My warm-up routine for basketball

These are the exercises I use to warm-up the kids I work with these days.
Please not that I put most of exercises I used, but I don’t use all of them all the time — due time constraints, wheather, type of workout etc.
Also, I try to “implement” in those young heads that they should have their own warm-up, based on their own weaknesses and individual differences, altough those mentioned variation must be under general principles and rules of warm-up!
For example, I stress the fact that they should use the warm-up (and progressive accelerations) as a “tool” to see if “everything is in order”… if it is not, spend more time warming-up and maybe stretching tight area. If this is common, then the coach should check his planning, and athletes should check their daily activities, and maybe check for imbalances etc.

Well, here it is:

1. Joint rotations in place (Done only in morning workouts)

  • Head circles (forward-backward, left-right, rotations…)
  • Shoulder circles (forward, backward, alternating)
  • Arm circles (side, front, alternating)
  • Shoulder
  • Wrist
  • Hips (hip circles, leg circles, body circles…)
  • Knee (knee circles…)
  • Ankle (ankle circles…)

2. Joint rotations while moving (20m forward-backward)

  • Ankle walks (toes, heels, outsidem inside, heel-toes, crossed, side-to-side, ankling, zig-zag jumps)
  • Arm circles (forward-backward, side, side alteranting…)
  • Hip circles (hip step over-forward-backward, A march, B march: stand-walk, knee to chest, cradlles )
  • Hams (straight leg march, airplanes, B march …)
  • Skips: sub horizontal (outside, inside, forward, side skip, arm-ankle, moulin-rouge) – gentle

3. Muscle activation (lying — only on court)

  • Cat/cammel
  • Hydrant
  • Knee to arm pit
  • YTWX (shoulder circle)
  • Dead bug
  • Bridges (single leg bridges)
  • Side Bridge
  • Straith leg raise
  • Side leg raise
  • Inside leg raise
  • Bird-dog

4. Muscle activation (standing — outside, dirt, mud)

  • Prisoner squats (medball squats-overhead, rotations…)
  • Split squats
  • Scapular Push up (medball row)
  • Sumo (+medball RDLs etc)
  • Side split squats
  • Isometrical Push up with arm lifts
  • Push ups (walk down, T-push up, arm action…)
  • Mountain Climbers (single leg)
  • Groiners
  • Lunge walk
  • Side Lunge walk
  • Side Shuffle/Lateral Run
  • Gate wings
  • Wide-outs
  • Pogos (fast, height, hip rotations)
  • Scissor jumps
  • Various ladder drill (but I don’t have a ladder, this is an option if you have it)

5. Dynamic mobility

  • Butt kicks (normal, inside, outside, side)
  • Backward cycle (backward run)
  • Cariocas
  • A-Skip (forward, backward)
  • B-Skip
  • Skip
  • Straigh Leg run

6. Balistic stretches (dynamic stretch-swings)

  • Jumping jacks
  • Seal Jumps (diagonal)
  • Flings
  • Leg swings

7. Specific warm-up

  • Defensive slides
  • Jumps (skip for height, fast jumps…)
  • Diagonals (aceleration, turns, zig-zag runs, sprint-slide, 5-5-10-10…)
  • Start-stop drills
  • Ball handling-coordination
  • Group bball warm-up

8. Accelerations

  • Four acceleration (80%, 85%, 90%, 95%)

Sprint workout ---- 1, 2, (3)4, 5, 6, 8 (+B march in place – ham stretch-- between accelerations)

Tempo workout — 1,2,(3)4, 5, 6?

Bball workout — 1,2,(3),4,5,6,7

The full warm up takes about 30-45mins, but it can be minimized to 15-20min if needed by kicking some exercises. I am more for longer warm-up but I don’t pay the court rents… soo… I must listen what head coach have to say and how much time he give to me. When I lead the morning workouts (whole August — GPP) then, I do what I like, and warm up is pretty long, gentle and progressive, because players are usualy sleepy…

I ussually change a little some exercises for variety and progression. Also, I emphasise forward and backward drills (everything done forward should be done backward too) and lateral movements (lateral skip, lateral buttkick, side shuffles etc) for more “bball specific” warmup. Again, this depends on the session type. If only sprints-hills are done, then there is no-need for doing lateral stuf too much. If the bball practice is done then there is a great need for lateral stuff. Also, when we do medball throw, easyer throws/passes are done…

Any recomendations/critiques/questions are welcome! Thanks


I love the completeness of it all. This certainly would be quite a warm up!

Some thoughts:
For our college team, I do a dynamic warmup, but on a much smaller scale then you. I’m lucky that our coach gives me 10-15 minutes to warm them up before practices and games…

20 m is far too long a distance for me though.If my meters - feet conversion is correct, that’s almost 3/4 of the distance of the court! Come game time, when there’s another team out there as well, I can barely use 6-7 meters of floor space…

Keep up the great work challenging us to think!

Thanks for kind words, devils! I really appreciate it! Thanks!

I forgot to say that you should allway have a plan B or even a plan C for your workouts, and this includes warm-up too. What to do if there is lack of space, what to do if there is time limit, what to do if it is raining, what to do if the floor is wet etc. I thinked a lot on this, and it seems this is now “automatic” altought I still gain troumendous experience…
What I have posted above is a FULL warm up, which can last to 45mins or more (depens how much time you spend explaining some exercises, but as time passess it will go down and stagnate at particular duration). If the kids are new to exercises, then it is better to stick to few of them and learn it correct than to do the whole bunch poor — I made this mistake too.

For your example 10-15min and small place I would do the folowing:

Group 2:

  • Ankle walks, arm circles, hip circles (A march, B march), hams + cross run for ankles + linedrills (fast jumps over line)

Group 3:

  • Shoulder circle (opposite arm-opposite leg lift 6sec hold), dead bug, back bridge, side leg raise, maybe side bridge

Group 4:

  • Squats, Push-ups, lunge walk, side lunge walk

Group 5: (do it in place, skipping fascion)

  • Butt kicks (in place), seal jump (dynamic stretch for pecs), backward run, cariocas, A skip, B skip

Group 7:

  • 5-5-10-10 (5 yard side shiffle, 5 yard side shuffle, 10yad sprint, 10yard back sprint, and combinations)
  • Defencive slides-sprints
  • THE GAME UNDER A BASKET: pass, recive score etc… (specific warm up)

This could be done in 15mins, again it depends how fast you reposition your players and organize them (in other words, do the listen to you and repson quickly? :wink: ) and how fast they do it… Again, try to use it and be free to kick some exercises if needed, but I would stick lunge and side lunge walk (maybe wide outs and gate swing) for groin warm-up for HI defensive slides in game…

Hope it helps! Gotta go to practice… I am already late :slight_smile:

ur warmup isnt practical bc in the states we have certain work limits and only have soo much time, i cant spend 45min just on a warmup.

Neither am I…
It can easily fit into 15-20min model… just pick some of the exercises… You don’t have to do all the groups nor all the exercises

ok thats what i thought.