The shoulder is a very important asset all athletes, especially those that throw, need to protect. The goal of these exercises is to create and maintain a healthy shoulder so your chances of injury are lowered.
This is called 'Pre-hab" (as opposed to "re-hab", as in rehabilitating an injury) While no amount of exercises can combat poor mechanics, these exercises are a great start to developing a healthy shoulder, focusing on what is typically overlooked - the scapular muscles.
Rotator Cuff Stretching Through the Scaps
The rotator cuff gets all the press because it often breaks down. That does not mean there was a problem in the rotator cuff to begin with. Chances are, it was a combination and lack of scapular range of motion, muscular endurance and strength - and the inability to retract the shoulder blades - were at the root of this problem. The following exercises are simple, require no equipment, can be done by any age group and are effective. As always, consult your doctor before beginning any exercise program.
Shoulder Exercise No. 1: Wall Angels
First find a nice wall in your house with no pictures and plenty of room to move your arms while outstretched. Remember when you were a kid and you did snow angels? Well this is very similar to that except your doing it on a wall and it's not as cold. Remember, high repetition is paramount in creating strong and healthy shoulder function. Take these steps when performing the motion:
- Place your back against the wall with your feet about six inches away from the wall. Make sure your buttocks, shoulder blades, and the back of your head are touching.
- Raise your arms straight over your head and bend your elbows slightly. Try to keep your shoulders, elbows, wrists and the back of your hands against the wall. If you can't keep all points touching, first start with the elbows touching and then work on keeping the other points touching later.
- Slowly lower about 90-degrees and raise your arms in an arc like you're making snow angels while keeping your butt, shoulder blades, back of your head, elbows and the back of your hands against the wall. You should feel a massive burn in between your shoulder blades. If you do, guess what......it's working.
- Perform three sets of 10 repetitions 2- 3 times per week.
Shoulder Exercise No. 2: Y's
- Lay on the floor or exercise mat, face down.
- Raise arms to be outstretched overhead so your body forms a Y, with your palms facing towards the floor.
- Keeping your forehead in contact with the ground, retract your shoulder blades while lifting your arms straight off the ground.
- Hold for one second at the top, squeezing the shoulder blades (be careful not to shrug your shoulders) then return slowly to starting position.
- Perform three sets of 10 repetitions 2-3 times per week.
Shoulder Exercise No. 3: T's
Follow the instructions for the "Y's", except have your arms straight out to your sides so your body forms a "T".
Jon Doyle MA, CSCS is considered the world’s foremost authority on baseball training. His training techniques have been used by over 500 MLB players, 28 MLB teams, 400 NCAA programs and tens of thousands of High School and youth players to gain a significant advantage of their competition. His website, www.BaseballTrainingSecrets.com , is the most visited site of its kind in the world. He is currently offering a FREE subscription to his “Baseball Training Newsletter”.