Strength For Rebounding

Great rebounders don’t wait for the ball to come to them… they go get it. Strength for rebounding requires mobility and stability above your head in every direction. While general strength exercises are helpful for most athletes, basketball players need to train for the specific demands of their game.

The Overhead Shoulder Matrix was designed by the Gray Institute and is the perfect rebounding exercise for battling under the boards.


The Overhead Shoulder Matrix utilizes the fact that there are three planes of motion that your body has to be strong in: sagittal, frontal, and transverse.

We get boards in the sagittal plane when the ball is in front or behind us.

Rebounds are grabbed in the frontal plane when we side bend in the air.

We rebound in the transverse plane when we have to rotate to grab the ball.

As a general rule of thumb, basketball players should focus on total body exercises instead of isolation exercises in the weight room. The Overhead Shoulder Matrix strengthens all the muscle that link from your feet to your hands.

Here’s a quick video of my favorite rebounding exercise:


You’ll find that lifting weights directly above your head is a lot easier than lifting them in the frontal or transverse plane. Adjust your weights based off your personal strengths.

If this is your first time doing the Overhead Shoulder Matrix, choose lighter weights than you would normally use for a shoulder press.  Doing a warm-up set with 5 lb. dumbbells will allow you to get comfortable with the form.


Building your body for basketball starts with hard work and a properly designed basketball strength program. Commit to including basketball-specific movements into your training program.

Don’t feel like you have to throw away traditional exercises like the shoulder press or squat.  These are great foundational movements that are core to basketball training programs.  Just make sure to sprinkle in exercises like the overhead shoulder matrix to help your gains transfer to the court.

If you want to learn more about basketball-specific exercises, check out the blogposts, Get Quicker For Defense and Jump Higher Off One Foot.