Stretching Tips: Keys to a Proper Warm Up

Stretching Tips: Keys to a Proper Warm Up

We all know stretching is important, but do you know the proper way to stretch and warm-up before hitting the court? 

The idea of stretching may not be top of mind for most youth athletes. However, stretching and properly warming up is extremely important to avoid injury and help you perform at your best. 

For basketball players, especially, a combination of both dynamic and static stretches is highly recommended. Do you know the difference? 

Dynamic stretches are controlled movements that prepare your body mentally and physically for performance while increasing blood flow and oxygen to your body. Static stretches are those in which you hold a single position without movement for a period of time, typically 20-30 seconds.

While both are important, they should be used in combination at different times. Dynamic stretches should be used as part of your warm-up routine before you start playing while static stretches are most effective after workouts as part of your cool-down routine. 

Our union members take the time to warm up properly, and we think you should too!

Check out our NBPA Stretching Tips led by NBPA Sports Medicine Director, Dan O’Brien.

Dynamic Stretching Exercises

This form of stretching helps with an increased range of motion, speed, and agility. Dynamic warm-up exercises get your body prepared for basketball by performing movements that will enhance better body awareness. Remember - these should be performed right before you hit the court!

Perform each exercise for :30 seconds

Hamstring Scoops

Start with hands and palms up. Point toes up with heels planted in the ground, reach down and up making a scooping motion with each step. Make sure to keep your back flat. This exercise helps stretch your hamstrings and calves.

Knee Hugs

Pull up from the knee and ankle, hugging the knee and coming up on your toes. Alternate each leg. This exercise stretches your glutes and helps activate the calves when coming up on your toes. 

Quad Pull 

Pull your leg up behind you (same hand, same leg) reaching up with the opposite hand and holding for 1-2 seconds. Take a step and switch legs. This exercise stretches the quads. 

Straight Leg Kick

Hold hands out in front and kick one leg up in the air. Repeat alternating legs with each step. This exercise stretches the hamstrings and calves while also activating the hip flexors.

Forward Lunge With Rotation

Extend arms out in front, lunge forward and twist to side with knee up. This exercise stretches and activates the hip flexors while also helping with knee stability and improving knee pain. 

Side Lunge

Lift knee up, lunge to the side, come back to center. Repeat. Keep chest up, back flat. This exercise helps activate the glutes and increase knee stability while also stretching the groin and abductors.

Walking RDL

RDL is short for Romanian Deadlift.  Reach forward with both arms, extending 1 leg out behind and keeping back straight. Take a few steps forward and repeat. This exercise helps with hamstring strength and flexibility as well as glute strength and activation.

Side Shuffle

Perform running motion laterally while raising your opposite hand with your opposite knee. This exercise helps you move laterally while getting the hip flexors warmed up and increasing “proprioception” or awareness of the position and movement of the body.

Lateral Bounds

Stand on your right foot with your knee up. Using only the right leg, jump to the left side landing on the left foot. This will help with glute activation and ankle & knee stability.

Static Stretching Exercises: 

Static stretching can be done by moving a muscle to the end of its range of motion and holding for a specific period of time - typically 20-30 seconds. This is an effective way to increase flexibility. Remember - these should only be done after a workout during the cool-down phase because static stretching may limit your body’s ability to react quickly.  

Perform each exercise for :30 seconds


Standing Hamstring Stretch 

Bend forward, hinging at the hips, letting arms hang in front towards your toes. This exercise will stretch your hamstrings. 

Standing Quad Stretch 

While standing, bend your knee back by grasping your ankle with one hand. This exercise will stretch your quads


Bring your feet together and let your knees fall to the floor. This exercise will stretch your groin. 

Calf Stretch 

Start in a pushup position, drop your heel to floors. This exercise will stretch your calves.


Cross Arm Stretch

Reach one arm across the other and hold

Low Back Stretch

Put right leg behind left, reach across and up with right hand and hold.

Forward Step & Reach

Starting in push up position, bring right foot up to right hand, lift right hand and look up

To learn more about how to properly prepare your body and your mind for basketball, download the Famer App and join the NBPA Training Ground!