How We Warm Up For Basketball!


How We Warm Up For Basketball!

Injury prevention is extremely important in any physical activity whether you are running, playing basketball, or lifting weights. Today, The Sole Brothers are going to teach you the warm up routine we use to prepare our bodies for playing basketball. Warming up is one key element to reducing your injury risk, as well as cooling down after you finish your excercise/activity. Don and Sammy stretch and use a foam roller after they finish playing ball, you can watch their video here, and if you would like a step by step written breakdown of their foam rolling techniques, let us know in the comment section below. The following warm up drills and exercises are not an exhaustive list, so if you want to implement some different or additional excercies, make sure you do some research to make sure it will be beneficial.



The first thing Don and Sammy do is get their ball out and start shooting. Some coaches insist that you do not take a single shout outside of the key. Start right underneath the basket and try to get into a good shooting rythmn with some nothing but net makes. Be sure to take shots from both sides of the key, and as you begin to make more shots, start moving further and further away from the basket, and you can eventually work your way up to taking some threes. Keep taking shots from different distances and angles to get your shooting rythmn and arms warmed up. We recommend spending around 5-10 minutes shooting as part of your warmup routine, after which you can mix it up further for a few minutes doing more active shots like layups, pull up jumpers, or step backs. The key is not to overexert yourself during a warmup, so make sure you get your body warm and get a sweat going, but do not push too hard and get winded.




After a short shootaround, Don and Sammy go through a stretching routine. These stretches are not static stretches such as touching your toes and holding that position. We recommend dynamic stretching, excercises that stretch and warm up your body by utilizing your range of motion to loosen up your muscles and tendons without becoming too loose.

Leg Swings (Front to Back)

This stretch is good for warming up your legs and stretching out the tendons and muscles in your legs and hips needed for forward motions such as running.

1.Stand next to a wall and stabilize yourself with one arm.

2. Rock one leg back and forth about 10 times, making sure that you do not overextend in either direction which could hyperextend or strain your legs or back (Don said he went too crazy doing this one time and threw his back out).


3. Switch legs and repeat, 10 reps.



Leg Swings (Side to Side)

This is a similar stretch to the Front to Back Leg Swing we just went over, except this one stretches and warms up the muscles and tendons needed for lateral motions like cuts, crossovers, and playing defense.

1.Face the wall and use both hands to stabilize your body.


2. Swing one leg from side to side 10 times, making sure that you do not overdo it and possibly injure yourself.


3. Switch legs and repeat, 10 reps.



Bouncing with Leg Raises

To keep warming up your legs, in particular for jumping, simply start bouncing on the balls of your foot as if you were jumping rope. Every few bounces, raise one of your legs up high, as if you were trying to touch your knee to your chest. After another few bounces, repeat with the other leg.




In order to make sure your quads, glutes, and hip flexors are appropriately warmed up and loose enough you should do some squatting.

1.Get into a low squatting position using your arms/elbows to extend your knees outward, stretching your hips and inner thigh.


2. Move side to side a little to further stretch out your hips.


3. If you can handle it, bend forward with your hands on the floor like the frog position and move side to side to help open up your hips for lateral movement.


4. Do about 10-12 full squats, making sure you really sit back into it to properly work your quads and glutes, while focusing on opening your hips.




Ball Handling Drills

You can do any variety of dribbling drills during your warm up, the key is that you get your hands loose and get a good feel for the ball. Here are a few drills Don likes to do during his warmup.


Shifting your feet back and forth, dribble the ball between your legs. Start at an easy pace and steadily increase your speed.



Figure 8

The Figure 8 drill is good for working on your ball control as well as activiting the fast twitch muscle fibers in your hands and arms for quick reaction speeds while playing.

1.Stand with your feet slightly wider than shoulder width apart.


2. Start dribbling the ball very close to the floor, using your fingertips to make the ball bounce quickly.


3. Dribble the ball around your body, moving it between your legs when you get the ball behind you, across the other side of your body and around that leg, and repeat.


4. Change direction and do the Figure 8 pattern in the opposite directin from which you started (for example, if you started clockwise change to counterclockwise).


5. Dribble in a circle around one leg a few times, do a Figure 8, then dribble a few times around the opposite leg.



The guys also do a few explosive sprints down the court before playing. Don pointed out that sometimes when you first start playing, you can get easily winded and tired. The sprints help you to build up your ability to play without getting winded, but it also can help you to get your second wind faster. When you get your “second wind” after getting tired early on, your body catches up after it had lagged behind and you begin to pump blood and oxygen more efficiently, so when you get that second wind, you can go for longer without getting as tired. That is one benefit of warming up, and Don also pointed out that once he started warming up and cooling down, he began to get injured less frequently. Even if you are a younger player, warming up is important, because even if you can just go out and ball without needing a warmup you still should warm up so you do not create bad habits that can hurt you down the road.