Prevent Common Basketball Injuries With These Exercises | STACK

Prevent Common Basketball Injuries With These Exercises

February 21, 2013 | Joe Giandonato

Must See Basketball Videos

A well-rounded basketball training program incorporates preventative measures to ward off injuries that are prevalent in the sport. This is critical to your success on the court and to have a long and healthy career. (Create the perfect routine with The Keys to Basketball Training.)

Youth basketball players commonly sustain lower-leg injuries, hand injuries and concussions. Therefore, you should focus your injury prevention programs on these areas of the body. Fortunately, investing time in your health during your training can prevent these injuries, or at least reduce their severity. Incorporate the following exercises into your basketball-training program to help stave off injury.

Ankle and Knee Health

Knee Taps to Wall

This exercise prevents a loss of ankle dorsiflexion (toe to knee movement) from forcing you to wear restrictive bracing and mid- or high-top sneakers. A loss of dorsiflexion will typically trigger compensatory knee valgus and hip internal rotation as well as foot pronation.

Pair with: Squat, Deadlift or Lunge

  • Assume a shoulder-width stance with your feet staggered heel to toe and your front foot an inch or two away from a wall
  • Shift your front knee forward over your second and third toes to gently touch the wall; keep your feet firmly planted
  • Shift back to the starting stance

Sets/Reps: 2x15-20 each leg

Glute Bridge With Band Abduction

This exercise establishes pelvic control and prevents internal hip rotation to prevent knee injuries. It also serves as a valuable adjunct to horizontal pressing performance, as it encourages a rigid pelvis and leg drive.

Pair with: Barbell or Dumbbell Bench

  • Lie on your back and place an elastic band around both thighs, slightly above your knees
  • Bend your knees and plant your heels directly under your knees, keeping them hip-width apart
  • Engage your core and drive your heels into the ground to extend your hips toward the ceiling
  • Simultaneously drive your knees outward
  • Hold this position for one second
  • Lower and repeat

Sets/Reps: 2x15-20

Wrist and Hand Health

Plate Pinches

This exercise strengthens the muscles of the hand and forearm to improve grip strength. Basketball players are often plagued by wrist, hand and finger injuries throughout the course of the season, so grip work is essential.


As it pertains to improving performance, a stronger grip usually equates to better ball handling and fewer turnovers. In the gym, a stronger grip recruits more muscle fibers during lifts, helping increase your overall strength and size.

Pair with: lower-body, core or mobility exercises (without holding a weight)

  • Grab two or three five- to 10-pound plates with both of your hands
  • Pinch the plates together with the tips of your fingers
  • Keep your chest up and shoulders back
  • Gently lower the plates to the floor after specified time

Sets/Duration: 2x15-30 seconds

Concussion Prevention

Given the speed at which basketball is played, contact to the head is possible at any time. It's important to strengthen your neck muscles so they can absorb force and limit the amount transferred to your head. This may not prevent a concussion outright, but it may limit its severity.

In addition, training your neck will improve your posture. Taller athletes tend to look down frequently, creating tight and weak muscles. Neck exercises develop strength around the entire neck, eliminating imbalances that can create postural issues.

Seated Single-Arm Dumbbell Shrug

  • Sit on a bench holding dumbbell at your right side with your palm facing in
  • Keeping your arm straight, slightly turn your chin toward the right and shrug your shoulder to your ear
  • Hold for one second
  • Relax your shoulder and turn your head to the center
  • Repeat and perform set on opposite shoulder

Sets/Reps: 2-3×10-15 each side

Four-Way Neck

Neck Extension

  • Sit in a neck machine and place the crown of your head on the pad
  • Look up and slowly extend your neck so the tip of your nose is pointed at the ceiling; pause briefly
  • Slowly return to starting position

Manual Isometric Neck Flexion

  • Sit in a neck machine and place your forehead on the pad
  • Flex neck so your chin touches your sternum; pause briefly
  • Slowly return to starting position

Lateral Isometric Neck Flexion

  • Sit in a neck machine and place the side of your head on the pad
  • Flex your neck to the side to bring your ear as close as possible to your shoulder; pause briefly
  • Slowly return to starting position; perform set on opposite side

Sets/Reps: 2x8-12 each exercise


Joe Giandonato
- Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. He has authored numerous articles on a...
Joe Giandonato
- Joe Giandonato, MS, CSCS, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Germantown Academy in Fort Washington, Pa. He has authored numerous articles on a...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How to Train With Shin Splints

Photo: Racetri Shin splints are one of the most common injuries among runners. They are characterized by pain and inflammation along the inside of the...

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

How to Protect Yourself From Heat Stroke This Summer

3 Ways to Protect Your Knees and Prevent ACL Injuries

Get More Explosive With James Harden's Workout

How to Prevent Injuries With 3 Yoga Poses

Bulletproof Your Body with 5 Easy Injury Prevention Exercises

Tips for Working Out With a Hand or Arm Injury

Why Your Shin Splints Aren't Really Shin Splints

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

Basketball Prehab: Exercises for 4 Trouble Spots

Why a Sports Hernia Won't Ruin Jadeveon Clowney's Rookie Season

Tommy John Surgery 10 Times More Common Than a Decade Ago

Does Loss of Sleep Have Same Effects as Sports Head Injuries?

4 Exercises to Fix Bad Posture and Help You Move Better

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

3 Causes of Recurring Hamstring Injuries

The Best Basketball Sneakers of 2014

10 Essential Point Guard Drills From Skylar Diggins

3 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Hockey Injury

Why Strengthening This Muscle May Fix Knee Pain

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

5 Exercises to Prevent ACL Tears

WATCH: 5-Foot-2 Guard Drops 41 Points

Preparation Nation: DeMatha Stags

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

How to Improve Your Basketball Quickness in 5 Minutes

America's Tallest Basketball Player Commits to UCF

How to Avoid Softball Pitching Injuries

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

How Cristiano Ronaldo Can Defeat the Witch Doctor's Curse

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

Maintaining Your Lower-Body Strength After Tommy John Surgery

Under Armour Releases Veterans Day Kicks

How to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

What You Need to Know About Tiger Woods' Back Injury

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Greene's Lantern: Riding With 'Soul'

Get Tougher With Skylar Diggins' Bodyweight Workout

3 Reasons to Correct Your Weak Links to Prevent Common Injuries

VIDEO: Steph Curry's Absurd Long-Range Shot

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

Will Joel Embiid Be Able to Succeed in the NBA?

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

Basketball Recruits: What You Should Do in November

Nike Basketball Officially Unveils the Nike Kyrie 1

Air Jordan Debuts NBA Opening Night Kicks

Preparation Nation: Hoover Buccaneers Basketball

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

Preparation Nation: Bishop Gorman Basketball

How Skylar Diggins Became the Future of the WNBA

The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders

Should Pitchers Ice After Throwing to Prevent Shoulder Injuries?

The New Rules for Cryotherapy: Why You're Icing Wrong

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout


How to Bench Press With a Shoulder Injury