With Opening Day this past week, it is important to learn how to stay on top with injury prevention. This is important because of the insane amount of games played throughout baseball season. Each Major League team plays 162 regular season games with multiple games per week for six months. This is not including spring training or if they make the playoffs!
Similar to MLB, we find that adolescents are playing high amounts of games per year with less structure or breaks between games. Players are on multiple teams including school leagues and travel teams. They are playing multiple games per week during spring, summer, and fall ball. This means that athletes are throwing multiple times per week at high velocities, leading to an increase of stress and overuse of their shoulders and elbows. By doing the proper strengthening exercises before and during the season, we can prevent and/or prolong athletes from getting injured.
Our shoulders are not meant to move so quickly through one motion, like the throwing motion. As the shoulder moves at a high velocity, it requires a large amount of strength/eccentric control to slow the arm down during the deceleration phase. After playing in many games throughout season, these muscles fatigue and/or become weak making your shoulder and elbow vulnerable for injuries. We need to strengthen the stabilizing musculature of the shoulder so we can efficiently slow down the arm without causing harm. Here are 4 strengthening exercises to add to your injury prevention program that can help you stay healthy throughout baseball season.
1. Scapular Series
Scapular strength is especially important in the overhead athlete to decrease the strain placed upon the rotator cuff and other important structures. The scapular series will help stabilize the scapular muscles in different planes and allow you to move more efficiently.
Perform: 3 Sets x 10 Reps of W’s, T’s, Row to ER, T to Y
2. DNS Shoulder Lift
This is a great exercise to eccentrically load the external rotators of the rotator cuff. It, also, is a great way to simulate the natural throwing motion while adding co-contraction of the muscles surrounding the shoulder girdle.
Perform: 3 Set x 5 Reps
3. Rotator Cuff Band Exercises
By strengthening the rotator cuff through internal and external rotation in multiple planes, this will help prevent the rotator cuff from failing and becoming fatigued during the season.
Perform: 3 Sets x 10 Reps in ER/IR at 0 and 90 Degrees
4. DNS Prone
DNS Prone is a great exercise that gets all the shoulder girdle activated and contracting together. It incorporates belly pressure and a stable base while priming the shoulder stabilizers.
Perform: 3 Sets x 10 Breathes