Observe your average high school or college weight room when the baseball team is training, and you're guaranteed to see plenty of ab and shoulder exercises. Having a durable shoulder girdle and a strong core are critical for long-term baseball success; but the days of relying only on band external rotations, Y's, T's, W's, and crunches for staying healthy are a thing of the past.
As younger athletes continue to play and throw more each year, the value of quality movement, mechanics, and strength becomes increasingly important to stay injury-free.
Throwing and hitting are whole-body movements that require your hips, trunk and shoulders to work together. Your shoulders and abs must function properly on their own, but you must also integrate your ab and shoulder exercises to optimize your training and durability on the diamond.
Learn why it's essential for your performance to combine ab and shoulder exercises below.
Create Better Relative Stiffness Between Your Lats & Abs
Your lats are big players when it comes to throwing and lifting. Their attachment at the shoulder makes them powerful muscles when you move your arm down and across your body (throwing), and their attachment on your rib cage and spine makes them major core stabilizers.
The problem arises when the lats become dominant in your movement patterns. That will restrict your arms from achieving adequate overhead mobility and cause your spine to overarch, which will put your abs in suboptimal position to work effectively.
Exercises that build better stiffness in your abs while decreasing stiffness in your lats will help keep your shoulders healthy and mobile throughout the season, while also mitigating against lower-back stress when your lats act as core stabilizers.
Tall-Kneeling Anti-Rotation Press with Overhead Reach
Develop Awareness of Your Spine While Challenging Your Shoulders
The rotational movements of baseball require certain degrees of rotation throughout each segment of your spine. If some segments move better than others, or you lack awareness of your spinal position in space, you'll be more prone to overuse injuries at those segments.
Learning to monitor your spinal position in space while working on your shoulder stability overhead is paramount for baseball players, who have to perform the same movement time and time again when throwing throughout a season.
Bottoms-Up Kettlebell Turkish Get-Up
Regain a Natural Spinal Curve While Improving Shoulder Upward Rotation
Two commonalities you'll see when looking at the posture of baseball players are flat upper backs and downwardly rotated shoulder blades. These two variables make it difficult for a player to efficiently move his arms overhead. This type of posture often results in a weak serratus anterior muscle, the muscle under your armpit and along your ribs.
Your serratus anterior can help pull your rib cage back, giving your shoulder blades a better platform to rest on. It can also work to rotate your shoulder blades up, giving you better ball-in-socket congruency, resulting in healthier and more durable shoulders.
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