5 Warm-Up Drills Every Basketball Player Needs To Be Doing

 

It amazes me to see how many basketball players step on the court and start hooping without any thought given to a warm-up. Since you're reading this, I know you take your game seriously and understand that skipping the warm-up will set you up for injury while killing your performance. A great warm-up doesn't have to be long and intensive but it does have to be easy to do anywhere and target the right areas. Here's a 5-drill warm-up that will have you ready to play like a pro:

 

1. Quadruped Hip Raise: 

- Instructions: Start on hands and knees. Keep your chest away from the floor and the rest of your body still. Raise one leg out to the side as high as you can while keeping the rest of your body still. Repeat. *Use a pad for knees when possible. 

- Areas Targeted: This exercise will fire up your hips. In particular it targets your lateral or outside glute muscles. These muscles play an important role in protecting your knees from injury and jumping/sprinting/agility performance. 

- Sets/Reps: 1-3 sets of 15-30 reps on each side. 

 

2. Bear Crawl: 

- Instructions: Start on hands and knees. Keep your chest away from the floor, and raise your knees 2-3 inches off of the ground. Step forward with the opposite arm/leg and repeat on alternate side. Continue taking steps for 10-15 feet and then return to where you started while going in reverse. Keep the body still/core strong as you are taking steps.

- Areas Targeted: Your core, arms and legs are all targeted with the Bear Crawl. 

- Sets/Reps: 1-2 laps of 10-15 feet. *1 lap = down and back.

 

3. Long Step to Stand Up: 

- Instructions: Start by taking a long lunge step. Keep your back leg straight and open up the arm on the side of the forward knee. Bring your back leg knee down to the ground and stand up through the forward leg. Slowly lower back down to a kneeling position, straighten the back leg out and repeat. 

- Areas Targeted: This exercise is a great hip stretch, works upper body flexibility and even targets hip strength/balance. 

- Sets/Reps: 1-2 sets of 8-12 reps on each side. 

 

4. Lateral Lunge with Rotation:

- Instructions: Start standing tall and take a large lunge step to the side. As you lunge step to the side, open up your arm and rotate your chest on the side that you step to. Return back to a standing start position and repeat. 

- Areas Targeted: The Lateral Lunge with Rotation will challenge and prepare your hip/groin muscles for the lateral demands of the game. 

- Sets/Reps: 1-2 sets of 8-12 reps on each side. 

 

5. Wall Heel Raises:

- Instructions: Facing a wall, press hands into the wall and lock out the elbows. Step your feet back away from the wall so you are in a comfortable leaning position. Raise one knee up to your chest and keep your other leg completely straight at the knee. Rise up as high as you can on your toes, slowly lower back down and repeat. 

- Areas Targeted: This exercise will activate and strengthen your lower legs, ankles and feet. 

- Sets/Reps: 1-3 sets of 15-30 reps on each side. 

 


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Tim DiFrancesco, PT, DPT, ATC, CSCS is the Head Strength & Conditioning Coach of the Los Angeles Lakers and founder of TD Athletes Edge.  He is nationally renowned for his evidence-based and scientific approach to fitness, training, nutrition, and recovery for athletes and fitness enthusiasts.

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