Free eBook teaser: Do Pitchers Need to Stretch?

To celebrate the launch of my free eBook – 10 Secrets Learned from Training 100+ Pro Athletes at Cressey Sports Performance – I’d like to throw a little “secret” from the eBook your way. It should help you decide what to do before you go out and pitch in a game, prepare yourself to throw, or compete in an overhead sport.

2) High-level pitchers rarely need to stretch

In many cases, what allows pitchers to throw so hard is that they are unusually hypermobile (loose), especially at the shoulder joint.

strasburglayback.jpg

http://oatesspecialties.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/Strasburg-external.jpg

As I said in "Secret" #1, they have all the range of motion they’ll ever need. Stretching can actually increase their risk of injury.

Think of the shoulder joint as a golf ball and a tee: the head of the humerus (upper arm bone) is the ball, and the glenoid fossa of the scapula is the tee.

ShoulderGolfTee.jpg

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1499870-dwight-howards-shoulder-injury-why-his-torn-labrum-may-linger-until-offseason

Keeping a shoulder healthy is all about keeping the golf ball on the tee, no matter what position it’s in. Being really hypermobile means you have more “give” in your ligaments, which usually means less joint stability.

In other words, this hypermobility or joint “laxity” makes it more likely that the golf ball won’t sit correctly on the tee when you throw a baseball, increasing risk of injury.

Going back to Secret #1, it’s extremely important that pitchers get a comprehensive assessment before jumping into a pre-throwing or strength training routine. At the very least, complete the previously mentioned Beighton Hypermobility Score to get a better idea of if you’re on the loose or tight end of the spectrum.

Hypermobile overhead athletes should focus on joint stability exercises before they compete as opposed to static stretching. And nearly every overhead athlete should avoid stretches that place the shoulder in aggressive extension and external rotation at all costs.

ShoulderExtension.jpg

http://www.spineandsportspt.org/web_images/dsc_0023-3.jpg

ShoulderER.jpg

http://www.ericcressey.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/RightER.jpg

Quick Recap

  • Pitchers who throw hard are often hypermobile (very loose)

  • Hypermobility usually leads to joint instability

  • Stretching a hypermobile athlete can reduce joint stability even further, increasing risk of injury

  • Hypermobile athletes should focus on joint stability exercises before they throw, compete, or engage in overhead activity

How do you know if you're hypermobile? What are some great joint stability exercises that hypermobile pitchers and overhead athletes can complete before they engage in overhead activity? Check back in tomorrow for a few pointers!

And if you want my FREE eBook, “10 Secrets Learned from Training 100+ Pro Athletes at Cressey Sports Performance,” be sure to sign up for the free newsletter below and I'll get you hooked up!

#pitchers #stretch #stretching #hypermobility #laxity #cressey

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