This article will feature five different phases of a dynamic warm-up that should be incorporated into a successful warm-up for basketball.
The dynamic warm-up will be broken up into dynamic mobility, glute activation, core activation, agility activation and plyometric activation. Each of these five phases play a dynamic role in improving basketball performance.
Research has shown that dynamic flexibility, also known as mobility training, can improve sprinting speed, agility, vertical jump, and dynamic range of motion while reducing your risk for injury compared to static stretching.
In this dynamic phase of the warm-up, we begin by performing a Walking Lunge with Rotation. Begin at the baseline and perform a Forward Lunge and rotate toward the front leg. Repeat on both sides. These bilateral rotations help improve relative hip internal/external rotation.
The second mobility exercise is the Walking Lunge with Extension and Side Bend. While performing a Lunge, raise the basketball overhead and towards the stance leg. The extension and side bend are utilized to increase the dynamic stretch for the back leg’s hip flexor.
The last mobility exercise is the Inchworm into the World’s greatest stretch. Key point when performing this dynamic mobility exercise are to maintain a neutral spine while reaching out with the basketball for a dynamic hamstring stretch and following your hands with your eyes as you rotate your arm away from your body as you perform the world’s greatest stretch.
We recommend performing at least 4 repetitions on each side or beginning at the baseline and reaching up to at least the 3-point arc.
A proper glute activation warm-up will improve the glute to act as the primary hip extensors as opposed to the hamstrings. Activating the glutes will decrease dynamic knee valgus, foot pronation, femoral/tibial internal rotation and contralateral pelvic drop.
The first glute activation exercise is the multi-directional jab steps. Place one band at the ankle or forefoot and the other above the knees. Perform a jab step as quickly as possible and slowly return back to position to stress the glute eccentrically.
The second glute activation exercise is the fire hydrant while dribbling. While maintaining the two bands balance on one foot while extending, abducting and externally rotate your opposite hip while maintaining a neutral spine.
Perform all five directions twice on each leg for the multi-directional jab step. For the fire hydrant dribbles, we recommend performing for 10 seconds on each leg for 3 rounds.
The function of the core is to provide stability while moving your extremities (arms/legs). In this core activation warm-up we will focus on anti-rotation core stability.
The first core exercise is the Pallof Press with rotation. Beginning in an athletic position, walk out toward the free-throw line while resisting the rotational pull from the band. Upon reaching the free-throw line, push the ball out to increase the moment arm and add a rotation component while maintaining a neutral spine.
The second core exercise is a dynamic progression of the Pallof Press. You begin in the same position as described above; however, take a step and pivot to initiate a pass.
Perform five repetitions on each side.
This agility warm-up emphasizes movements and tasks that are performed when playing basketball.
Beginning on the baseline, sprint to the free-throw line, back pedal to baseline, sprint to the volleyball line, back pedal to the baseline, and finish off by sprinting to half court and back.
The second agility exercise is defensive slides in the key to mimic the defensive aspect of the basketball game. Begin in the middle of the key and perform defensive slides to each side of the key. Perform 2 rounds of 15 seconds.
The last agility exercise is going into chop steps into a defensive slide. Starting on the baseline, sprint to the free-throw line and perform chop steps into defensive slides. Perform one repetition onto each side.
In the plyometric phase of the basketball warm-up, we focus on introducing proper knee stability and a hip strategy to improve shock absorption and control the dynamic valgus seen during the landing phase of jumping.
We will go through two jumping drills that include single-leg jump to double-leg landing, and single-leg hop to single-leg landing. The key points for the landing are to bend the hips when landing, land softly and stick the landing by stabilizing the position.
We will also perform two variations of hoping to improve single leg stability. Perform the in and out hoping with dribbling by hopping with one foot in and out on the half court line while dribbling. Perform lateral hops with dribbling by hopping with one foot side to side on the half court line while dribbling.
Perform one round of this exercise from one side of the half court line to the other.
Try this five-phase basketball dynamic warm-up next time you get on the court to see an improvement in your performance.
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Reiman P Michael et al. “A literature review of studies evaluating glutes maximus and gluteus medius activation during rehabilitation exercises.” 2012.