The Ultimate Basketball Warm-Up

STACK Expert Ramon Williams offers a cure for pre-game muscle tightness with the ultimate basketball warm-up.

Basketball Warm-Up

Athletes, have you ever begun a practice or game with your muscles feeling cold or stiff? Coaches, have your athletes ever complained of tightness or muscle pulls within the first half hour of practice? These issues are usually the result of an insufficient basketball warm-up before performing high intensity drills. (See 5 Ways Athletes Screw Up Their Warm-Ups.)

Preparation is everything. Preparing for practice and games with the proper warm-up can have a positive impact on your performance. The ultimate basketball warm-up uses a combination of stationary and movement exercises. Muscle activation and dynamic stretching stimulate blood flow to the muscles primarily used during basketball. This warm-up will enhance performance and reduce the risk of injury.

Below is the 15-minute basketball warm-up, including the recommended number of sets, reps and distances for each movement. The warm-up is designed to be done with little or no rest between exercises. (For other intense basketball warm-up variations, see The Ultimate Basketball Kettlebell Warm-Up and Memphis Grizzlies' Active Stretching Routine.)

Basketball Warm-Up

Phase 1: Stationary and Movement

  • Jumping Jacks: 10 reps
  • Seal Jacks: 10 reps
  • Front stationary lunges: five each leg
  • Jumping Jacks: 10 reps
  • Seal Jacks: 10 reps
  • Side Lunges: five each leg
  • Jumping Jacks: 10 reps
  • Seal Jacks: 10 reps
  • Reverse Lunges: five each leg
  • Pogo Jumps for height: two sets of 10 reps
  • Forward Skips for height: half court and back
  • Wideouts: two sets of 15 reps
  • Side Shuffle: half court and back
  • Backward Cycle: half court and back

Phase 2: Muscle Activation

  • Single Leg Glute Bridge: 10 each leg
  • Supine Leg Raise: 10 each leg
  • Alternating Arm and Leg Supermans: 10 each side
  • Prone Scorpions: five each side
  • Quadruped Forward Hip Circles: 10 each leg
  • Quadruped Backward Hip Circles: 10 each leg

Phase 3: Dynamic Stretching

  • Walking Leg Swings: half court and back
  • Backward Hip External Rotation with Skip: half court and back
  • Run with 80% effort: full court
  • Single Leg Groiners : five each leg
  • Run with 90% effort: full court
  • Gate Swings: 10 reps
  • Run with 95% effort

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