Wrist and finger strength
No, no shooting medicine balls here. The two main mechanisms playing into your shot distance are fingertip and wrist strength—after all, ideal shooting form dictates that the ball rests on your fingertips and your elbow forms an ‘L’ shape. To improve the strength of both using only your body weight, fingertip pushups are very effective. Rather than supporting yourself with your palms, hold your body up on the pads of your fingers as you perform the chest exercise. For a greater challenge, set your arms further apart.
Upper arm strength
The French press exercise effectively mimics the movement of a shot across the court, and all you need are a barbell and a bench. Since the exercise isolates your upper arms’ muscle groups, don’t overload the bar. Lay back on the bench with your feet on the ground and your head hanging slightly over the end. Grasp the barbell with your palms away from your body and hold your arms straight and slightly away from your face. To perform a repetition, lower the bar towards your chest, bending only at the elbows until it nearly touches your forehead. Push back up to complete the rep. Perform three sets of 10, very gradually increasing weight as needed.
Rear foot elevated split squats (known as Bulgarian split squats in one breath) are an important single-leg exercise that can build strength extremely quickly. Before you begin, bear in mind that a tight core will keep any potential back pain at bay. To start, grab a single weight plate or dumbbell until you get your form down. Prop the shoelaces of your supporting foot on a 12” bench, then lower that knee to the ground. You should be in a position similar to a lunge, with the knee of your load-bearing leg bent at the knee. To perform a repetition, stand on your front foot, using the foot on the bench to balance you out. Lower your body back to the starting position until the knee is just behind the heel. Perform three sets of 10 weighted reps, switching legs with after every series. Add more free weights as you increase your strength.
Ideal jump shot release
Now, put it together. For long-range jumpers, focus on releasing a split-second before you reach the highest point of your leap to translate vertical thrust into force that carries the ball to its intended target. A good way to practice this release method is by intentionally shooting over the backboard from the charity stripe (if you intend to keep your ball, this works best indoors). This may seem counterproductive, but the shot forces you to leap to your maximum height while using your arms and core in sync. The control you build ultimately lets you dictate where the ball goes using your whole body while attempting a field goal, as opposed to just your arms.
Boosting distance accuracy
Adding distance to your shot will get you nowhere if you don’t also increase your accuracy. Don’t be fooled by the fact that this drill starts you off near the basket: ensuring correct shooting form is ingrained in your head is key to a consistent long-distance delivery. It’s also a good way to measure your effective range and strength. Start off almost underneath the basket, about three or four feet away, and start off by making 25 shots using only your dominant hand. Move out to six or eight feet, and complete another 25 keeping your feet on the ground, this time using your off-hand to balance the ball. Finally, sink another 25 from 12 feet out, using a jump to add distance. Over time, work your way back until every distance feels like 12 feet.