It’s that time of year again! Spring is almost here which means baseball season is officially here!! When starting spring training, it’s important for the players to maintain proper shoulder mobility as repetitive overhead throwing can cause tightness of the shoulder and chest, typically resulting in loss of throwing velocity and overuse injuries. I’ve incorporated a combination of mobility and strengthening exercises below for the baseball player to reduce the likelihood of injury to the throwing arm over the course of a long season.
This stretch addresses the muscles in the back of the shoulder which are prone to tightness in overhead athletes. This stretch is performed lying on the involved side with hips and knees bent. The involved shoulder and elbow are positioned in 90 degrees of flexion. The hand of the uninvolved arm grasps the elbow of the involved arm and gently pulls it across the body. Once a mild stretch is felt on the outside or back of the shoulder, this position is held for approximately 30 seconds.
Thoracic Spine Windmill
This is a great dynamic mobility drill to restore thoracic spine rotation and improve the flexibility of the lats and pectoral muscles. Begin on your side with both arms outstretched in front of you. Place a foam roll under your top leg with the knee and hip bent to 90 degrees. The bottom knee and hip remain extended throughout the exercise. Reach forward with your top hand and then complete a large circular windmill motion as you rotate your entire upper body. Keep reaching as if you were attempting to lengthen your entire arm. Follow your hand with your eyes to ensure proper thoracic spine and rib cage movement. The top knee and leg should remain in contact with the foam roll throughout the exercise. Perform 10 reps on each side.
Side lying external rotation with dumbbell
Lie on uninvolved side with involved arm at side of body and elbow bent to 90. Keeping the elbow of involved arm fixed to side, raise arm with dumbbell in hand. Hold for 2 seconds and lower back to starting position. Perform 2 sets of 20 reps. Make sure to start light and work up to 3 pounds. It is more about proper form and range of motion rather than the amount of weight. Start at 2 sets of 20 reps and progress to 3 sets of 20 reps as able.
Lower trap strengthening on stability ball
Seated on SB, with both arms fixed at side and elbows bent to 90 degrees. thumbs facing upwards. Grasp tubing with both hands and rotate both shoulders outward, rotating thumbs until parallel with floor. Hold for 2 seconds then return to starting position. Perform 2 sets of 15-20 reps.
Lie on stomach on stability ball, face down, with both arms hanging straight to floor and palms facing down. Raise both arms out to the side parallel to the floor, hold for 2 seconds then lower slowly back to starting position. Add weight as able, perform 2 sets of 15 reps.
Our team of experts at Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc can design a sport specific rehab program that incorporates a combination of strengthening and range of motion exercises for the overhead athlete. This program is created to help the athlete return to the field from injury, improve form, and work to avoid injuries in the future.
Kaitlyn Grell, LPTA
Physical Therapist Assistant
Physical Therapy Consultants, Inc.
PTC_therapy March 14th, 2018
Posted In: General
Tags: baseball, injury prevention, overhead athlete, throwing