Without proper arm care, the body will compensate for poor mechanics in order to continue to perform the movement, which can lead to a higher risk of injury. Far too often, Tommy John surgeries are almost seen as a rite of passage for pitchers, but ideally, you want to avoid surgeries whenever possible.
By taking the following 4 steps of arm care, you may provide some relief of symptoms, and even reduce the risk of injury:
1. Increase Rotator Cuff Strength
Think of when you rotate your arm through your pitching motion; that’s your rotator cuff doing the work. Having a stronger rotator cuff means increasing the amount of force generation and shoulder stability, which can be helpful when performing your pitching motion over and over again.
2. Increase the Firing Time of the Rotator Cuff
If you’re going to pitch, more than likely your goal is to throw hard. The rotator cuff needs to stabilize quickly in the socket to allow a pitcher to throw a ball as fast as possible.
3. Increase Shoulder Stabilization
The shoulder blade (aka, the scapula) needs to sit correctly anytime a pitcher throws a baseball to make not only the strongest throw possible but also to prevent an injury from happening. If a pitcher has weakness/tightness in the muscle groups supporting the shoulder blade, a pitcher increases the chance of injury. Think of a cannon (the arm) being on a tiny canoe (the body). What will happen to the cannon if it tries to fire without the proper support?
4. Increase Full Body Rotation Ability
If a player can’t rotate their trunk or hips efficiently, then they will never throw efficiently. Pitching is dominated by the ability to rotate. If the player can rotate faster, then they will generate more force, which can increase their pitching velocity. If they can increase the degree of their thoracic and hip rotation, they can improve their ability to externally/internally rotate their shoulder when throwing. Not only will they throw serious heat, but also lower the chances of hurting their shoulder when throwing.
Please be advised: We highly encourage all exercises to be done under the supervision of a certified strength coach or athletic trainer.