Do you feel "tight" before basketball games?
Does it take you a couple minutes into the game to finally get warmed up?
One of the reasons that you might be feeling tight or not as physically ready when playing basketball might be due to not warming up. Warming up is a general term that we tend to use for athletes when they are getting their body ready for sports. However, a complete warm up is comprised of multiple components such as static/dynamic stretching, muscular activation and movement preparation drills. Today we will focus on the dynamic stretch component of a complete warm up.
These are five of our favorite dynamic stretches that a basketball player can perform prior to getting on the court.
Adductor Rockback with Thoracic Rotation Stretch
The groin muscles are commonly injured when playing basketball. For example, Chris Paul has several groin sprains throughout his career which has limited the ability to play in playoff games. The most recent groin injury occurred to Damian Lillard prior to this year's NBA All-Star game. Groin flexibility is crucial for any athlete and involves being able to take a big first step defensively or offensively. If the groin muscle is not as flexible as it should be the muscle will pull when you reach out laterally when defending a player.
Shin Box With Thoracic Rotation Stretch
The Shin Box Stretch or what other people may refer to as the 90/90 Stretch is a great dynamic stretch to improve your hip mobility. Hip mobility will allow you to sink in deeper when playing defense and be able to move laterally much easier. In other words it will allow you to "get low," something coaches always preach when teaching players how to play defense. We also add a reach with thoracic rotation which will help make this a more dynamic stretch and improve your thoracic (mid back) spine as well.
Half-Kneeling Quad Stretch with Rotation
The Rectus Femoris Stretch is a great drill to help improve your quad and hip flexor length. Improving the length of your rectus femoris, which is the muscle that crosses your hip and knee, will help decrease the risk for kneecap pain but also allows you to move easier from a squat position. We add a rotational component because it will help improve the hip flexor length and make it a more three-dimensional stretch.
Half-Kneeling Ankle Dorsiflexion
This stretch kills two birds with one stone for your lower body. This stretch allows you to stretch your groin muscles, which is important when playing defense. Defensive slides involve the athlete moving sideways, therefore the groin muscle must be flexible enough to allow that movement. We also address the ankle dorsiflexion range of motion which is huge for absorbing force and decreasing the risk for knee injuries.
Hamstring/Sciatic Nerve Glider
The Hamstring/Sciatic Nerve Glider is a great exercise to not only improve your hamstring flexibility but help with your sciatic nerve. A lot of hamstring tightness is not actually coming from the hamstring but from the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve comes from your low back and runs down the back of your leg all the way down to the bottom of your foot.
Try these dynamic stretches before your next basketball game or practice. These mobility drills will improve your performance and help you get a leg up on your opponent.
If you have any questions feel free to email me regarding dynamic mobility drills or stretches for basketball players.
Photo Credit: South_agency/iStock
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