Gary Adams' Tip of the Month June 2000

Surgical Tubing Exercises for Throwing By Gary Adams I. There are two exercises that must always be done prior to picking up a baseball:
  1. Arm circles and surgical tubing exercises.
  2. We have already discussed the arm circles routine and now we will explain the tubing exercises.
II. Preparation Start by attaching the tubing to a fence about waist to chest high. It should be double tubing (one for each hand and arm). Place yourself closer to the fence to reduce the tension and further from the fence for maximum resistance and tension. Usually, beginners should start closer to the fence until thy build up more endurance and strength, and gradually move further out. III. The Work-Out
  1. Start with "triceps extension". With both hands directly over your head, and your elbows pointing directly ahead of you, move both hands and upper arms forward until fully extended. Repeat 15 times, and be sure to fully extend (don't "cheat").
  2. With your feet in a normal stride throwing position and with your hands still over your head, tilt your upper body to the left side an then over to the right side. Keep going from side to side 15 times with the tubing providing a steady resistance.
  3. We call the third exercise "Butterflies" or "Flies." Facing away from the fence, feet together and with your arms spread at should height to the side, bring both arms forward until your hands meet in front of your body and then return slowly back to your original "arm-spread" position. Do 15 and turn around to face the fence and do 15 more "Reverse Flies."
  4. With your left shoulder facing the fence (right handers), bend your throwing arm at the elbow, keeping the arm close to your side, and move your forearm and hand across your stomach. From this starting position, pull the tubing away from the fence 15 times, pulling your wrist from your left hip to an extended position pointing straight ahead. Keep your elbow close to your side, and do not move your arm more than 90 degrees from its original position. Then, turn your right shoulder to the fence and repeat the motion, moving your hand from pointing straight ahead back to your left hip/stomach area. Again, do 15 in this reverse direction. These are called "Internal and External Rotations."
  5. The fifth exercise is called "Elevated Internal and External Rotations." Again, with your left shoulder facing the fence (for right handers? left handers should have their right shoulder facing the fence), raise your throwing elbow about shoulder high, with your hand pointing directly up in the air (elbow bent to form a ninety degree angle in front of your body). Using your opposite hand to "rest" the bent elbow upon, position yourself so that the tubing provides a moderate amount of resistance at this starting position. Slowly, let your hand fall from above your right shoulder, to in front of your left shoulder. Then pull the tubing back to the starting position and repeat 15 times. Next, turn your right shoulder to the fence and do 15 more, reversing the tension but maintaining the same arm motion.
  6. Now attach your surgical tubing from the previous waist-chest high position to a knee-high position on the fence. Facing the fence and in your throwing position do a "Reverse Throw" motion but continue to motion into a complete circle. After doing 15, turn your back to the fence, place your feet in a normal stride pitching position, and pull the tubing just as you would pitch the ball. Make sure to extend out front and follow through past the outer side of your lead foot. Use minimal resistance to begin, and gradually increase as you become stronger.

*Remember in your work-out: Quality vs. quantity; allow the arm to do the work rather than the body; keep arm, body and mind relaxed and loose; keep long, fluid breathing patterns and work to a point close to fatigue, but not past it. IV.

Final Words The surgical tubing exercises are designed to isolate specific muscles in the rotator cuff so that they can be stretched and strengthened. Because certain muscles in the back of your shoulder are most vulnerable to breaking down, these exercises are designed to balance the rotator cuff muscle group. As a complement to the arm circles, the surgical tubing exercises will provide you with a deeper and more efficient stretch that may not be attainable any other way. These same exercises that are used to rehabilitate arms can be used to "develop" the arm and prepare the arm before you throw. These exercises were made popular by the renowned orthopedic, Dr. Frank Jobe, and modified for tubing for UCLA by throwing specialist Alan Jaeger.

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