Sports Medicine

, Volume 39, Issue 7, pp 547–568 | Cite as

Physical Attributes, Physiological Characteristics, On-Court Performances and Nutritional Strategies of Female and Male Basketball Players

  • Gal Ziv
  • Ronnie LidorEmail author
Review Article


This article reviews a series of studies (n = 51) examining physical attributes, physiological characteristics, on-court performances and nutritional strategies of female and male elite basketball players. These studies included relevant information on physical and physiological variables, such as height, weight, somatotype, relative size, aerobic profile, strength, anaerobic power, agility and speed. Six main findings emerged from our review: (i) differences in physical attributes exist among playing positions and skill levels (e.g. guards tend to be lighter, shorter and more mesomorphic than centres); (ii) maximum aerobic capacity (V̇O2max) values of female and male players are 44.0–54.0 and 50–60mLO2/kg/min, respectively; (iii) male and female players of higher skill levels tend to have higher vertical jump values; (iv) the more skilled female and male players are faster and more agile than the less skilled players; (v) guards tend to perform more high-intensity movements during game play compared with forwards and centres; and (vi) a water deficit of 2% of bodyweight can lead to reduced physical and mental performance during an actual game. Five limitations associated with the testing protocols used in the studies are outlined, among them the lack of a longitudinal approach, lack of tests performed under physical exertion conditions, and lack of studies using a time-motion analysis. In addition, three practical recommendations for the basketball coach and the strength and conditioning coach are presented. It is concluded that the data emerging from these studies, combined with the knowledge already obtained from the studies on physical and physiological characteristics of elite basketball players, should be applied by basketball and strength and conditioning coaches when planning training programmes for elite basketball players.


Anaerobic Threshold Ventilatory Threshold Vertical Jump Bench Press Basketball Player 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to thank Dinah Olswang for her editorial assistance during the preparation of this manuscript. No sources of funding were used to assist in the preparation of this review, and the authors have no conflicts of interest that are directly relevant to the content of this review.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Zinman College of Physical Education and Sport SciencesWingate InstituteNetanyaIsrael
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael

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