In case you didn’t check out yesterday’s post – “Do Pitchers Need to Stretch?” – that leads up to today’s, check it out here.
Although the recommendations in this blog post are extremely important for hypermobile (loose) athletes, they’re also great to include for pre-game activity no matter who you are.
To bring you up to speed, here’s a quick recap from “Do Pitchers Need to Stretch?”
Hypermobile individuals naturally have all the range of motion they’ll EVER need
Hypermobility usually also means joint instability
Static stretching before activity can further worsen joint instability in a hypermobile individual – think banging your head against a wall when you have a headache
Joint stability exercises should be included in any athlete’s pre-game routine, and especially for hypermobile overhead athletes
How do you know if you’re loose or tight?
Perform the quick and easy Beighton Hypermobility Score (below) on yourself
4 or above: You’re hypermobile! Avoid static stretching! Let’s work on joint stability.
1-3: You’re in the middle, but don't stretch the muscles around your positive score joints
0: We might need to add some stretching to your pregame routine before your joint stability exercises
Here’s an athlete I train at Athlete Performance:
This athlete is very hypermobile, especially in his upper body. My main focus with him is on joint stability. He naturally has all of the flexibility and range of motion he’ll ever need. I try to make sure he stays away from aggressive end-ranges of motion and don’t have him complete any static stretching of his upper half.
So, what are some good joint stability exercises?
Anything that has the words “rhythmic stabilizations” in it is a great start.
First, ask yourself this question: "Is it a position that I’ll be in during my sport?"
This wouldn’t be for a baseball player, but it's one of the most common pre-throwing exercises you'll see. Does anyone throw from this position?
This WOULD be. It's a great pre-throwing exercise, especially for a hypermobile athlete.
Second, ask yourself, "Am I maintaining a good posture?"
Neutral lumbar spine (lower back)
Ribs not flared up
Core and glutes engaged
In the case of the video, “Half-kneeling 1-arm Rhythmic Stabilizations,” completing the exercise at this position works to “turn on” or activate the muscles that stabilize the shoulder joint, most notably the rotator cuff.
Notice how the position is specific to throwing – completing this exercise with your elbow at your side probably wouldn't carry over to the field if you’re a pitcher.
Main point: "turning on" the muscles that stabilize a joint in a position specific to your activity increases joint stability.
The awesome thing with rhythmic stabilization exercises is that you can basically invent any variation you want for any body part, depending on your sport or posture you’ll be in for the activity.
For a basketball player, it might be with both arms overhead as if going for a rebound.
For a football running back, it might be his knee as he plants to cut the other direction.
You can really go a million ways with them, so play around to find what works!
Ask yourself the following questions:
Does my activity require exposing certain joints to vulnerable positions?
How can I get myself near this position safely in the weight room and train my body to handle it?
Hypermobility usually leads to joint instability
Stretching further increases joint instability
Pre-activity focus: include rhythmic stabilization variations to activate muscles that surround a joint to increase joint stability. Try to get in a position specific to your activity.
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!