Spring is fast approaching! With that, comes optimism for a new season. Some were fortunate to play some baseball/softball last year while many did not have an opportunity because of Covid-19 and the guidelines that were set. With most leagues making plans to have a safe season, it’s time for participants to prepare for the season as well. Shoulder pain can be a common problem on the diamond, but there are steps you can take today to help prevent that. So, whether you are trying to avoid arm pain or trying to enhance your performance there are some exercises that you’ll want to start doing today!
When it comes to arm care and enhancing performance, we likely think of shoulder specific exercises. But, that’s only part of the solution. We use our legs and our core to generate force from the ground and transfer that force to our arm to help generate a pitch or throw. With many sports activities being canceled or delayed, athletes should start now to develop their bodies in preparation for the upcoming season. In this article we’ll take a look at some of the exercises that can help prepare the athlete while we wait for snow to clear from the diamond.
1. Mini Squat:
Start with your feet in a comfortable position a little wider than shoulder width apart. Start movement by bending hips and knees keeping your back straight. Continue toward the floor to a level you can still control. Keep in mind your knees staying behind your toes. Return to the standing position. Repeat 10 times, rest and repeat.
2. Single Leg Bridge/Hip Thrust:
Start on your back with one knee bent. Using the bent knee leg, you will push through the floor and lift your hips from the ground. While you’re lifting your opposite knee will stay straight as it is raised into the air even with your other leg. Make sure your hips are level and you don’t allow one side to drop toward the floor. Control your way back down to the starting position. Perform 10 times, rest and repeat.
3. Walking Dumbbell Lunges:
Take a large step and allow back knee to bend toward the floor. The front knee should not move over the toes. From that position transfer into another step without stopping (If needed to keep correct form, return to standing to set your balance and then take the next step). Continue for 10 steps and rest, then repeat.
4. Walking Lunges with Rotation:
Take a large step and allow back knee to bend toward the floor. While holding a medicine ball out in front of you with arms extended rotate your torso in the direction of your front leg. You should target a rotation of 90 degrees (modify the rotation to a lesser degree if you are having difficulty staying in control of your balance). From that position transfer into another step without stopping (As above, settle into standing position if needed to maintain balance). Continue this for 10 steps and rest, then repeat.
5. Lateral Hop (With or Without Medicine Ball)
Start with medicine ball on the side of the weightbearing hip. The swing leg should be placed behind the stance leg for counterbalance. Use the stance leg to push off toward the opposite leg- the medicine ball should also be transferring to the opposite side. Now the swing leg becomes the stance leg and is used to stabilize your body while the opposite leg is placed behind to counter balance. Perform 6-10 continuous hops keeping in mind good form and control, rest, repeat.
Those are just a few of the many exercises you can start to do today to help get your body ready for the upcoming season. Remember, it takes your whole body to be in shape to help enhance your performance and to avoid arm trouble. In the next article we’ll take a look at shoulder specific exercises you can perform to help the shoulder itself be ready for the upcoming season.
Ryan Martin, Physical Therapist