Muscles Used in Shooting a Basketball

Shooting a basketball requires the muscles of your upper body to work together.
i Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images

Shooting a basketball is a split-second maneuver, and it's likely you never think about the complex movements going on inside your body. But large groups of muscles must work together when shooting a basketball, and minor injuries in any single muscle can interfere with your accuracy and cause pain.


When you shoot a basketball, you are primarily relying on the muscles of your arms to direct your shot and propel the ball forward. The triceps extend your elbow and play a major role in shooting. The biceps, by contrast, flex the elbow and are important both for aiming and for returning your arm to its normal position after shooting. The muscles of the forearm -- particularly the wrist extensors -- play a vital role by moving your wrist and opening and closing your fingers.


The trapezius, which is located at the collarbone, and the deltoid, which surrounds the joint of the shoulder near the arm, are the primary shoulder muscles involved in shooting a basketball. These muscles help to raise your arm and rotate your shoulders as you aim and then shoot.


The pectoral muscles help to move your arms and shoulders forward when leaning forward to shoot and release the basketball. The pectoralis major, the most visible pectoral muscle, and the pectoralis minor, which is located under the pectoralis major, both help to move your shoulders and arms forward.


There are 17 muscles in the hand, and when you grip a basketball, shift the positioning of your fingers or lose your grip, these muscles play a role. The long flexors and extensors that extend throughout the hand are the most important muscle group involved in shooting a basketball.


While you don't have to use your legs to shoot a basketball, proper form requires that your quadriceps be engaged to bend your knees. When you jump while shooting, the calves work to bend your feet to give you momentum.

the nest