Basketball Prehab: Exercises for 4 Trouble Spots

STACK Expert Layton Westmoreland recommends 8 basketball prehab exercises you can perform to prevent injuries on the court.


The basketball season causes long-term wear and tear on an unprepared athlete. Some players spend their entire careers on injury road, in and out of training rooms with ankle, hip and shoulder problems, while others are out on the court improving their craft.

What separates the non-injured from the injured?

Sometimes it's genetics. Some athletes may be more prone to injury due to their body mechanics, limb length, muscle density, etc. For others, it's their dedication to basketball prehab exercises.

RELATED: Injury Prevention for the Ankles and Knees

What is Prehab?

Prehab is the process of improving mobility, flexibility and strength to reduce injuries in troublesome areas. There are four main trouble areas for basketball players.

  • Shoulders
  • Hips
  • Ankles
  • Knees

The exercises below strengthen those problem areas.

Shoulders - Scapula Retractors

  1. Scapular Push-Ups (from knees) - Starting on all four with your knees under your hips and your hands directly under your shoulders, keep your shoulders low and maintain your posture by keeping your core tight. Slowly drop your body to the ground and bring your shoulder blades together. Hold and return to starting position. This benefits shoulder function and posture and reduces risk of injury.
  2. Scapular Push-Ups (full progression) Starting in a push-up position with your hands directly under your shoulders and arms extended, repeat the above exercise. This is a more advanced progression.

Hips - Hip Flexors, Hip Extensors, Hip Abductors and Hip Adductors

  1. Forward Leg Swings - Put your hands against the wall with your arms extended and swing one leg forward, then backward. Make sure your anchored foot is flat and stationary. Maintain good posture with minimal movement.
  2. Horizontal Leg Swings - Put your hands against the wall with your arms extended and swing your leg back and forth parallel to the wall, keeping your anchor foot down and maintaining good posture with minimal movement.

Ankles - Achilles Tendon, Mobility of Ankle

  1. Alphabet - Stand, raise one foot and trace the alphabet with your toes.
  2. Alphabet (with band) - While sitting, place a resistance band around your foot and grab the ends in your hands. Keeping your leg extended, pull  the band toward you to add resistance and trace the alphabet with your toes

Knees - Quadriceps, Hamstring and Calf Muscles

  1. Band Squats - Place a resistance band around your knees and stand with your feet shoulder-width apart with your toes forward. Squat while keeping your knees wide, pushing against the bands. Return to a standing position.
  2. Band Walks - Place a resistance band around your ankles and another around your knees. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart in an athletic position (hips low, chest up, on balance) and take small steps laterally in both directions while maintaining your athletic position.

Do these exercises in addition to a normal training regimen on your off days or for pre-practice or pre-training.

If you feel any excessive pain while performing these exercises, please consult a doctor before continuing the program.

RELATED: Basketball Strength Training for Beginners


Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock

Topics: BASKETBALL TRAINING | PREHAB | MOBILITY | EXERCISE | INJURY | POSTURE | SWING | SCAPULAR | GOOD POSTURE