It is important to know how to stretch before playing basketball. Playing basketball involves all the major muscles in the body and because of the stop and go nature of the sport, it is easy to pull a muscle. Hopping on the court and playing basketball without stretching leaves you more susceptible to injuries. Stretching properly will lower your risk and prepare your muscles to go full-speed when playing basketball.
- Warm-up your muscles by jogging. As with any stretching program, it is important to warm up the muscles in the body so that they are prepared to be stretched. Jog around the court five times at 50% of your maximum speed. This will get blood flowing to your muscles.
- Start at the top and work your way down. This will ensure that you hit all of the major muscle groups that are used when playing basketball.
- Stretch the upper back and shoulders. These muscles are used in all aspects of playing basketball. Place your arms out extended at your sides. Rotate your arms in a circular motion forward. Do this for 30 seconds and then repeat with your arms rotating backwards. This will stretch and loosen the shoulder and upper back muscles.
- Focus on the lower back. Stretch this are by lying on the ground on your back. Swing both feet over your head, so that they are above head. Your butt should be raised slightly off of the ground. Use your hands to support the lower back if necessary. Hold this position for ten seconds. Rest and repeat three times.
- Stretch the hamstrings and the groin. Both of these muscles groups are prone to injuries. Playing basketball requires quick, sudden movements that can result in muscle pulls in these areas. Sit on the ground with your feet straight out to the sides as far as they can go. Put your head straight down to the ground in front of you. Hold this position for ten seconds and then rest and repeat.
- Don’t forget the “quads.” The quadriceps, or front of the thighs, are a large muscle group, but are commonly neglected when stretching. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Using your right hand, grab your right ankle and bend the leg so that your foot is touching your butt. Hold this position for ten seconds. Do the same thing with the left leg.
- Do calf raises to stretch your calves. Vertical jumping requires the calf muscles to propel the body up in the air, so don’t forget to stretch them before playing basketball. Stand with feet shoulder-width apart. Rise up on your toes as far as you can go while keeping your balance. Hold this position for ten seconds. Rest and repeat.