Knee pain is not something you have to endure throughout your entire career!
Your inability to jump, run or change direction to your full potential will negatively impact your game.
An adequately designed Strength & Conditioning program addressing these three main areas below will develop the building blocks of a resilient and productive career!
- Restore Mobility
- Emphasize Recovery
- Build Strength & Power
The cause of your knee pain can be related to a lack of hip and/or ankle mobility, which prevents your knee joint from moving optimally. Your goal is to limit the difference in range of motion between the injured and uninjured leg. Here are the mobility drills we recommend to most of our athletes:
- Hip Flexor Stretch
- Half Kneeling Adductor Stretch
- Figure Four Stretch
- Calf Stretch
- In Step with Rotation
- Assisted Hip Airplane
- Kettlebell Weight Shift
You should follow these mobility drills to prepare accordingly for your practices and games; make sure to foam roll before to release the fascia (tissue surrounding the muscles) and efficiently improve your range of motion.
Emphasize Fuel & Recovery
Yes, indeed- Ball is life!
If you want to play consistently at an elite level without lingering knee pain, organize your training schedule to make your practices/training more productive and prioritize quality sleep and recovery strategies.
You must step up your nutrition game to keep your energy levels up. Most basketball players who experience knee pain have difficulty recovering from one game/practice to another because they do not know how to fuel appropriately.
For optimal fuel, you need quality:
- Protein (Chicken, Beef, Salmon, Shrimp, etc.)
- Fruits & Vegetables (Apple, Orange, Banana, Lettuce, Carrots, Peppers, etc.)
- Carbs (Baked Potato, Sweet Potato, White Rice, etc.)
- Healthy Fats (Avocado, Almonds, Walnuts, Olive Oil, etc.)
Read the article “Recover to Ball Harder” for more information on recovery.
Build Strength & Power
Your Strength & Conditioning program should target the following muscles to build resiliency:
- Quadriceps (Vastus Medialis Oblique)
- Hip Flexors (Psoas)
One of these muscles’ weaknesses could cause knee pain because you cannot stabilize it efficiently whenever you are explosive. It would be best to start with exercises with minimal knee bend to prevent aggravation during rehabilitation. Consider these exercises in your program (with the first three exercises, squeeze a soft ball between your knees to target your adductors):
- Psoas Band Hold
- Hip Lift
- Isometric Hamstring Curl
- Romanian Deadlift
- The Touchdown (Single Leg Squat)
As you get stronger, gradually incorporate strength exercises with increased knee bend and plyometrics:
Not only will you feel more stable, but you will be more confident performing at a high intensity, and you will see an increase in your vertical jump and explosiveness.
To keep your game at an elite level, make sure you have all the angles covered by being conscious of these three areas of development – Mobility, Recovery, and Strength & Power!!
If you need help developing your plan for the next level, feel free to reach out. We can get you there!