It’s no secret that women’s bodies are structured differently from men’s. So it makes sense for injury prevention programs for women to differ as well. As a female basketball player, you need stable joints when you make any movement—to reduce the potential for injury and help you move more efficiently. Think of stability as the foundation of a house. If you try to build the rest of the house before the foundation sets, the house will eventually collapse. The same applies to building your body. If you don’t prepare yourself for the physical demands of the game, your body will fall prey to injury. If you want to be on your way to an injury-free career, incorporate the following two exercises into your training.
This exercise is critical for developing lower body stability. It could be considered counterproductive to exclude this exercise from training, since basketball is, for the most part, played on one leg at a time.
To perform a Single Leg Squat, assume the starting position for a regular Squat. Engage your core, lift one leg slightly off the ground and lower your body the same way you would for a regular squat, to a four-count. At the lowest point you can reach (keeping correct form), hold for a two-count. Then explode up to the starting stance without locking out your knee.
Training for deceleration is important in your stability and injury prevention program. With Squat Jumps, you are teaching explosion followed by deceleration, generally the same sequence of movements you use playing basketball.
Start your Squat Jump in the squat stance. Lower yourself as far as you can while keeping proper form. Then explode up as high as you can and land with your feet shoulder-width apart in the same spot. Landing in the same spot is vital, as it is teaching you how to control your body. Hold the landing for four seconds and repeat for the desired number of reps. Again, simple yet effective.
As you can see, although it’s not difficult to develop a stable body, it’s not exciting either. That’s why most players, not just women, fail to make training for stability a priority. But if you want to play the game you love smarter and longer, make sure to include these two exercises in your workout. I guarantee you’ll outlast the players who don’t!