• How to Stretch like a Basketball Pro

    Injury is an athlete's worst enemy. It can get in the way of a game, a season, and even affect you for life. One of the sports most brutal on your muscles and joints is basketball. The constant sprints and pivots put a strain on everything from the arch of your foot to your neck. Here are some stretching exercises that will get you warmed up for you next game of BBall.

    180 SWING
    Try this stretch to warm up your hip and joints.
    • Kick your right leg up as high as it will go. Keep it straight. Touch your toes with your left hand.
    • Bring your leg back down. Touch the ground with both hands.
    • In one complete movement, swing your leg behind you as far as it will go and bring it back down.
    • Repeat with the other leg.

    Your leg should complete a full half circle movement with this stretch. Do not swing out of control but rather with control and balance.


    ROTATING REVERSE LUNGE
    This stretch will give your whole lower body a warm up. Keep full control during this movement. Move slowly. Improper form or jerky movements can easily result in injury.

    • Step back with your right foot. Give yourself enough space for a deep lunge. Dip down into a lunge. Bring your right knee all the way down. Don't let you left knee extend over your toes.
    • Rotate your hips and extend your left arm behind you. Touch your right heel with your left hand. Face forward again.
    • Stand up. Step back with your left leg and repeat with your right arm.


    SHIN & ACHILLES HEEL STRETCHES
    Too many weekend warriors overlook the shin muscles and Achilles heel - until they wreak havoc on their body. Before stepping onto the court, give your lower leg some attention.

    • Place the balls of your feet on a curb or raised surface with your heels hanging over the side. Lower your heel as far as you can go. Hold.

    • Raise up your heel as far up as you can reach while maintaining your balance. Hold.

    • Now, invert your position. Place the heels of your feet on the raised surface with your toes hanging over the side. Lower your toes as far as they will go. Hold.

    • Raise up your toes as far up they will go. Hold.

    BONUS: Finish these off with some ankle stretches. Sit on the floor with your legs straight out in front of you. Point your toes straight out. Rotate your ankles 360 degrees (all the way around).


    MARCHING SPRINT

    As simple as it is, running in place will always have a place in fitness history for a reason... it works. Try this exercise to not only loosen up the body but also to get your heart rate going.

    • Sprint in place with your knees coming up as far as possible.
    • Challenge yourself with speed and height.


    THE SUPERMAN

    Whatever your sport, your core and lower back bear the brunt of the work. The superman stretch gives your core and glutes a good solid stretch while strengthening the lower back and the neck.

    • Lay face down on the floor, arms and legs straight out. Raise your left arm and right leg several inches from the floor. Hold.
    • Repeat with right arm and left leg.

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