Arm Care and Shoulder Exercises for Baseball Players
Like all athletes, baseball and softball players depend on every joint and muscle group in the body, and any injury can have a devastating impact on performance. But for throwing sports, there’s no joint more important to the game and more in need of strength and protection than the shoulder. Even a small shoulder injury can sideline a baseball or softball player for weeks, so it’s a good idea for healthy players to keep the shoulder area flexible and strong and injured players to repair shoulder damage with low impact, targeted exercises that facilitate the rehab process.
Softball and baseball players can watch the video below and follow along with Trevor Theismann as he moves through a set of shoulder exercises designed to strengthen and protect the shoulder joint and the rotator cuff. These moves require only a few minutes a day and involve no equipment other than a chain-link fence and a simple, portable set of KB PowerBands.
For the first move in this set of shoulder exercises, users will need to select the resistance band with the appropriate level of tension and clip that band to the handle of the KB PowerBands. Each set of equipment comes with four bands in four different colors that offer varying levels of resistance, but it’s important to choose a tension level that isn’t too high. If the resistance in the band is too intense, this move will begin to target the deltoid muscles in the back, and baseball players will want to avoid that and keep the tension in the rotator cuff where it can bring the greatest benefit.
Once users have selected a level of tension and attached the band to the handle, they can clip the other end of the resistance band to the fence at belt or belly-button height. Players can hold the handle in the arm furthest from the anchor point and stand with the body perpendicular to the fence. Players can then keep the arm straight at the elbow and swing wide, extending the band fully and then slowly allowing it to relax. The return motion will target the decelerator muscles, which are vital to the throwing motion, so the return swing of the arm should be controlled and take a full three seconds.
This move should be completed 12 to 15 times, three seconds each. Completing this move on each side of the body should require about ten minutes total.
Shoulder Exercises: The Rotator Cuff
For the next move in the set, the baseball player will simply turn his body so he’s facing the fence. Then, with the shoulder extended from the body and the elbow bent at a right angle, he rotates the shoulder so the handle rises up and slowly decelerates back down. Again, the deceleration is key to the success of this move, so the return rotation should be slow and controlled. This move strengthens the motion at the height of the throw, just as the ball passes the midline of the body, so it adds power to the release of the ball and also protects the shoulder muscle from tears.
Like the last one, this move should be completed in three sets of 12 to 15 reps with 30-40 second breaks between each set.
Shoulder Exercises: Dynamic Lunges
The next move targets multiple joints in a dynamic, full body lunge. Users can attach the resistance band to the fence at a point near the ground, then stand perpendicular to the fence with the handle in the distant hand and the feet shoulder width apart. As the move begins, the arm will stay straight at the elbow and rise into the air across the body, and the distant foot will step away from the fence in a slow lunging motion. The hips will drop toward the ground and the entire center of gravity will lean away from the fence. Then the user will stand back up, return the feet to shoulder width position, and slowly lower the arm, reducing the tension in the band. This move will depend on a full range of motion. Users should be careful to extend every joint fully and, as with the other exercise in this set, focus on keeping the deceleration slow and controlled. This move will require 12-15 reps in three sets with 30 second breaks in between in each set.
Shoulder Exercises: Downward Shoulder Extensions
This next move is designed to reduce soreness in the anterior deltoid by working the area gently and removing excess lactic acid build up. Users can clip the band high up on the fence and then stand with the feet staggered and the handle in the hand closest to the fence. When in position, the user can bring the arm down from above and forward, then slowly back up again, releasing the tension in the band. As always, the motion should be steady and slow, and both arms should be given equal attention. Shoulder Exercises: Downward Cross Body Shoulder Extensions For the next move, users can simply transfer the handle into the other hand (the hand farther from the fence) and draw the band in a downward motion, pulling the band tight across the chest.
Shoulder Exercises: Supported Shoulder Rotations
The final move in this set will target the rotator cuff and can be important to both strength-building and rehab. The user will stand in the same position as above (perpendicular to the fence), but will unclip the band and reattach it to the fence at belt level. Then the user can hold the handle in the distant hand and tuck a towel between the upper arm and body for support. When in position, he can bend the elbow in a right angle and swing the arm outward, like a gate, keeping the elbow tucked against the body.
Shoulder Exercises: Final Notes
These exercises can be completed all at once, or users can mix and match each move and customize a shoulder workout that meets their specific needs. In either case, these moves shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes, three to four times per week. Remember: while these moves can build strength and support rehab efforts, they shouldn’t be completed if the shoulder is actively injured or the nerves are impinged and in pain. In this case, it’s better to leave the shoulder alone for the time being and let it rest. For more information about shoulder strength, throwing exercises, shoulder rehab, and purchasing details for the KB PowerBands, visit Kbands website at KbandsTraining.com.
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