Lower Body Training for Basketball (Part 2)

In Lower Body Training for Basketball (Part 1), I discussed 3 myths associated with basketball training. In this post, I’ll cover the injury spectrum.

Why do you care? You’re not injured, right? Well, neither was this guy…

Shaun Livingston Destroys His Knee


Any good lower body basketball strength and conditioning program should start with fundamentals that are designed to get the player as efficient as possible. As it’s been said many times before… you should not build strength (or really anything for that matter) upon dysfunction. That is a recipe for disaster (see video above).

Take a look at the following injury spectrum I put together below.

Efficiency —> Inefficiency —> Imbalance —> Dysfunction —> Injury

Efficiency occurs when basketball player is in an appropriate state of awareness, is not fatigued, and has been trained to use the right muscles at the right times with the appropriate amount of strength. An efficient player makes the most of his abilities.

Inefficiency occurs when sub-optimal conditions lead to improper execution of movement or performance. It can be an issue of psychological arousal (e.g. lack of motivation) or fatigue. It can be that a player isn’t warmed up properly or simply hasn’t yet mastered a skill. Really, inefficiency can be caused by any number of things, but the point is that inefficiency should be minimized before it turns into its long term counterpart, imbalance.

Imbalance is a more permanent state that requires intervention to reverse its effects. For example, a person who sits all day (an office worker or student, for example) will likely develop a muscular imbalance around the hip called “lower crossed syndrome.” (If you follow that link, you will be taken to my fat loss training blog to an article on “anterior pelvic tilt,” which is associated with lower crossed syndrome). Long story short, lower crossed syndrome will make your gluteal muscles flaccid and weak and therefore, extra stress will be put on your hamstrings and quads… all of which will lead to…

Dysfunction is a state where a basketball player tries to play or train through imbalance. Dysfunction may initially manifest as decreased performance (slower, weaker, less powerful and agile, etc.), but usually what happens is that the player starts noticing minor aches and pains that are more annoying than problematic (knee pain, low back pain, etc.) Of course, continual activity through dysfunction will always eventually lead to injury.

Injury is a medical classification for a particular form or instance of harm. The distinction I’d like to make between dysfunction and injury is purely medical. Injury is diagnosed. Dysfunction isn’t. However, they are both the same to me. Injury is just the breaking point where you can see the damage dysfunction has caused over time… where micro-trauma had built up faster than it could be healed.

So anyway, the first goal of a lower body basketball training program should be to maximize efficiency and minimize inefficiency to prevent imbalance, dysfunction, and injury.

Of the most common problems among basketball players are low back back and knee pain, and often times, these can be traced back almost exclusively towards imbalances around the hip.

In part 3, I’ll cover what a solid lower body basketball training program must address to prevent these problems and subsequently maximize performance.

If you play basketball and regularly have knee and low back pain, you won’t want to miss it!

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2 Responses to Lower Body Training for Basketball (Part 2)

  1. David D. Aguilar says:

    you really knocked this post out of the park. this type of writing is right in your wheelhouse. ugh, i’ll stop using baseball-isms.

  2. Pingback: Lower Body Training for Basketball (Part 3) | Dribble Penetration- A Basket Blog

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