Basketball is one of the most popular sports among athletes of all ages in the United States. Unfortunately, it is also one of the sports with the highest probability of injury among athletes as well. So, what can be done about these frequent injuries? Sports and fitness specialists have long suggested that dynamic warm-ups, as opposed to static stretching, be used to best prevent basketball injuries. Some of the most effective types are as follows:
- The Frankenstein Walk
- Box Jumps
- Lateral Slide Steps
- Resistance Bands
The Frankenstein Walk
This dynamic stretch involves working the hamstrings, one of the most commonly pulled muscles in basketball. Players walk with their arms out in front of them like they’re trying to imitate Frankenstein and then kick their legs up towards their hands one at a time in a rotating fashion. Ensure that the players are keeping their legs as straight as possible as to maximize the effectiveness of the stretch.
Box jumps are also an effective, dynamic stretch for the calves, quads, and even hip flexors. Use increasingly higher boxes to have the athletes jump up on to the box, do a single squat, and then jump back down. Be sure to recommend the athlete starts at a lower height, as falling during this exercise can prove to be dangerous.
Lateral Slide Steps
Lateral slide steps are a great way to warm up for basketball because they so closely mimic actual in-game movements. Have the team start slow, doing these slide steps across the court and gradually ramp up the pace. If you want to make it slightly more difficult, you can add resistance bands while you’re doing this. But, be sure to warm up without them before implementing.
Similar to how resistance bands were used in the previous exercise, resistance bands can be used to warm up with as well. Simply grab either end of the resistance band and have another player run and dribble the ball while the band pulls him or her back and adds resistance to the action. Resistance bands can be bought in increasing levels of resistance so players who are more novice to the exercise should start with little to no resistance and work their way up.
Stretching your muscles after working out is crucial in order to prevent injuries and physical complications. No matter what muscle group was focused on in your exercises, stretching all of them for an adequate amount of time is very important. This can prevent such complications as tendonitis, arthritis, and more.