The game of basketball is a very demanding game as it requires you to walk, run, turn, spin, jump, tricks and other type of fast movements. This means a player needs to gain strong and flexible muscles to be able to achieve all of these movements and the only way to attain them is through basketball conditioning, or more specifically, through stretching and training exercises. There are basically two types of exercise, the static exercise and the dynamic exercise.
Static exercise is also known as ‘isometric exercise’ and involves exertions of muscles at high intensities without movement. Basically, you try to hold a single position for a given time. This helps to improve muscle strength. Dynamic exercises on the other hand are exercise that keeps both joints and muscles in movement. Examples of dynamic exercises would include swimming, running, walking, skiing, cycling, and weight training. This exercise helps to build muscle endurance.
Since the game of basketball involves both upper and lower body movement, it is important that you train both. One of the most important exercises you need to do to develop and increase muscle strength and flexibility is by performing stretches. The advantage of stretches is that they can be performed in the comforts of your home. Just make sure that you always consider safety and comfort when doing so.
4 Basketball Conditioning Exercises
The list below shows some basketball stretching workouts:
- Straddle Exercise for Legs – this exercise is intended for releasing tension in your hamstrings. (Aim to exercise using your right leg first and then your left) To start the exercise, stand up and have your legs astride with your knees flexed a little. Have your toes at 45-degree angle and plunge your chest towards your right knee. Make sure to execute this while gradually bending from the waist and leave your back straight. Next, aim for the middle part of the legs and straddle. Plunge your chest forward using your waist while maintaining a straight back. Try to make sure your hand touch the floor in front of you. Hold the position until you feel the effect of the exercise on your thighs, hamstrings, lower back, and glutes. After the middle part, continue to straddle your left leg. Plunge your chest towards your left leg and keeping your toes at 45 degrees angle. Make sure to bend from the waist and leave your back straight at all times. Repeat the process several times.
- Sitting Hip Rotation – this exercise helps to develop deep hip muscles in the glutes and is considered as one of the best basketball workouts you can perform at the comforts of your home. To start the exercise, sit on the floor with your back straight and your left leg straight. Try to slowly twist on your right while keeping your right hand behind you. Cross your right leg on top of your left leg and push your right knee using your left hand. Maintain this position until you feel you hip and trunk regions are fully stretched out. After about 15 seconds, execute this exercise towards your left side this time. Repeat the process several times.
- Sitting Piriformis Stretch – this exercise is intended to exercise your lower back, glutes, and hips. To start the exercise, lay on your back until both your back and shoulders are in contact with the floor or mat. Place your left leg on your right knee and cross it until your left ankle is in the position of your right knee. Gradually pull your right leg forward (or in this case elevate it) and hold it elevated for about 15 seconds. Do this procedure on the opposite leg and repeat several times.
- Lying Exercises – these exercises are executed with either your back flat on the floor or with your chest flat on the floor and are intended to give your body some sort of stretching. Lying knee hug is performed with your legs, hips and back straight while bending each knee alternately towards your chest and holding and keeping them in this position for 10-30 seconds. Lying Crossover is performed with both arms extended to their respective sides while alternately placing each leg on the opposite side towards the stretched hand and holding them in this position for 10-30 seconds. Quadriceps Stretch (prone position) is an exercise executed with the chest flat on the floor while bending each knee alternately and pulling the ankle towards the rear end and holding it in this position for 10-30 seconds.
Other exercises involved in basketball conditioning would include the building up of stamina and endurance, and the building up of speed and agility.
In order to build up stamina and endurance, you need to push yourself to the point of exhaustion. One example would be to perform quick sprints at top speed until you are totally exhausted. Another example would be to do some stair climbing until you are at the point of exhaustion. The truth is climbing stairs can be helpful when playing basketball as it helps to develop a light feet. Basketball is a game that requires a lot of moving and jumping which is why you can greatly benefit from having light feet. It not only helps to increase your jumping ability, but the exercise will also help build stamina and endurance.
If you want to develop speed and agility, you can try performing and combining a series of drills. One drill would involve the placing of a series of cones on a straight line at 5 feet intervals. You then run at maximum speed while dribbling the ball and performing a slalom at each cone. Should you lose control of the ball, you need to start over from the first cone. Do this in several successions. Another way to develop speed and agility is by doing some jump rope. Performing this skipping exercise will help to develop your aerobic ability and improve your hand-foot coordination, which in turn will result into a faster footwork. Doing some pogo jumps will also help to improve your speed. This exercise can be done by keeping your hips and knees in an almost locked position while at the same time performing some hops using only your planter flexor or ankles to boost you up.
Basketball conditioning is without doubt an essential part of basketball. These exercises not only help to keep you fit, but performing them routinely also ensures you that you are your at peak condition when you play the game.