BE READY BEFORE THROWING
We have treated several baseball injuries throughout the years and a common theme to those injuries is that they did not properly warm-up before throwing. Throwing can be a precariously dynamic movement and adds micro trauma to the body. Throwing warm-up should be treated like any other dynamic activity (e.g. jumping/running) and assure that your body is prepared before you just start throwing the ball as hard as you can. A common mistake seen in local players is improper throwing programs and warm-ups that may be hurting them more than helping them.
Throwing is an immensely complex and aggressive on the shoulder. To give a quick fact, it is the fastest motion that the body performs! We often explain a simple equation of physics. Force = Mass x Acceleration. The quicker your body has to move during throwing motion, the more force it places on the body.
The sequence of activities that we use during throwing programs has been a proven system with professional baseball players with “million dollar” arms. Two things are needed in order to be best prepared for the violent activity of throwing:
1) Prepare the body and 2) Prepare for throwing. The sequential pattern of getting the arm loose, activating the muscles, and dynamic movement are how to be best prepare for throwing. The following steps are highlighted from Mike Reinold, world-renowned leader in baseball performance and throwing injuries (mikereinold.com).
STEP 1- GET YOUR ARM LOOSE
You need to have mobility of the throwing arm first. Commonly seen amongst throwing athletes are the following: 1) Throwing baseball causes muscles to tighten and you lose mobility of the shoulder and elbow. 2) If not addressed, the tightness becomes cumulative and you get tighter as the season progresses. 3) Work to maintain motion is very effective and prevents lose of motion. Focus on needs to be on the lats, back of shoulder, rotator cuff, pec, biceps, and forearm. Do this for 30-60 seconds on each tight spot.
STEP 2 – ACTIVATE THE MUSCLES
Hit major shoulder muscles and movement patterns that are necessary to accelerate and decelerate the arm. By turning on these muscles, the body will be ready to absorb upcoming forces of throwing. These warm-ups are designed to prepare the muscle, not fatigue them, and are not substitutes for strengthening them. Strengthening is a completely different program with different focus in mind.
STEP 3 – DYNAMIC MOVEMENT!
The last step is to involve dynamic movements for throwing. The throwing movement requires elasticity of muscles. Stretching and mobility prep will not be enough to turn on the elastic component of muscles. You should slowly work up to this last step so there is less trauma to the body tissues.
Wright Physical Therapy has created a Dynamic Throwing Warm-Up Program. This program has incorporated the steps above and helped baseball players maximize performance, recover better between games, and reduce the chance for throwing injuries. Call us today at one of our clinic locations to find out how by this warm-up program can help you excel on the field!