Four activities pitchers can focus on during their “rest” period
n an ideal world, pitchers should get three to five days off between starts or pitching assignments. This “rest” period between starts allows pitcher’s bodies to recover from the rigors of throwing and also helps to reduce injuries. These days off from throwing are an essential part of a pitcher’s in-season regimen, but this rest period needs to be organized and specific. One question that I get asked often is: “What type of rest should I be doing?” “Should this be ‘rest’ like lying on the couch, or be more active?” We at the Sports Medicine Center for Young Athletes feel that this “rest” period between pitching is a great time to add in some corrective and protective strengthening exercises and stretches. These stretches and exercises should focus on correcting movement patterns and releasing tight or overused tissues. Here is a list of three of our favorite exercises, as well as one of our favorite stretches for pitcher’s “off days.” EXERCISES: 1 — W’s on the ball: This is a great rotator cuff and posterior scapular strengthening exercises. To do this exercise
Health Watch James Faison
July 14, 2011
An example of the ‘reverse lunge with single-arm row’ exercise. This is a particularly strong exercise for pitchers as it combines two of the motions involved in pitching, a lunge and a pull.
you need one of those large stability balls. Start by lying on your stomach atop of the ball with your feet on the ground and your arms down by your sides. Bend your elbows and squeeze your shoulder blades together (your arms should look like the letter ‘W’ from above). Repeat 10 repetitions. 2 — Side steps with band: This exercise is for the lateral hip muscles which are very important in throwing and pitching. For this exercise you need a resistance band tied into a loop. You start standing up with the band wrapped around your ankles. Standing up tall, step to the side and stretch the band out while keeping your feet pointing straight ahead.
Continue walking laterally for 10 yards and then return back the opposite direction. 3 — Reverse lunge with single arm row: This exercise combines two of the motions that are involved in pitching: a lunge and a pull. For this exercise you need a resistance band that is attached to a stable object (for example, one closed in a doorway). Start standing up with the band in your left hand, and then do a reverse lunge with your left leg bending both knees. Hold in the lunge position and do a single arm row with the band (squeezing your shoulder blade back). Repeat 10 times on that side and then switch to the right side. PITCHER’S STRETCH: 1 — Standing posterior capsule stretch on wall: Start with your right shoulder against a wall and your arm against the wall at a 90-degree angle (parallel with the floor). Slowly turn your body to the left, keeping your shoulder and arm on the wall. You should feel a stretch in the back side of your shoulder (posterior capsule stretch). This part of the shoulder gets very tight after pitching and needs to be stretched out so your shoulder does not lose internal rotation. Try these exercises and stretches on your ‘off days’ to keep that shoulder strong and ready for your next start! ✪
James Faison is an athletic trainer and a certified strength and conditioning specialist for the staff of Sports Medicine For Young Athletes, a division of Children’s Hospital Oakland with a facility also located in Walnut Creek. If you have questions or comments regarding the “Health Watch” column, write the Sports Medicine For Young Athletes staff at Health@SportStarsMag.com.
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