Dec 27, 2017Strong Knees
Playing basketball can put a lot of stress on the knees. Stopping, cutting, pivoting, and jumping can all lead to injury if the ligaments and muscles around the joints aren’t strong and healthy. But with the right training, players can improve performance and have a better chance at staying injury free. In order to help your athletes stay on the court and performing their best, here are some knee-strengthening exercises that are worth incorporating.
The following exercises can be found in an article on ActiveKids.com, which discusses the importance of having strong knees and outlines a variety of movements that will help make this possible for your basketball players.
Bodyweight Quarter Squat
Have athletes push their hips back and bend their knees until they are at a 45-degree angle. Then return to the standing position and repeat. Make sure they are keeping their back straight the entire time. Try to fit this into the middle of a workout and have players aim to complete 20 to 30 total squats.
By using just bodyweight instead of adding weight with dumbbells or a bar, athletes can focus on maximizing volume. The body will often get tired after only eight to 10 parallel squats with added weight, but bodyweight quarter squats can usually be done in sets of 20 to 30 reps. While doing this exercise, make sure that athletes are putting extra attention on their knees and quads.
Athletes should start by standing with their feet hip-width apart. They will then step out with their right foot and lean into their right leg so that they are squatting on just one side. The left leg and back should remain straight and they should not lean their upper body forward. After lunging, they should push off from their right foot and return to the starting position. Have them repeat this on the left side and aim for eight to 10 total reps.
This is another simple bodyweight exercise that is a slight variation of a traditional movement. Lateral lunges can help improve force absorption in the knees and teach the body how to control shifting weight during quick changes of direction. This is crucial for basketball players who are constantly cutting and jumping.
Physioball Leg Curl
Have each athlete lie on a mat and place their heels on a physioball so that their legs are stretched straight out in front of them. Then they should roll the ball in towards their body until their knees are bent and the ball is below the balls of their feet. Once they do this they can return to the starting position. Make sure they keep their core muscles engaged throughout the movement. Have athletes aim for 10 to 12 reps.
Along with strengthening the knees, this exercise will also strengthen the hamstrings and core, which both play a major role in pivoting and stabilizing the body. This can be a good exercise to do at the end of a workout because it’s performed on the ground and done at a slower pace. Just keep in mind that you will have to provide each athlete with a mat and a physioball.
Each of the exercises listed are relatively simple but can go a long way in improving knee strength and helping basketball players be their best when it’s time to perform.