Pre-game Warm Up: Stretches to Avoid
Stretching is always good, right? Not quite. Here are a few stretches to leave out of your pregame or pre-throwing routine.
Anterior Shoulder Stretch: This stretch aims to mobilize the anterior shoulder and specifically the biceps tendon. If your biceps tendon or anterior shoulder feels like it needs to be stretched, it’s most likely a warning sign being sent by your body to let you know that something is wrong with your posterior rotator cuff musculature. Instead of stretching your “last line of defense,” getting stronger at your posterior cuff region with things like Kneeling ER Wall Holds and Kneeling Band Shoulder ERs will go a long way to reduce, minimize, and possibly prevent anterior shoulder discomfort.
Partner Anterior Shoulder Stretch: Another variation of the stretch above, the partner biceps tendon stretch is another to stay away from. If the front of your shoulder feels “tight,” it’s your body telling you that there is a problem: the biceps tendon is working overtime because something else isn’t doing its job. Stretching might feel good in the short term, but it is only going to make the problem worse in the long run. A weak posterior rotator cuff leads to what’s called anterior humeral glide, where the ball of your arm pushes into the stabilizers of the front of your shoulder, causing discomfort. Choose Kneeling ER Wall Holds or Kneeling Band Shoulder ERs instead.
External Rotation Stretch: While more “layback” (think Strasburg picture at beginning of eBook) will help you throw harder, there are good and bad places to get it from. One of the bad places is by simply stretching out the shoulder joint like this picture. More external rotation at the glenohumeral (shoulder) joint itself could throw out the delicate total range of motion balance between your non-throwing and throwing arm, which is an enormous risk for injury. Instead of stretching the shoulder joint, consider mobilizing the thoracic spine, lats, and getting more scapular posterior tilt with exercises at the beginning of the eBook and rowing variations like a Standing 1-arm Cable Row and “Y” exercises.
Sleeper Stretch: Once a staple in every baseball pre-throwing routine, the sleeper stretch has fallen out of favor in recent years as new, cutting-edge research has come to light. The entire point of doing the sleeper stretch was to regain lost internal range of motion at the shoulder joint, which is a risk for injury. However, new research has shown that the sleeper stretch mobilizes the posterior capsule, and a loss of shoulder IR is not due to capsular tightness – rather, it’s due to muscular tightness. Instead of the sleeper stretch, use the Cross Body Stretch instead.
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