I train quite a few baseball players and it seems that all pitchers have issues with the shoulder. The one’s that don’t are getting there.  Not many players pay attention to the fact that baseball is an incredibly uni-lateral sport and there is too much pithing volume in practice. Since I can’t change the coaches mind about the pitching, I make sure that each and every pitcher I train (and other overhead athletes as well) are doing these exercises:

- The Sleeper Stretch. Posterior capsule stretching in overhead athletes is a must. Research has demonstrated that glenohumeral  internal rotation deficit (GIRD) has a high correlation with overhead throwing athletes. This stretch should be included daily and you can seriously decrease the instance of injuries.


Sleeper Stretch

Don’t sleep on the "sleeper stretch"

- Soft Tissue Work. Getting work done on the adhesion in the shoulder can signifcantly improve shoulder function. This will come in the form of a foam roller or a lacrosse ball for the majority (most efficient as far as time and money is concerned). In this instance we should focus on getting in on the posterior shoulder girdle with the lacrosse ball and improving the quality of the tissue. If you have a chance I would definitely advise you to see an ART (Active Release Therapy), Graston or Rollfing specialist as they can be the most useful in breaking up the junk in your shoulder.

- Shoulder and Thoracic Spine Mobilizations.The thoracic spine (upper back) indirectly influences the shoulder, since it’s lack of mobility is related to shoulder issues. One of the best things you can do to improve upper back mobility is foam roller segmentals. For shoulder mobility I look to use cross lat mobilizations as they are very good for increasing internal rotation ROM of the shoulder.

foam roller thoracic extensions

 Thoracic Extensions - do them, and you might get more chicks


- The Band Pull Apart. This exercise actively stretches the pec and strengthens the upper back. Most baseball players need more shoulder stability and this is a great exercise. Don’t ask me about too much details - just do it.


band pull aparts

Band Pull
Aparts - If Jim Wendler does them you should do them too!


- Prone Internal Rotations. These are important for subscap function. Considering that our scapula is extremely important in stabilizing the shoulder this is a great exercise to help with injury prevention and shoulder health and improve shoulder flexibility.

If you are serious about keeping your shoulders healthy then you should definitely start implementing the above exercises and techniques into your warm ups and activation. Not only will this keep your shoulders healthier but it will also improve your performance.

There are other issues further down the kinetic chain that influence shoulder problems (we have to look at the body as one integrated machine) and we must learn to look elsewhere when we have injuries. I will touch on some of the other issues in a later post.