Basketball Exercises to Warm-Up Knees

basketball knee warm-up exercises lunge
By Fara Rosenzweig

Joint mobility and stabilization can’t be emphasized enough for basketball players. With the constant running up and down the court and jumping, players who lack mobility in their knee joints risk knee pain and injury.

Before you attempt to run on the court, coaches and trainers can’t express the importance of warming up the body, especially joints that support the knees. This will allow for the muscles and joints to loosen up and be as mobile as possible when playing.

Mobility is key to protect and stabilize your muscles and joints. If athletes don’t have it, their body will be forced to compensate elsewhere—and unfortunately for the knees will run the risk of knee injury or pain.

High school basketball coach, Justin Reid, knows the pressure placed on young athletes and wants to make sure they keep healthy throughout the season. “As a coach, I need to know how much pain the player is in and if he needs to see a doctor. If it is just soreness, then I would have them put some heat on the knee for 10 to 15 minutes.”

After a little heat compression, Reid suggests basketball players do the following warm-up moves at the beginning of practices and games to open up range of motion and loosen stiff muscles.

Light Jog or Jump Rope

Athletes should do an easy jog or jump rope for about five minutes, or until they break a light sweat, to get the heart rate up and muscles warmed up. If muscles are stiff or cold, then injury is at a high risk. Easing into a warm-up will prevent injury and get blood flow moving.

jump rope

Dynamic Stretching

A form of stretching, dynamic warm-ups allow for players to open up their range of motion.

Do 30 to 60 seconds of the following:

high knees

High Knees

butt kicks

Butt Kicks

walking forward kicks

Walking Forward Kicks

walking lunge

Walking Lunges

Static Stretching

After a dynamic warm-up, players can slowly stretch to loosen up the muscles surrounding the knee area. These stretches can be done before and after practices or games.

Hold each stretch for at least 30 seconds

Calf Stretch

Calf Stretch

hamstring stretch

Hamstring Stretch

half knee hip stretch

Half Knee Hip Stretch

quad stretch

Quad Stretch

Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is like a deep tissue massage. Rolling gets deep into the muscle tissue to release tension and lactic acid. Athletes should roll daily, before and after practices and games is ideal.

Roll the following areas:

Roll each area for 30 to 60 seconds.

foam rolling quads


hamstring foam rolling


foam roll hip


foam roll it-band


foam roll calves


foam roll glutes


As a full warm-up for your knees become a part of your basketball workouts and games, adding on a knee-strengthening program on top of that can help you prevent injuries in the future. By strengthening the knees and the muscles around your knees, your body will be able to better stabilize your during those quick movements on the court and you will be able to improve on any muscle imbalances most players develop over the years and hopefully stay safe from basketball injuries.