Avoiding knee injuries is an integral part of any basketball strength and conditioning program. Since basketball knee injuries are largely non-contact-related, many injuries can be avoided.
Increasing a player's longevity and preventing knee injuries involves improving soft tissue quality, and increasing and maintaining strength, power and endurance throughout the season.
Here are three exercises basketball players should include in their workouts to keep their knees durable throughout the season.
Improve Hip Strength and Ankle Mobility
The Dumbbell Step-Up improves unilateral lower-body strength and endurance, and it can be used in several ways. Load it either in goblet fashion, or hold two dumbbells at your sides. Hip strength requires loading up the top leg, not just pushing off the bottom leg. Having the top leg pull forces the stabilizers of the pelvis and hip to work overtime, instead of passively receiving force from "jumping" up onto the box.
The ankles are spared, because the Step-Up is slightly easier to perform than a Lunge, and you can focus on maintaining a tripod foot position, which is essential for improved mobility at the ankle and foot joint.
Improve Strength in Multiple Planes of Motion
Basketball players need to move in several directions to succeed on both defense and offense. Training in only the sagittal plane may be erroneous, because your weight needs to shift laterally when you're covering or changing directions.
The Dumbbell Goblet Lateral Lunge can improve athletic movement for basketball players for two reasons: It stretches the adductors, which can be chronically tight, and it challenges frontal plane control in the pelvis as you move from side to side.
Decelerate Quickly to Improve Your Game
The Lateral Mini-Band Walk with a Pump Fake challenges the side-to-side motion of the hip and core muscles, which must engage for deceleration. The ability to slow down quickly is highly underrated. If you slow down faster than your opponent, you will also be able to accelerate faster, performing some cool moves or simply blowing past them.
This exercise trains you to get into position as fast as possible, and then get out. Step to one side, but with authority and purpose, so you can shake your opponent or catch up to a play you may have missed!
Keep these exercises in your program and you'll be on your way to improving your game.
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