increases to muscle mass, muscular endurance and improves cognitive function.
It’s easy to see how a supplement like Creatine could help basketball players.
Creatine can be taken before a game or training and is a great supplement when combined with a plyometric workout routine.
Whey Protein Hydrolysate to speed up recovery
After training or a game, the body needs to be refuelled and it needs the right fuel to do so.
Although, a large big mac meal is delicious, it probably isn’t the best choice.
However, Hydrolysed Whey Protein however, is a good choice and it directly supports muscle recovery. I use Bulk Nutrients’ Hyper Hydrolyse.
It contains all 20 amino acids needed to build muscle, is high in protein and is rapidly absorbed by the body, with 70% entering the muscles within 15 minutes of consumption.
Pair it with a banana for some carbs and this makes a perfect after game or training snack that’ll help aid with recovery and encourage lean muscle growth.
Electrolytes to replenish nutrients lost in sweat
Anyone who has tried to run or jump on cramping legs knows, it’s completely debilitating.
Cramping affects everyone, from NBA superstar LeBron James to that big guy on your local social team that can’t rebound and only shoots corner threes…
However, it can be easily prevented.
There are four minerals that the body loses through sweat: Potassium, Magnesium, Sodium and Calcium, they are also known as electrolytes.
Taking an electrolyte supplement before and even during a training or a game can significantly reduce the likelihood of cramps.
Combine it with some carbs to replenish the glycogen stores in your muscles and some fruit flavouring and you’ve just created BN Electrolyte Plus!
Branched Chain Amino Acids to help fuel your muscles as you play
Quick Quiz: What do all these names have in common?
Lebron, Wade and Bosh… Steph, Kevin and Klay... Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine.
If you said “are they all examples of great big threes”- then you’re correct!
Leucine, Isoleucine and Valine are the three amino acids that form Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs), they’re also essential amino acids meaning the body doesn’t naturally produce them, they can only be obtained through diet.
Your muscles rely on BCAAs to help preserve glycogen store for fuel and they play an important role in muscle growth by stimulating muscle protein synthesis.
They also reduce muscle soreness, muscle fatigue and prevent muscle wastage.
Bulk Nutrients’ BCAA Recovery also includes Citrulline Malate which helps with blood flow and Potassium and Sodium two electrolytes lost in sweat.
Pairing BCAA and electrolyte supplements together make for a great combo to keep your muscles fuelled and body hydrated.
ZMA ensures a good night’s sleep and faster recovery
Unfortunately for most of us, the only place we can throw down a nasty tomahawk dunk on the other team’s tallest player is in our dreams.
Although this isn’t necessarily a bad thing because good sleep is crucial to maximising athletic performance.
Bad sleep can cause you to be sluggish and lack focus, hinders recovery, and makes you more irritable; meaning you’re more likely to hypocritically yell at your teammates for not boxing-out.
Also qualifying as a big three, ZMA is a combination of Magnesium L-Aspartate, Zinc Picolinate and Vitamin B6 and can help improve the quality of sleep.
Magnesium and Zinc are lost through sweat and replenishing the levels of these minerals helps the body to produce the hormone testosterone, which is directly linked with muscle mass and weight loss.
With additional benefits of boosting the immune system and enhancing mood, Bulk Nutrients’ ZMA Capsules are an all-round great product that all athletes can benefit from.
Pre-workout delivers sustained energy to power training and games
Ever been in the NBA finals; four seconds left on the clock, tied game, your team is shooting free-throws, the shot misses, you grab the rebound right under the ring and instead of scoring the ball to win, you dribble the clock out and then lose in over-time?
Yeah me neither.
However, having a lapse in focus during a game of basketball can be costly at any level.
Whether it’s a late-night game or you just need a little boost, a pre-workout supplement can help get you switched on and ready to play.
My personal recommendation is Bulk Nutrients’ Cognitone, I take it half an hour before I have to play, and it helps me stay alert the whole game.
The hit of energy is not as intense as other pre-workouts, there is no crash and the metal focus effects seem to last longer than a typical “gym” pre-workout.
Hydrolysed Collagen Peptides helps with joint injury prevention and muscle building
One of the most common injuries seen in basketball is a knee injury, and the best way to bounce back from one of those is to fly to Germany and get on an expensive Regenokine program like Kobe did…
If this is a little bit out of your price range, there is a more affordable solution that is proven to be effective.
Collagen peptides are the most abundant protein in your body and has multiple uses in the body.
A Hydrolysed Collagen Peptides (HCP) supplement can help maintain the density of your cartilage, strengthens joints and bones and can help alleviate joint pain after exercise.
This makes HCP one of the best supplements for injury prevention while also helping to build muscle.
But wait there’s more, it helps strengthen hair and nails, keeps skin hydrated and promotes a heart health… Which expensive German knee surgery does not!
Joints Capsules support healthy joints and cartilage
Much like a 6’10” athletic forward who plays good defence and can shoot the 3, Joint Complex is versatile and pairs well with all the supplements on this list.
There is a reason I have two joint health supplements back-to-back and it’s because keeping the cartilage around the joints strong and flexible is so important for the longevity of your basketball career.
Joints Capsules contain three ingredients MSM, Glucosamine and Chondroitin, which all play a role in promoting healthy joints. *insert overdone big three joke here…*
Glucosamine and Chondroitin are both found in the cartilage around joints and share similar functions in the body as they both help build and repair cartilage.
MSM helps to relieve joint pain, reduces inflammation and boosts immunity.
The best way to enjoy basketball is pain and injury free and really looking after your joints can ensure you are playing and not watching from the sidelines.
My final tips on supplementing for basketball
Supplements are a great way to help you get the most out of all the effort you put in training and can help you perform to the best of your abilities.
Whether you’re playing at the top level in the NBA or Europe or in a social roster averaging 12pts a game like I do, there is always room for improvement and supplements can really help along the way.