Muscles Used During Basketball


Basketball is a dynamic sport that simultaneously activates muscles throughout your body to coordinate complex, multi-joint movements with precision. Playing basketball can help you build muscular endurance, stamina and strength, because it involves constant muscle contractions and explosive bursts of speed and power. Weight-training workouts can also improve your basketball performance by strengthening the muscles that power basketball moves like sprinting, jumping and shooting.

Butt and Thighs

You use the muscles in your butt and thighs while playing basketball. The quadriceps muscles, which form the front of your thighs, straighten the knee joint every time you run across the court or jump vertically. Your hamstrings are the group of muscles that form the back of your thighs, and bend your knee each time you lift your leg to run across the court or squat down in a defensive position or as you prepare to take a shot. The hamstrings also work with the gluteus maximus to hyperextend your hips, which moves your thigh back during running or jumping activities in basketball.


The calf muscles of your lower leg — the soleus and gastrocnemius, a group referred to as the triceps surae — are responsible for ankle movements that point your toes down and away from your leg. Your calf muscles contract constantly as you move around the court, helping you maintain balance and stabilization during rapid multi-directional movements or when bumping into other players. Strengthening the calf muscles also improves your vertical jump for shooting. Just before your feet leave the ground, your calves contract to bring you up on your toes and launch your body into the air.

Upper Body

Playing basketball activates muscles throughout your upper body, particularly muscles that control your shoulder joint, shoulder blades, elbows and wrist. Dribbling involves your deltoids, triceps, biceps and forearm muscles. Strong deltoids, pectoral and triceps muscles enable you to shoot the ball over an opponent with more force and power. Aligning your body for shooting also calls on the deltoids and back muscles. Strong biceps improve your ability to grab rebounds quickly and regain position of the ball.


Your core muscles include the muscles around your hips, lower back and abdomen. The core muscles stabilize all of your body movements while playing basketball by keeping your spine and hip joints in alignment. The abdominals and erector spinae work together to control the trunk of your body. Hip muscles move your thighs forward as you move around the court, and rotate your lower back when you change direction. Strengthening your core makes all your movements more efficient while playing basketball by adding stability to your joints, which allows different muscle groups to work together more effectively.