basketball warm up

I used to have athletes perform a basketball warm-up by doing light activity followed by static stretching at center court.  The problem with this routine is that after sitting and stretching for ten minutes, their bodies cooled down and I had to warm them up again.

We can’t afford to waste time and energy that could be spent playing hoops.  Use this three-step progression to get the most out of your basketball warm-ups and you’ll be prepared to crush your workout.


The arguments for static stretching before training are falling apart.  A review of over 300 research papers suggests pre-workout static stretching is not significantly associated with a reduction in injuries.

Although static stretching has value, its place is not before a training session.

Dynamic warm-ups are becoming more popular and accepted as a better alternative to static stretching. A properly designed basketball warm-up will set the tone and tempo for the workout, while at the same time activating and coordinating muscles.

Here is a three-step basketball warm-up progression that I use to prepare athletes to be their best on the court and in the weight room.


The most obvious goal of a basketball warm-up routine is to warm-up your body.  Elevating your core temperature increases range of motion, produces higher oxygen uptake and improves the speed and force of muscle contractions.

Although you could do almost any activity to elevate core temperature, I use movements that help improve players’ ability to run, jump, skip and shuffle.  Phase 1 can also be a great time to work on your basketball skills at slower speeds.

In the upcoming weeks, I’ll post my favorite elevate drills.  For now, grab a basketball and work on your ball-handling to get a good sweat going.


Muscles are activated when they are stretched.  When you take muscles through a full range of motion, they get turned on and are prepared to work.  Some people describe the activation phase as dynamic flexibility.

Make sure the exercises you choose in this phase are specific to the upcoming workout.

If you have a lower-body lift planned for the day, include exercises that activate your hips and legs. Choose exercises that stretch your chest, shoulders and back on upper-body days.


Our goal is to improve total body coordination through quick twitch movements in the final phase of our basketball warm up progression.

The coordination phase should include sprints on straight ahead speed days.  If you’ve got a jump day planned, the last part of your warm-up should include low-level plyometrics.

By switching up the speed, range of motion, and direction of your movements, you turn on different proprioceptors that will keep your body healthy and improve performance.

Here’s a basketball warm-up video that shares how I put it all together:


  1. ELEVATE your core temperature with basketball movements.
  2. ACTIVATE muscles by taking them through a full range of motion.
  3. COORDINATE your system with quick twitch movements that mirror the upcoming workout.

Now that you’re warmed up, let’s get a workout in!  Check out this article on how to jump higher off one foot.

For more videos on how to eat, train and lead for the game of hoops, check out my Youtube channel.