Mobility and Warm Up
If you’re skeptical as to whether or not the proper warm up can have an impact on your showcase performance, check this out:
We’ve had dozens of BRX athletes set personal bests on showcase/combine days simply by executing a proper baseball-specific warm up prior to starting.
The rest of this blog dives into further detail on what we recommend
A drill that works wonders for those with tight hips (and even for those who don’t) is the Groin Mobilization
This ‘opens the hips,’ allowing for more efficient lower body mechanics.
Make sure you are engaging your straight leg side’s glute at both positions and not arching your lower back at the forwards position.
Many common core drills do not meet the needs of sport movements.
One drill that does, is the Dead Bug – a drill that is a thousand times harder than it looks – if performed correctly.
The Dead Bug teaches you how to maintain a neutral core position and efficient force transfer from the lower body to the upper body, making it especially important for improving throwing velocity.
Be sure to keep your lower back flat on the ground by staying extremely engaged at your abs!
Getting more rotation of the upper back through drills like the Side-lying Windmill increases hip-and-shoulder separation, which allows you to generate more torque on rotational movements like throwing and hitting.
Make sure that you are using your upper back to do all the rotation and not the arm itself!
Wall Glute March ISO Hold
The Wall Glute March Iso Hold prepares you for explosive lower body movements by focusing on two primary things:
- Glute engagement of the leg that’s on the ground (for powerful hip extension when running, swinging, or throwing)
- Hip flexor engagement of the leg that’s up (for explosive knee drive when sprinting)
Make sure you are staying tall, staying on the ball of your foot that’s on the ground, and keeping your opposite knee as high as possible!
Deep Squat Belly Breathing
If baseball is an overhead sport, what kind of mobility would you assume is important for baseball players to maintain in order to throw balls hard?
You guessed it, overhead mobility. This is exactly what the Deep Squat Belly Breathing drill accomplishes.
This drill works on mobility of your lats, a muscle that is commonly tight in baseball players and prevents full overhead mobility when restricted.
Make sure you are taking LONG, FORCEFUL, 5-second exhales at the bottom position.
Wall Y Slides
When done correctly, Wall Y Slides activate the muscles around your shoulder blades and create something called posterior tilt
Posterior tilt of the shoulder blades helps your arm “lay back” further, which is one of the main sources of throwing velocity.
For as many benefits as they have, Wall Y Slides are one of the more commonly butchered drills. Make sure you’re keeping your ribs “crunched down,” not arching your back, and only bring your hands a couple inches off the wall.
Quite possibly the biggest “bang for your buck” mobility drill ever, incorporating Spidermans into your warm up is a great idea – especially when crunched for time.
Spidermans open up the hips, upper back, and shoulders, making it a great choice for a showcase warm-up.
Make sure that when you reach your arm overhead, you’re rotating with your upper back – not simply swinging your arm up, which isn’t the greatest for your shoulder.
Lateral Lunge With Overhead Reach
Other than running directly at a base, nearly all explosive baseball movements involve lateral force production into the ground with your lower body.
The Lateral Lunge with Overhead Reach helps your body prepare for these lateral movements and also provides the benefit of an overhead movement component.
Make sure that you aren’t arching your back and lifting your ribs when your arms go up – your body should stay completely still like a statue.
Due to the dynamic nature of your tests, it’s important to involve some dynamic movements in your warm up.
With that said, don’t overthink this portion of your warm-up. Here are some drills we encourage our BRX athletes to complete:
Kneeling 1-Arm Shoulder ER W/ Band
One of the biggest mistakes baseball players make is over-doing their band work before a showcase.
Your rotator cuff muscles are small and fatigue quickly. The last thing you want to do before needing them to be at their best is fatigue them!
Think of doing 10 band drills before throwing like running a mile before a 100 meter dash – you’d be pretty tired and nowhere near your best!
In our opinion, one set of the Kneeling 1-arm Shoulder ER will do.
Be warned: this drill is one of the most poorly executed drills by baseball players. AVOID moving your elbow and make sure you are getting your hand as far as possible at the top. If you feel a burn in the back of your shoulder, you’re on the right track!
(OPTIONAL) KNEELING ER THROWS WITH WEIGHTED BALL
Throwing a baseball is the fastest movement in all of sports, and you need to prepare for it!
Kneeling ER Throws with a weighted ball are a great way to prepare your arm for the rigors of throwing a baseball.
Just make sure you’re keeping a 90/90 position of your arm when you finish and don’t swing your arm far behind your body after release.
(OPTIONAL) PIVOT PICKOFFS W/ WEIGHTED BALL
Somewhat counterintuitively, throwing a weighted ball that’s heavier than a baseball is less stress on your arm.
Moreover, it’s a great way to keep your arm loose while you have to wait for dozens of other athletes to throw before it’s your turn.
Just make sure you’re keeping a short arm path and don’t stick your arm straight behind you as you begin to load your arm back to throw.