Basketball Dynamic Warm Up
Before any game or intense training session, basketball players can benefit from a few minutes of stretching and warm-up. Stretching loosens and aligns the muscle fibers and increases circulation, and warming up the muscles before any activity can help elevate blood flow and improve performance. But while traditional stretching regimens separated the stretch from the warm up process, recent research suggests that strength and agility benefit most when these two activities are combined into one, which is sometimes called dynamic stretching, or a dynamic warm up.
The video below demonstrates a few moves that combine the benefits of warming up and stretching. While the demonstration specifically targets girls basketball, these stretches can improve performance for any athlete in any sport. These moves help to open up circulation, improve muscle motion, and build tendon flexibility in the hips, core, and upper legs, so they can be worked into a training program for any sport that requires speed and agility. These stretches require no equipment except for a wall, some space on the court, and a pair of Kbands training bands for each participant.
Girls Dynamic Warm Up: Resisted and Unresisted Stretches
Lunge and Twist
The first move in this dynamic warm up series is called the lunge and twist, and it’s designed to open and stretch the muscles of the hip and lower torso. To execute the move, athletes can plant one foot in front of the body and drop down into a lunge position, being careful to keep the front knee directly above the foot—the knee should never extended forward further than the toes. As the body drops down into the lunge, the athlete can swing the arms and rotate to the left, and then to the right.
This move challenges the athlete’s balance and coordination while simultaneously preparing the muscles for action. Players can walk across the court one step at a time, dropping down into the lunge and twist at each step. Then they can walk back across the court in a backwards version of the same move.
The next move is a classic warm up move for basketball players, one that challenges the balance while opening up the hamstrings and warming up the legs and lower back. Again, players will walk slowly across the court, leaning forward and dropping the chest toward the floor at each step. As the chest comes down, one leg will rise up behind the body, forming a flat plane down the back and elevated leg. As the move down the court and back, athletes can concentrate on staying balanced, flat and straight at each step.
In the next move, players will be working their way down the court in a lateral fashion, planting the legs wide at each step and leaning down into a groin stretch, first to the left (or the direction of motion) and then to the right. At each step and stretch, the feet should stay wide, the body should stay balanced, and the hands can rest lightly on the hips or upper legs. Athletes should feel this stretch on the inside of the upper leg.
For the next move in the series, athletes will stand in one place instead of moving down the court and back, and they’ll need some space against a wall. This move, called a wall swing, is designed to open up the hips and lower back. Players will place both hands on the wall and allow one leg to swing down and back up from side to side between the wall and the body. The hips should stay in a locked position square to the wall in order for this stretch to be felt in the IT band across the torso. After swinging the right leg a few times, athletes can switch to the left before moving into the modified version of this stretch described below.
Sideways Wall Swings
After a few standard wall swings with each leg, athletes can rotate the body sideways and touch the wall with just one hand. The leg closest to the wall should swing forward and then back, as high as possible, without allowing the body to break or bend at the trunk. The more the stretch and the motion stay in the leg—not the core—the more benefit athletes will gain from this move. After about ten swings on each side, athletes can attach the Kbands to their upper legs and move into the next phase of the stretching series.
Hurdlers Front and Back
Once the Kbands are on and the resistance bands are clipped in place, athletes can move into the second half of the dynamic warm up with a set of hurdlers. Starting at one end of the court, athletes will walk slowly in a straight line, lifting the knee at each step and rotating it forward before planting the foot back on the ground. This move requires proper form and a straight posture, so the straighter the back and the more elevated the chest, the greater the benefit to the muscles of the hamstrings and core. After moving forward down the court, players can back up and reverse.
With the Kbands still in place, players can move laterally down the court and back at a high pace. At each step, the dominant or leading leg will rise up in front of the body, pulling against the resistance of the bands to stretch and open up the hip flexors and hamstrings.
The final stretch in this dynamic series is called the glute walk. This is also a lateral move, and athletes will drop the hips and walk sideways one small step at a time, keeping the body low and working against the resistance of the bands. This move will activate the glutes, hips, lower back and core while stretching the muscles and increasing circulation.
For more dynamic stretches like these, and more on how to maximize the benefits of the Kbands, KB Powerbands, and KB Duo, explore the sport-specific training sections of Kbands Training.com.