Here’s 7 yoga poses, exercises that will improve basketball performance

We know what you’re thinking — what does yoga have to do with basketball? What would you say if we said that yoga helps with basketball in terms of recovery, flexibility and movements related to hooping??

It does. More than you would expect. In fact, there’s a lot of unexpected exercises, sports and movements that can help with basketball including ballet, swimming, and HIIT. If you weren’t interested in yoga and it’s benefits to basketball, you wouldn’t be reading this, so stick with us and we’ll give you some yoga poses that will improve your performance on the court.

How Does Yoga Improve Basketball Performance?

Basketball has been around over a long time; over century, but yoga has been around for over 5,000 years. It’s regarded as a very effective form of exercise that is accessible to people from all walks of life. Practicing yoga requires little or no equipment and can be done just about anywhere and by anyone.

Just how does it make one a better basketball player? Do you find yourself fading in the fourth quarter or exhausted after a few times up and down the court? With yoga, you can jump higher, run a little faster and just compete better. Basketball is not only a game of skill, but athleticism, strength, stamina and endurance are equally as important to become a fully-functional player. When you hear that LeBron James is spending $1.5 million a year on his health (or half that), you can believe he’s not just buying more basketballs and Nike shoes.

Here’s 7 Yoga Exercises to Becoming a Better Ball Player

In this post, we’re going to go over a handful of yoga poses that athletes can use to develop strength and increase their endurance, which translates to less fatigue on the court, to becoming a more intense basketball player with an overall better performance.

Take note that anytime you perform new exercises your body isn’t accustomed to, you will get sore (most likely after performing these). The soreness is an indicator that you’ve challenged your body in a way it hasn’t adapted to, so no need to worry! You don’t want the soreness to linger though. Recovering from soreness quickly allows you to train harder and progress more often. Recovery compression gear is a great tool to use to help you speed the recovery process.


The plank is one of the most basic yoga poses and a great place to start. While the plank is generally considered a core exercise, the position also recruits muscles in your arms and legs. To perform a plank, kneel down to the mat and place all of your weight on your hands and toes.

From this position, slowly push your hips outward while extending your arms and legs and hold it momentarily–then reverse the position. This exercise will cause a burning sensation in your abdomen, and you will most likely be very sore 24 hours after performing it.

Forward Bend

The forward bend is an awesome way to stretch the hamstrings and the entire posterior chain. These muscles tend to tighten up with intense workouts and basketball practice. This position lengthens these muscles and helps relieve tension in your lower back. To perform the forward bend, simply stand with both feet firmly planted on the ground and lean forward. Take note that by rounding your back you will get a much better stretch in your glutes and spinal erectors while performing the forward bend.

Four-Limbed Staff Pose

The four-limbed staff pose is one of the most challenging poses in yoga and a great way to develop upper body strength. Starting from the plank position, bend your arms and lower your body towards the ground until your elbows create a 90-degree angle. Hold the position for as many breaths as you can. It’s important to emphasize keeping your elbows at your sides, as they will want to flare out when fatigued. For our stronger readers, you can try transitioning from the four-limbed staff to a plank after 5 breaths and then repeat (essentially performing a push up with a pause in between transitions).

Crow Pose

The crow pose is a true test of your upper body strength, as you will have to balance all of your weight on both palms. The crow strengthens the upper arms, forearms and wrists while improving balance and coordination. To perform the crow, begin by standing and descend into a squat. Squat low enough so that your thighs touch your biceps. From this position, place both palms firmly on the ground and raise your hips up while keeping your head down. With all your weight transferred onto your palms, slowly lift each foot off the ground. This is a tricky one. Refer to the photo to get a better idea.

If this pose is too difficult to pull off initially, try a modified crow where you lift a single leg at a time and alternate legs by placing one on the ground while lifting the other and vice versa. While the move may be difficult at first, it is a valuable tool that can strengthen your core and upper body muscles.

Chair Pose

The chair pose is a great exercise for strengthening the muscles of the thighs. To perform the chair pose, begin by standing and bend your knees as if you were about to sit on a chair. When your legs create a 90-degree angle, push your hips back and hold the position while you lift your arms above your head.

This stance is similar to the position taken when pressuring a defender on the basketball court; the muscles used for each activity are identical. Focus on holding the position for as long as you can and build it up ideally to a minute or longer.

Leaning Crescent Pose

From the chair pose, you can make an easy transition into the leaning crescent pose. Starting from the chair pose, lunge forward on one leg and firmly plant the foot. On your rear foot, your heel should be lifted off the ground. With your feet staggered, lift your arms toward the sky.

The leaning crescent strengthens the muscles in the front thigh (the thigh that should be supporting the majority of your weight) and stretches the muscles of the rear thigh. Be sure to switch thighs after a rest period to work both sides evenly.

Standing Frog Pose

This is another pose similar to the chair pose. The standing frog works the thighs and core very well. From the chair pose, squat a bit deeper and point both of your feet outward. Your feet should be about 6 to 8 inches wider than shoulder width for this one and your knees should be at a 90-degree angle. Once your legs are in the correct position, contract your abdominal muscles and tuck your tailbone down slightly. You should feel a stretch in the muscles of your groin as well as your hips while holding the pose. Aim to hold this one as long as your thighs will allow it. As with the other poses, track your times and focus on building it up.

Try incorporating these yoga movements into your basketball drills for some strength and endurance gains, but don’t overdo it by doing yoga before a basketball game. Let your body rest. And don’t forget to use compression gear to help promote circulation and recovery. Stay safe and train hard.



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