• 5 Exercises That Will Make You a Better Basketball Player

    NCAA Wichita St KentuckyThere are a lot of things that can give you an edge when playing a sport - shoes, clothes, gear. Although the right tools for the sport can do wonders for your performance, it's your body that will decide whether you make it or break it. If your muscles are not conditioned to the sport you're playing, you cannot play at your peak. If you're looking to improve your BBall game, try these five exercises. SIDE PLANK PUSH-UP sideplankSo much of basketball relies on agility - the ability to move quickly yet smoothly. Honing this skill requires the utmost control of your core - no matter what the movement is. While BBall is played on your feet, full body control is best done with floor exercises.  Try this yoga-esque move to really test your strength and control.
    • Complete one standard pushup
    • Move into a right side plank - pivot your body so only your right hand and the side of your right foot are on the floor.  Open up your body, raising your left arm straight up while lifting your left leg as well. Hold for 5 seconds.
    • Return to the floor gently, do another push up.
    • Repeat on the other side.
    HANGING CRUNCHES Combine your crunches with some arm strength exercises.
    • Hang from a piece of equipment, tree branch, or traffic light pole.
    • Raise your knees up to your stomach. Try this with your knees directly in front of you, to the right, and to the left.
    • If you really want to show off, finish each set of crunches with a pull-up.
    BULGARIAN SPLIT SQUATS splitsquatChange up your regular lunge routine with these balance-challenging lunge-squats or specifically, Bulgarian split squats.
    • Grab a pair of dumbbells.
    • Facing away from your bench, reach back with your foot and place it on the bench. Make sure your form is such that you have enough room to squat and still keep your knee from reaching over your toes.
    • Now dip down low with your right knee.
    • Repeat for each side.
    JUMP SQUATS Basketball often requires explosive movements - in every direction. The jump squat can help you work on your balance and power during those pivotal moves.
    • Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Place your arms straight out in front of you.
    • Start by doing a regular squat. Make sure your knees do not reach past your toes. Go low.
    • Now, engage your core and jump up explosively - use your entire foot to push off. Arms up! Work on getting as much air as possible.
    • As you come down, bring your arms back out in front of you - don't swing. Gently bring your body back into the squat. You should land quietly. Use your whole body to land.
    Work on making this one continuous movement. This will help you avoid injury as well as work on your overall balance and control. JUMP ROPE Jump rope is what you make it. When used right, this exercise will hone in on your sense of balance, control, and coordination. Mostly balancing on the ball of your foot, jump rope stretches the lower leg (specifically the shin muscles) - a critical area for every basketball player.
    • Try to vary your movement when jumping - up and down, left and right, one foot forward and one foot back.

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