THE TRAINING TABLE: Exercises are in abundance for lateral movements

| December 21, 2012 | Comments (0)

(Editor’s Note: The Training Table is a series of editorials and columns from certified athletic trainers in the area regarding sports training, fitness and nutrition. Certified athletic trainers who wish to get involved and submit columns, photos and videos on a weekly or monthly rotation may contact Senior Editor Dan Stickradt by email at


Licensed Athletic Trainer

DMC Sports  Performance Academy

A fundamental movement in basketball is the ability to move side to side multiple times and in a fast manner. The quality and quickness of this movement will determine if the defender can close off the baseline, keep up with the offensive opponent and box out for a rebound. Try these simple exercises to allow improved quality of side to side motion and a boost in lateral acceleration:

1. Lateral Lunge: Start by standing with your feet shoulder width apart with your hips, knees and ankle aligned in a vertical line on both sides. Pick up your right foot and step sideways about 18 inches, making sure your toes continue to point straight ahead. Keep your chest upright and squat down by bending at the hip/knee and ankle. The vertical straight alignment should still be in effect on the right side, while the left foot is flat on the ground and the left leg is locked out. Return to the original start position and repeat on left side. As long as your form is correct, you can do reps until fatigue; progress by adding arm movement and or weights.

2. Lateral bounding:  In the same lateral lunge start position, pick up your right foot and jump off your left leg as high as you can. Really make sure you explode off that left leg with good hip, knee and ankle extension. Land on your right leg in at least 60 degrees of knee flexion with your chest upright and hip, knee and toes in alignment. This exercise will add power to the strength and movement foundation from the lateral lunge exercise. Do 5-10 reps with perfect form.

3. Speed Shuffle: Set up cones that are 15 feet apart. In a defensive stance with toes pointing straight ahead and proper hip/knee/foot alignment, shuffle to the right by pushing off the left big toe as hard and fast as possible. Make sure you don’t use the right leg to pull you. Remember, it is easier to push a broken down car than to pull one. Shuffle to the cone and as soon as you touch it with your hand, explode to the left cone. Do this for 3-5 repetitions. This drill is often done with poor technique. If you can master this drill with great push off, then you will be much faster on defense.

Dave Phlbrick

4. Random Shuffle Drill: Using verbal or visual cues from a coach, shuffle as fast as possible in one direction. As soon as the coach gives the cue, immediately shuffle in the opposite direction without hesitation. Seems like a simple drill, but try it without allowing your body to stand up, toes to point outward, knees to cave inward or outward at the moment of direction change, and don’t let yourself slow down. You can also see how many changes of direction you can properly make in a timed setting. Try to beat your score each time you do this drill.

With all speed drills, you have to make sure you have a good movement pattern and strength base in order to properly build speed. Really make an effort to improve the mobility in your ankles and hips in order to allow your muscles to build the most elastic power before doing these drills.

(Dave Philbrick is a certified athletic trainer for DMC Sports Performance Academy and a contributor to The Training Table at and The Real Deal sports and coupons magazine. He can be reached by email at

Category: Featured Articles, Guest Column, High School, High School (M-Z), Most Recently Updated Stories, Prep Wraps, Sponsors, Sponsors Counterpoint, Sports Medicine, Sports Shorts, Uncategorized

About Dan Stickradt: DAN STICKRADT | SENIOR EDITOR View author profile.

Leave a Reply

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a Gravatar.