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Proper Stretching For Baseball Pitchers
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Stretching for baseball pitchers is an often-misunderstood topic. Many old-fashioned instructors still rely on the traditional stretching methods, and have failed to adjust with the new athletic research. Research that has been around for years has indicated that static stretching is ineffective as a warm up, and can actually be detrimental to an athlete when used as a precursor to strenuous activity.

Throwing a baseball is not only one of the most strenuous activities in all of sports, but it is also one of the most dynamic. This is why pitchers should not utilize static stretching because throwing a baseball is far from static. Instead, pitchers should prepare the dynamic throwing motion with a dynamic form of stretching. I’m going to lay out a basic stretching routine for pitchers that will properly prepare the body for throwing, increase explosiveness, prevent injury, and increase flexibility.

One of the first steps that a pitcher should take is use a foam roller. In many instances, pitchers will not have the time to utilize this training equipment. However, if you do find yourself enough time, then it is highly recommended that you use one. Focus on rolling out the IT Band, hip flexors, and upper back. The foam roller will increase flood flow in these muscles, and prepare you for dynamic stretches.

Following the foam roller, you will need to begin a light jog for about 5 minutes. This jog is designed to warm up the legs even further, and prepare the body for the subsequent stretching routine. This run should only be at about 50% effort, and should get the blood flowing and increase your heart rate. Breaking a moderate sweat is a good thing.

After the five minutes, you will begin your dynamic stretching routine. Dynamic stretches are defined as stretching through motion. No dynamic stretch should last more than three to five seconds. Most of these stretches will be between 8-10 repetitions. Some important muscles to focus on are the hamstrings, groin, hip flexors, quads, glutes, hips, and calves for the lower half.

Always start by the routine by warming up the lower half.

Once you have completed the stretching for the lower portion of the body, you will begin stretches for the lower and upper back. Most of these involve rotational movements, which are specific to baseball and pitching.

Lastly, you will properly stretch the rotator cuff and forearm muscles. Always save this for last because you will immediately jump into throwing after. All rotator cuff stretches should be in some form of movement.

Continue warming up the rotator cuff until there is no popping or tightness. Although pitching is a full body motion, it’s still important to make sure that your throwing arm is properly warm. Stretching for baseball pitchers is an often-debated topic, but this routine will undoubtedly prepare any pitcher to throw a baseball. I recommend avoiding all static stretching before you throw because you may be reducing your chance of having greater pitching velocity.


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