MOBILITY TRAINING: What Will a Baseball Player Lose Over the Season?
In last week’s article, I discussed what you should be focusing on in your off-season program. This week’s article is dedicated on mobility training, and knowing the WHY behind your program decisions.
I think it’s important to constantly re-assess before entering an offseason program: where are you stiff, where are you hypermobile, and where do you have pain (if there is any present).
Over the course of a long season, baseball players (pitcher’s in particular) will lose some shoulder internal rotation and elbow extension due to the violent nature of throwing a baseball.
You will most likely see a decrease of overhead mobility due to some shortened tissues of the upper torso. Attacking these mobility concerns will allow the player to first have a more controlled range of motion, and second be able to regain some strength in this new functional range of motion.
At the lower half of the body, pitchers will lose internal rotation in their back leg, and catchers will get some cranky hips at the end of a long season.
Again, re-assessing before an offseason program can give further insight on where you are stiff/hypermobile, and where you have some motor control issues.
Here is an upper body mobility circuit that you can perform in the off-season to restore any losses in ROM.
General Upper Body Mobility Circuit
While strength training is essential in rate of force development for the baseball player, maintaining upper body tissue integrity is just as important. The throwing motion is the fastest motion in ALL of sports!
At the end of a season as previously mentioned, throwers will most likely lose some internal rotation and elbow extension.
After repeated throwing, muscles that are rapidly lengthened will become tight as a protective mechanism.
- Lacrosse Ball – Posterior Shoulder Release
- Lacrosse Ball – Teres/Lat Release
- Side Lying Windmill
- Side Lying Book Openers
- Supine PVC OH Reaching
- PVC Pectoral Mobilization
- Reach, Roll, Lift
- Quadruped Scapular Rotations
- Extension and Rotation
- Back to Wall Shoulder Flexion
Rather than performing these entire mobility circuits, you can also use a “plug-and-play” system with your strength exercises. This allows for greater time efficiency rather than just resting between your sets.
Like previous research has stated, performing a low amount of static stretching before throwing does not alter mechanics and throwing velocity. These exercises are great to be used as a warm up prior to throwing!
Like Gray Cook says, we don’t want to build on top of dysfunction. Before focusing on gaining mass and strength, try focusing on your individual tissue needs so that your body can move properly with more advanced movements.
Jarad Vollkommer, CSCS