I'm a pitcher. Is it possible to take precautions to avoid injuries?
Yes, through flexibility exercises, which are critical for a pitcher. If precautions are taken to keep the body in balance, then it is possible to avert injuries on the mound.
Pitchers are predominantly rotational athletes who generate a lot of rotational velocity. If a pitcher is tight, he is more susceptible to straining his muscles. While flexibility for the entire body is important, the most critical areas include the groins and hips, hip flexors, lower back, chest and shoulders and the rotator cuff.
Keep in mind our bodies are one big kinetic chain. If one area is tight, it can lead to imbalances in the entire body and will affect overall performance. Common injuries include labrum tears, rotator cuff strains, strained elbows, and lower back pain.
Below is an example of a stretch my pitchers use to increase flexibility in their hip flexors, quads, and torso. Perform before every workout or throwing session.
Lie flat on stomach with arms extended out to side resembling a "T" formation
Lift right leg off ground toward left hand; return to start position
Lift left leg off ground toward right hand; return to start position
Sets/Reps: 1x5-10 for each leg
Adaptation: If "T" position is too difficult, drop arms to 45-degree angle from shoulders
Coaching Points: Avoid stretching to point of pain, especially in lower back region // Always keep back flat on ground // Don't rush each rep // Breath deeply during each rep
Durkin is the founder of Todd Durkin Enterprises and Fitness Quest 10. His clientele includes NFL superstar LaDanian Tomlinson, 2007 All-Star pitcher Chris Young, and former MLB first-rounders Mark Prior and Brian Anderson. Check out his website at todddurkin.com.
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