Why Are Basketball Players Skinny? Top 3 Reasons

Many basketball players choose to be skinny to zip around the court. Gone are the days when basketball athletes oozed big and bulky muscles. Today, this sport is all about speed and precision.

After all, basketball is a fast-paced game, especially for the NBA. The professional basketball scene provides “edge of your seat” sports action wherein relatively anything can happen on the court. For example, underdog teams snatch seemingly impossible wins from top teams in the league. Consequently, star players may make common mistakes during climactic moments. Hence, basketball players always need to have an optimal physique for the sport.

Continue reading, and you’ll know the top three reasons why basketball players look skinny while maintaining healthy lifestyles.

basketball players skinny and fit


Although many basketball players look skinny, they are far from being unhealthy. Many athletes, particularly in the NBA, follow rigorous training programs to keep their health, physique, and athletic performance in top shape.

Here are the top reasons why basketball players maintain a healthy lifestyle:

1. Improve Muscular Endurance

improve muscular endurance


Generally, basketball requires players to achieve and maintain three athletic qualities: agility, stamina, and strength. Shooters need to reach a respectable distance from the hoop to have a higher-than-average chance at scoring. Blockers need to reach opposing players quickly, lest their teams lose points.

These quick and abrupt movements may put a high strain on the muscles. In turn, muscles become sore quickly, leading to a reduction in a basketball player’s overall performance on the court.

Following the right exercise regimen helps basketball players to build and maintain muscular endurance. Some exercises, like bodyweight squats, lunges, and pushups, help athletes improve muscle endurance over time. Doing so allows players to stay longer on the court without worrying about muscle pain surfacing quickly.

2. Improve Lean Body Mass


Large muscles, like those found in people vying for Mr. or Ms. Olympia titles, may not be ideal for fast-paced sports like basketball. Although bulky physiques may signify a healthy lifestyle, bulging biceps and thighs that can crush cans may not be ideal for running, jumping, and shooting in basketball courts.

Having a lean body mass may promote better performance for basketball players. These athletes may have biceps that seem minuscule compared to bodybuilders, but the lean arms won’t hinder the players from receiving passes or extending their arms to attempt three-point shots.

Consequently, most professional basketball players need only to stay skinny and fit during official seasons. Some athletes may want to use their free time binging in buffets or partying until dawn. But, these unhealthy choices may lead to loss of lean body mass, along with increasing the risk of a slew of health conditions.

On the other hand, many basketball players know the importance of building and maintaining their lean body mass. Keeping that healthy physique won’t only help those athletes in the court but the healthy lifestyle will also help them function properly doing seemingly menial tasks, such as carrying boxes and putting them on the top shelves.

3. Improve Self-Confidence

improve self-confidence

Psychological characteristics are also important, if not even more critical than physiological traits in basketball. Imagine a player lacking in self-confidence. If so, that athlete might have doubts about shooting the ball, despite that person having a clear shot. Those few microseconds wasted might be critical for the team as opposing players can snatch the ball quickly.

Following strict exercise programs, regardless if they’re on and off the basketball court, helps build self-confidence. The enhanced self-admiration won’t only be useful in giving positive vibes while looking at yourself in the mirror. Training the body helps boost self-esteem, which may lead to giving basketball teams award-winning shots.

One study reveals that exercise can help boost self-esteem and cognitive function. The researchers also state that regular physical activities promote other psychological health benefits, such as reducing anxiety and depression symptoms.

How do Basketball Players Achieve Lean Physiques?

lean physiques


Many people, regardless if they’re basketball fans or not, yearn for that beach-body-ready physique. But, that goal might be more challenging to achieve than usual without proper guidance.

Hence, here are five exercises basketball players do to achieve their fit figures:

1. Lateral Lunges


Lateral lunges target the legs and buttocks. But, why include this exercise in your training plan when other exercises already exist that target these body parts? First, lateral lunges involve the adductors to promote lean muscles to the inner thigh. Next, this exercise delivers less load on the knees than squats or regular lunges.

In basketball, players need to assume the starting position of lateral lunges countless times. In detail, it’s the sport’s standard defensive shuffling stance.

Here’s how to perform lateral lunges:

2. Glute Bridges

Glute Bridges


Have you wondered why many NBA players have appealing “behinds?” One reason is that these athletes perform glute bridges regularly.

This exercise promotes numerous benefits to athletes in basketball and relatively any other physically-active sports. Some of these advantages include improving posture, enhancing breathing, and developing strong legs.

Here’s how to perform glute bridges:

3. Romanian Deadlift (RDL)


Perhaps you already saw someone do RDLs at the gym, but they were doing this exercise with a barbell. But, it’s also possible to do it without weights.

The RDL is useful for basketball players as it develops jumping prowess. It builds leg strength, particularly in the hamstrings and glutes. Building these muscles promote explosive jumping power, which is crucial to achieving that crowd-pleasing dunk.

Although being a tall person is advantageous in basketball, it doesn’t mean that it’s impossible for people with shorter-than-average height. One case to prove that point is 5’5’’ Porter Maberry, who starred alongside a commercial for the Samsung Galaxy Note II with LeBron James.

With that in mind, here are the steps to perform the RDL properly:

4. Pullups



Many fitness enthusiasts dread the pullup because it can be one of the most challenging exercise to accomplish. However, many basketball players need to accomplish this exercise as it marks the existence of strong backs, shoulders, wrists, and lats.

Here’s how you can start doing pullups if you’re a complete beginner to it:


But, if you find yourself to be quite strong, you may not need a chair or surface to do assisted pullups. So, here are the steps to do regular pullups:

5. Front Squats


Also called the standard squat, the front squat promotes a solid base for basketball players. In particular, many NBA players need a strong base to avoid becoming outbalanced when a larger player comes crashing into them.

Here are the steps to do front squats:

Why do Basketball Players Have Skinny Legs?


Do you wonder what 6’5’’ Jamal Crawford, 6’11’’ Kevin Durant, and 6’9’’ Tayshaun Prince have in common? Aside from having excellent NBA careers, these basketball players tend to have skinny legs.

Tall basketball players tend to have long limbs that generally look skinny. Although many NBA players have “skinny leg syndrome,” these legs are far from weak. Long-legged athletes tend to run, sprint, and jump higher than their shorter peers, making them valuable assets in different teams.

Final Words – Reasons Basketball Players are Skinny


Many skinny basketball players still follow strict health regimens to help them develop and maintain healthy lifestyles. Despite their relatively thin statures, these athletes have advantages over their shorter peers because of their longer limbs.

Basketball players also follow stringent exercise routines, like front squats, RDLs, and pullups, to help them achieve lean muscle masses. In turn, moves like passing, rebounding, blocking, and, of course, shooting becomes easier to do than with large, bulging muscles.

Got Sports Questions? Search For In-Depth Answers Below!

Recently Published

Scroll to Top