Why young basketballer's build the strongest bones

written by

Steve McAdam

Research shows that adults who regularly played basketball in their youth have a higher peak bone mass and have less bone fractures as an athlete or in their everyday life. The term ‘peak bone mass’ refers to our maximum level of bone strength and is achieved by our early 20’s. If we miss the opportunity to build our peak bone mass throughout our childhood and adolescent years, we cannot make up for it as adults.

To build bone strength we need to load them in a way that causes break down and a subsequent improved rebuild. Swimming, cycling, walking and even running forces are too low to achieve great results in building bone density.

We need to jump! A study by Gordon et al. (2017) reported the key factors to produce this force are fast, random and high-moderate jumping impact.

The jumping movement within a jump shot achieves these forces. The stimulus required is 100 jumps per session in younger children & 300 in older children (Gunter et al, 2012).

Basketball specific moves like rebounding, blocking shots, shooting over a defender, lay-ups & long-range shots all involve medium-high jumps. For coaches and conditioning staff, a great way to make sure we get these jumps in is to include these types of activities in warm-ups and early training drills. This way the entire team benefits, not just the players that take the most shots.

So, to the youngsters, get the shots up! To the coaches and trainers, start implementing these force jumps into training to produce the strongest athletes.

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