“Bend over ! “, ” Get your butt down ! ».
We’ve heard these phrases over and over again in our games and practices. But it’s never been meaningless, we just need to show that it makes sense.
Basketball requires specific movements as well as a reference position from which the globality of these movements derives. I will therefore present this one to you as well as some keys to develop it and make it as efficient as possible.
The bent position of the basketball player is the reference position for any player and has several particularities.
It requires a flexion of the hips, knees about 90° (photo above), the right bust slightly inclined forward with the arms available as well as the head. The pelvis must also be in anteversion.
From this position, you can easily move around the field. Whether with the ball (dribbling start, running with the ball, …) or without the ball for offensive or defensive actions.
The reason is very simple. In the standing position with outstretched legs, the outward and inward movements of the foot are only possible by the work of the hip, while in the bent position the hips do not participate. For the player it will then be possible to move sideways, backwards or to stand up quickly to defend for example.
The more we are bent, the more effective our movements and actions will be.
I will therefore present in this article how to develop a strong flex position in order to be competitive in the field.
I) Determinants of the flex position
a) Joint mobility
Joint mobility is defined as the ability of a joint to move through its full range of motion, with control to reach a particular position.
Our body has a series of joints that are called “mobile” and others that are “stable”. This is the “Joint by Joint” approach developed by Mike Boyle and Gray Cook and demonstrated in the book Advances in Functional Training.
The premise of this approach is to define the human body as a joint stack that from bottom to top produces mobility or provides stability.
For our bent position, a lack of mobility or stability (which we will see later) deteriorates the effectiveness of key basketball actions such as the ability to defend on the opposite side.
Movement is a result of posture. Posture anticipates movement so that an unbalanced posture cannot give consistent movement.
On the posture, the lack of mobility is translated by several mechanisms called “compensation” which can be observed by :
– The pelvis in retroversion, with a rounded lower back.
– An increase in knee angle (>90°) which will reduce the efficiency of all important movements in the field.
– A more important cervical lordosis which will pull the head even further back when we know that the horizontality of the gaze is very important for the taking of information on the field of play in a match.
– Less availability of the arms.
– In general, less speed and efficiency in movements and difficulties in holding one’s opponent.
This lack of mobility can be explained by rapid growth (less mobile joint structure) and also by a specificity of movements and movements too early. Indeed, when we neglect a part of our body due to lack of work, our brain will tend to forget it in favour of the structures that are most solicited.
Our athletes tend to specify themselves in specific amplitudes and movements. Our work will therefore move towards a “de-specialization” and work in all ranges of movement.
You will then have to develop your joint mobility for your ankles (ability to flex), your hips (positioning of the pelvis) and your rib cage (availability of arms and head).
For this you can refer to the work and videos developed by Fabrice SERRANO who has developed his principles of physical preparation around this flexed position.
He proposes several evolutionary situations reserved for the basketball player to gain joint mobility and thus develop his flexed position.
b) Muscle strengthening
As presented above, more stability will also be needed to make progress and achieve an efficient benchmark position.
Stability is achieved through muscle strengthening.
Even joints that are “mobile” will need to be strengthened in order to prevent injury while contributing to the gain in mobility.
I therefore advise you to select the movements that are most likely to be found on a basketball court:
– Squat (in all its amplitudes)
– Slots (with amplitude variations but also with integrated pivots)
– Develop the sural triceps (calves) for the ankle
– Developing the buttocks for the hip
– Shoulders and scapular belt
In a logic of progression, we will go through several stages to allow the key amplitudes of the bent position to be reinforced and thus have gains in bending amplitude.
The first step will be to go through an isometry phase in order to be able to recruit the maximum number of fibres. The isometric work, of long duration, will enable the Renshaw circuit, which intervenes in the nerve control during muscle contraction, to be played on. It participates in the inhibition of the antagonistic muscles so that the agonist muscles (actors of the contraction) can contract more easily.
Inhibiting this circuit will engage the desynchronized muscle fibers of the antagonist muscles. This will therefore recruit more fibres and muscle strengthening will be more important.
We will therefore be able to work in greater amplitudes as we go along.
Eccentric work will require you to control the descent phase during your movements with relatively long tempos.
The almost isometric eccentric allows you to progressively tend towards extreme amplitudes. These extreme amplitudes will activate the tendon organs of the golgi. This activation will allow our nervous system to reach these amplitudes, which will have actions at the structural level.
Muscular reinforcement also allows gains in mobility. Dynamic (concentric) work will allow us to gain in stability and thus prevent injuries for our bent position.
Self-massage tools such as rollers or lacrosse balls are becoming more and more popular. They are mainly used as a warm-up, as a means of recuperation and also contribute to the gains in mobility and flexibility.
These massages will allow a slackening of the soft tissues (fascias) which will allow a gain of articular amplitude by a better gliding of the muscular and articular structures.
Using self-massages at the beginning of your session before your mobility postures will allow you to optimize the gains in range of motion (ROM).
At the end of the session, this will allow you to recover from your session but above all to precede your stretching and there also to gain in amplitude.
In contrast to mobility, flexibility refers only to the ability of a joint to move through large amplitudes and return to its original position. It uses only the “elastic” capacity of the muscle and the joint without having the “functional” aspect of mobility.
The difficulty of setting up a flexible workout is that it must be programmed far from training sessions because it constitutes a work axis in its own right. It is therefore delicate when you train twice a day throughout the week and the in can play twice at the weekend.
You can integrate this aspect during your summer periods when you will have more time to work.
The flexed position of the basketball player is a benchmark in field performance. Most decisive actions are derived from this position and it is therefore necessary to develop it further.
This requires sufficient joint mobility, adequate muscle strengthening, but also the use of self-massage and the development of flexibility.
Gaps in any one of these elements can create compensations that will disrupt the efficiency of all the movements that result from this posture. You will jump less high to catch a bounce, you will be less explosive on your dribbling starts to overtake your opponents or you will move less easily in defense to contain your opponent.
If you ever want to go further, I advise you to take an interest in the work of Fabrice SERRANO and the book “l’art du mouvement” by Aurélien Broussal-Derval and Stéphane Ganneau published by 4Trainer.
See you soon on the fields!
“La préparation physique Basketball” F.Kuhn, G.Veta et B.Grosgeorge, 4Trainer editions.
“L’art du mouvement” A.Broussal-Derval, S.Ganneau, 4Trainer editions.
“Préparation Physique, prophylaxie et performance des qualités physiques” B.Del Moral, PhysiquesPerformance editions.
“La prophylaxie en sport de haut niveau, Expériences de terrain” A-L.Morigny, C.Keller, INSEP editions.
Fabrice Serrano’s Youtube channel (his name)
Work of Quentin Ott and Mathieu Carpentier with pôles Espoirs of the Ligue Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes of Basketball.