Shortcuts in life: CliffsNotes, texting, microwavable meals. And here, Ray Ganong, the University of Louisville’s basketball strength and conditioning coach, offers one more to add to your list—a “shortcut stretch” that will quickly loosen your torso, hips and groin before you pump iron or hit the hardwood.
“Since basketball players have long limbs and cores,” Ganong explains, “they must develop rotational flexibility to increase speed and quickness—especially for their first two steps.” To recruit flexibility from your belly to your groin, Ganong advocates the Split-Leg Torso Rotation Stretch—a.k.a “The World’s Greatest Stretch,” since it demands lower body athleticism, stability, mobility and core rotation.
Split-Leg Torso Rotation Stretch
• Get in split-leg stance, with left leg forward and knee bent 90 degrees. Keep right leg straight
• With slight forward lean, drop left shoulder to inside of left knee, then place both hands on ground
• Maintaining balance, extend left arm toward sky as far as possible and rotate core to left; hold for 1 second
• Keeping leg position, slowly lower left hand to floor, then raise torso upright; hold for 1 second
• Repeat to opposite side for 1 rep
Sets /Reps: 5×1, every day
Ganong’s Tips: For all stretches, know your limits. Don’t compete with or compare yourself to a teammate. Success is a personal, gradual improvement // Don’t overstretch by stepping too far into your split-leg stance // Take your time and maintain balance when going into your rotation // The dominant side of your body will be more flexible; work on improving the weaker side.
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