Why Do Basketball Players Have Big Shoulders?

Gone are the days and the notion that basketball players are skinny, in order to get strong there is some truth that a bigger muscle is a stronger muscle. In order to compete at the highest level in basketball, you must be strong which means you need to be on a workout regimen.

Why do basketball players have big shoulders? Basketball players have big shoulders due to years of working out with weights consistently while maintaining a strict diet that allows for building muscle and playing basketball at the same time. This could mean eating more calories than the body needs in order to put on weight while providing the muscles necessary fuel and growth. Genetics and body make up, play a role in how big and strong your muscles will grow.

Wait I thought basketball players are supposed to be skinny, maybe 30 years ago. Now that we have major research on the topic of workout and busting myths such as working out makes you slow or will ruin your jump shot, it is no question that weightlifting is needed but is a small piece of the bigger picture for an athlete to excel in his/her sport.

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Why do basketball players have big shoulders?

Why do basketball players have big deltoids?

The misconception of basketball players is that all players are slim or skinny. It is true that basketball players have a hard time putting on weight and building muscle due to the caloric deficit their body may be in.  A caloric deficit means that a player may have a hard time maintaining their current body weight or gaining muscle because they are not eating enough calories to maintain their current body weight due to the number of calories burned from exercise such as basketball. If you play competitive basketball for an hour straight you are burning anywhere from 400 to 1000 calories depending on how hard you are working your body.

Not only do you have to eat that many calories to maintain your current bodyweight but you also have to eat much more to gain some weight or muscle. It is not enough to just play basketball to build muscle, check out more on this topic called Can Basketball Build Muscle Click Here!

Basketball players you see on tv, on youtube, or anywhere else who are generally big and understand what it takes to build muscle. You don’t get big shoulders from eating whatever you want or working out whenever you feel like it. These players have worked out nonstop for most of their careers and the by-product of years of working out are big shoulders and deltoids.

How to get Shoulders like NBA players?

There’s no secret about it:

  • you must workout consistently.
  • You must avoid a caloric deficit by eating more.
  • You must change up your routine if you feel your body is adapting.
  • Genetics Helps

Working Out Consistently

When we talk about working out consistently, I don’t mean for the course of an offseason. We are talking about years of working out, there are basketball players if they don’t work out they feel awful from straying away, you really have to treat it as a part of your daily routine. 3 to 5 times a week should be sufficient while playing.

While during the in-season you want to maintain your gains from your offseason and decrease your volume so that you are not burned out or overtrained. Your body is excellent at adapting to the stress you place on it and it will get stronger but you also can’t overdo it. Progression is key while listening to your body is your best bet to peak performance during the in-season so that you are not sluggish or tired during the 4th quarter of the game when you need it most.

 Caloric Deficit

Now that you know what a caloric deficit is how much calories do you need to put into your body while you are working out and playing basketball. This is tough, but these are general guidelines.

For a 180lbs person, you need 20 calories per every pound. 180×20=3600, 

Now if you are playing basketball for 2 hours were looking at burning anywhere from 400 to 1000 calories you need to make up those calories just to maintain your weight. Adding the weight training and wanting to gain muscle on top of that your looking at 4000 -5000 calories a day.

Changing Up Your Workout Routine

During the in-season, you should keep your workout routine basic and to the point while maintaining current strength with less volume so you can be prime for your basketball games and practice.

But in the offseason, we know the body can adapt pretty quickly, and it would be wise to continue to change up your workout routine every month as to make sure the body continues to grow and get stronger. With the internet at our fingertips it is so easy to get lost in the number of programs and workout routines there are. Not only can you get lost the last thing you want to do is jump from routine to routine. You have to remember there is no magical formula, there is no quick fix for building huge muscles. you have to tell yourself you are in this for the long run.


Genetics is a disadvantage too many, not all people are gifted with the natural jumping ability or world-class sprinter speed while everything they touch they are good at, and every move they make looks effortless. But one thing that trump’s athletic ability is hard work.

Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.

I have seen this time and time again, players who play basketball or any sport are naturally gifted. They dominate the competition and can do anything they want on the field or court until they meet their match, realizing that everyone has caught up to them.

Apart from hard work is getting into the weight room and getting stronger, to get stronger involves putting on muscle mass also, which includes your diet, it is not difficult to figure out what you need to do but in reality a struggle to put into action.

Broadest Shoulders in the NBA?

It may be argued that Dwight Howard has the biggest shoulders in the NBA standing at 6 feet 11 and 265lbs. The former 3-time Defensive Player of the year shoulders was measured at 36 inches wide. No surprise considering he looks like he has two basketballs on his arms.

Dwight is genetically gifted, upon entering the NBA after being drafted out of high school, Dwight had a personal trainer and became more knowledgeable in training. It is no wonder his deltoids look the way they are. Many will argue that he’s on performance enhancement drugs, but I disagree, not only does the NBA test for it, have you ever noticed that a more defined muscle looks like a bigger muscle than it actually is. Food for thought.

Best Shoulder workout for basketball players?

There are so many routines and experienced trainers on the internet that I don’t want to be the one to offer you a program with limited knowledge of who you are, experience, and your weaknesses. I know what works for me, from trial and error, and years of working out. You may just be learning what works for you.

Below is a simple shoulder workout routine to help you get stronger, being strong is so beneficial on the basketball court, it will help you shoot with more ease allowing you to just aim more than focusing on how much power you need to get the ball to the rim, it will help with drawing contact on a layup and it will definitely help on defense.

The great part of this workout is if you don’t have the necessary weights, you can use some milk jugs with water in them or cans, you will totally underestimate these types of shoulder workouts and be sore I guarantee. Enjoy!

CLICK HERE! For the shoulder workout.



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