Baseball pitchers can put undue strain on their arms over time. The continuous throwing motion can wear out the arm muscles, ligaments and tendons. By strengthening the pitching arm through stretches and weight resistance, a pitcher can save himself from long-term damage, stay in the game longer or recover faster.
Stretching is a good exercise for pitchers. It can help prevent bad mechanics or "pitcher's elbow," which is continuous pain in the elbow from strained tendons. The rotator cuff stretch consists of you holding your right arm across your chest, pulling your shoulder across your chest. Simultaneously put your left hand on your right elbow. Push down on your left hand with the elbow, hold in position for 10 seconds, then release to the starting position. Repeat five times for a set.
Another stretch is the posterior shoulder stretch. Stand with feet shoulder width apart and keep your back straight. Hold your pitching arm at the elbow. Raise the arm at chest level and pull it across your body until you feel resistance. Hold for 10 seconds, return to the starting position, then repeat five times for a set.
For an inferior shoulder stretch, hold the pitching arm in the same manner as the posterior stretch. Raise your arms over your head and behind your back. Gently pull your elbow toward your non-pitching elbow until you feel it stretch below your shoulders. Hold for 10 seconds, release and repeat five times for a set.
After completing stretching, consider using weights for resistance training to strengthen the rotator cuff and related muscles. This can add endurance, allowing for pitchers to stay in the game longer. Stand shoulder width apart and grab a five-pound dumbbell in each hand, palms facing outward. Without bending the elbows, lift the weights to shoulder level, keeping the palms facing out. Pause for 2 seconds, then slowly return the weights to the starting position, again keeping the arms stiff. Repeat 10 times for a set.
You can use the same hand weights to continue strengthen the rotator cuff area. This time hold the weights in front of your thighs with palms facing in. While keeping your arms straight, lift them in front of you until they reach shoulder level. Pause for 2 seconds, then return them to the starting position slowly. Repeat 10 times for a set. For an added challenge, alternate both exercises.
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