This article will feature 5 different phases of a dynamic basketball prehab warm up. The dynamic warm up will be broken up into dynamic mobility, glute activation, core activation, agility activation, and plyometric activation. Each of these 5 phases plays an important role in improving basketball performance.


Phase 1: Dynamic Mobility

Research has shown that dynamic flexibility compared to static stretching can improve sprinting speed, agility, vertical jump, and dynamic range of motion while reducing your risk for injury prior to participating in a sporting activity.

In this dynamic basketball prehab warm up phase, we begin by performing a walking lunge with rotation. Begin at the baseline and perform a forward lunge and rotate towards the front leg, then repeat on both sides. These bilateral rotations help improve relative hip internal/external rotation. The second mobility exercise is the walking lunge with extension and side bend. While performing a lunge, raise the basketball overhead and towards the stance leg. The extension and side bend is utilized to increase the dynamic stretch of the back leg’s hip flexor.


lunge variations prehab guys


The last mobility exercise is the inchworm to the world’s greatest stretch. Some key points when performing this dynamic mobility exercise are to maintain a neutral spine while reaching out with the basketball for a dynamic hamstring stretch and following your hands with your eyes as you rotate your arm away from your body as you perform the world’s greatest stretch.

ParametersWe recommend performing at least 4 repetitions on each side or beginning at the baseline and reaching up to at least the 3 point arc.


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Phase 2: Glute Activation

A proper glute activation basketball prehab warm-up will improve the glutes to act as the primary hip extensors as opposed to the hamstrings. Activating the glutes will help to decrease dynamic knee valgus, foot pronation, femoral/tibial internal rotation, and contralateral pelvic drop.

The first glute activation exercise is the multi-directional jab steps. Using two bands – place one at the ankle or forefoot and the other above the knees. Perform a jab step as quickly as possible and slowly return back to the starting position to stress the glute eccentrically. The second glute activation exercise is the fire hydrant while dribbling. While maintaining tension in both bands and maintaining a neutral spine – balance on one foot while extending, abducting, and externally rotating your opposite hip. Refer to the video above to see the movement.

ParametersPerform all 5 directions, twice on each leg for the multi-directional jab step. For the fire hydrant dribbles, we recommend performing for 10 seconds on each leg for 3 rounds.


Check Out This Video For More Warm Up Content


Phase 3: Core Activation

The core includes the hips, trunk, and shoulders. The core is designed to provide proximal stability while facilitating distal mobility of the extremities (arms & legs) without excessive body motion elsewhere. In this core activation warm-up, we will focus on anti-rotation core stability.

The first core exercise is the pallof press with rotation. Beginning in an athletic position – walk out towards the free throw line while resisting the rotational pull from the band. Upon reaching the free-throw line, push the ball out to increase the moment arm and add a rotation component while maintaining a neutral spine. The second core exercise is a dynamic progression of the pallof press. You begin in the same position as described above, but now take a step and pivot to initiate a pass.

ParametersPerform 5 repetitions on each side.



Phase 3: Agility Activation

This agility basketball prehab warm up phase emphasizes movements and tasks that are likely performed on the basketball court during a game. Beginning on the baseline sprint to the free throw line, backpedal to baseline, sprint to the volleyball line, backpedal to the baseline and finish off by sprinting to half court and back.

The second agility exercise is defensive slides in the key to mimic the defensive aspect of the basketball game. Begin in the middle of the key and perform defensive slides to each side of the key. Perform 2 rounds of 15 seconds. The last agility exercise is going into chop steps into a defensive slide. Starting on the baseline, sprint to the free throw line and perform chop steps into defensive slides.

ParametersPerform the 2nd agility exercise for 2 rounds of 15s and the last drill 1 repetition on each side.


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Phase 4: Plyometric Activation

In the plyometric phase of the dynamic basketball prehab warm up, we will focus on introducing dynamic knee stability, a hip strategy, and how to improve active shock absorption during the landing phase of jumping. We will go through two jumping drills, including single leg jump to double leg landing, and single leg hop to single leg landing. The key points for the landing are to bend the hips when landing, land softly, and stick the landing by stabilizing the position. Read our blog post on plyometrics here!

We will also perform two variations of hopping to improve dynamic single-leg stability. Perform the in-and-out hopping with dribbling by hopping on the half-court line repeatedly while dribbling. Perform lateral hops with dribbling by hopping with one-foot side to side on the half-court line while dribbling.

ParametersPerform 1 round of this exercise from one side of the half court line to the other.


Closing Thoughts

Prior to performing any activity, whether it is a sport or exercising at the gym, warming up your body is key! A proper, thoughtful warm-up will help you execute your movements better, will help optimize performance, and reduce injury risk! The 5 phases we have provided here give a comprehensive approach to warming up before playing basketball!


Take Care of Your Ankle Issues For Good!

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Ankle sprains can be scary and to add fuel to the uncertainty fire there is a lot of misguided information about treating it. We are here to set the record straight because the best treatment is not complete rest, but rather early safe and protected movement. What is done in the initial phases of injury plays a role in the long-term outcome. The goal is that you regain confidence in your ankles ability to support movement and generate higher levels of force needed for walking, climbing stairs, and running.



  1. Cervantes J Samuel and Snyder R Alison. The effectiveness of a dynamic warm up in improving performance in college athletes. 2011
  2. McCormick, T Brian. Task Complexity and jump landings in injury prevention for basketball players. 2012.
  3. Reiman P Michael et al. A literature review of studies evaluating glutes maximus and gluteus medius activation during rehabilitation exercises. 2012.


About The Authors

Our names are Gabe Ignacio and Marco Lopez, and we are a team of physical therapists who aim to provide evidence-based rehabilitation to optimize movement for basketball players of all skill levels. We will empower the community by presenting fundamental knowledge relevant to injury prevention and performance enhancement, as well as, training for athletes with the goal of enjoying basketball for life.

Gabriel Ignacio PT, DPT, TPI1 and Marco Lopez PT, DPT, CSCS

Doctors of Physical Therapy | USC 2017

Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist



Disclaimer – The content here is designed for information & education purposes only and is not intended for medical advice.

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