How to Prevent Baseball Imbalance and Overuse Injuries | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

How to Prevent Baseball Imbalance and Overuse Injuries

April 28, 2013 | Andrew Sacks

Must See Baseball Videos

More than 625,000 baseball injuries occur in the United States each year. The most common are shoulder, elbow, groin and hamstring injuries caused by strength or mobility imbalances from overuse. (Learn how Craig Kimbrel stays healthy.)

Since baseball is a one-sided sport—i.e., players throw and swing from the same side of their bodies—muscle imbalances will inevitably occur if you fail to take preventative measures. The best way to prevent injuries is to eliminate such imbalances so your strength is applied equally across your body, and so you can perform skills in a natural and uninhibited range of motion.

Here are a few common problems that baseball players encounter, with suggestions on how to correct them.

Weak Scapular Stabilizers

Many young baseball players' shoulder blades don't sit against their ribcage. Instead, they are often abducted, or pulled off the ribcage. Known as "scapular winging," this condition results from lack of strength in the scapular retractors, which leads to faulty throwing mechanics at the shoulder joint.

Improving strength in the rhomboids, trapezii and serratus anterior will often correct this problem—and help prevent elbow and shoulder injuries down the road. One of the best exercises to target these muscles is the Blackburns series. Do it for 10 reps of six seconds. Follow with Scap Push-Ups for three sets of 10 to 20 reps.

Lack of Shoulder Internal Rotation

Glenohumeral Internal Rotation Deficit (GIRD) refers to a loss of internal rotation in the throwing shoulder compared to the non-throwing shoulder. GIRD is caused by repetitive throwing. It is associated with shoulder pain during throwing, and sometimes with a rotator cuff injury. A small decrease in internal rotation in the throwing shoulder is normal in overhead throwers, but if it's substantial, it can become a risk factor.

To improve shoulder internal rotation, perform the Sleeper Stretch for three sets of 30 seconds before and after throwing.

Lack of Hip Internal Rotation

As with the shoulders, the hips of a throwing athlete are subject to loss of mobility if not cared for, especially in a pitcher's stride leg. This can cause stress on the front of the shoulder and elbow when throwing.

To improve or maintain hip internal rotation, perform the Knee-to-Knee Stretch for three sets of 30 seconds before and after throwing.

Overall Movement Imbalance

You can't perform 1,000 right-handed throws and zero left-handed throws during a season and not expect some imbalance. The best way to prevent it is by performing non-dominant side med ball drills. They may feel awkward at first, but they will improve your proprioception and body control, while evening out the amount of work your muscles do on both sides of your body. (Try these med ball exercises.)

References

Posner, M., Cameron, K., Wolf, J., Belmont, P., & Owens, B. (2011). "Epidemiology of major league baseball injuries." American Journal of Sports Medicine. 39. 1676-1680

Livestrong

Photo: Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Topics: BASEBALL
Andrew Sacks
- Andrew Sacks is a strength and conditioning coach from Baltimore, where he trains athletes at Next Level Sports Performance. He works with youth, high school,...
Andrew Sacks
- Andrew Sacks is a strength and conditioning coach from Baltimore, where he trains athletes at Next Level Sports Performance. He works with youth, high school,...
Must See
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 18,540,317
RGIII Talks About His Legacy
Views: 20,424,760
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 4,419,112

Featured Videos

Quest for the Ring: University of Kentucky Views: 224,492
Add Core Power for Basketball With Damian Lillard's Med Ball Throws Views: 4,255,927
Path to the Pros 2015: The Journey Begins Views: 26,383
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

More Cool Stuff You'll Like

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

If you have ever had tightness or sourness in your glutes that may or may not have radiated into your hamstrings, you might have suffered from...

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

How to Bench Press With a Shoulder Injury

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

How to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

What You Need to Know About Tiger Woods' Back Injury

Tips for Working Out With a Hand or Arm Injury

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

Why Strengthening This Muscle May Fix Knee Pain

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

How to Prevent Injuries With 3 Yoga Poses

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

How to Train With Running Blisters

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

Bulletproof Your Body with 5 Easy Injury Prevention Exercises

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

5 Exercises to Prevent ACL Tears

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

3 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Hockey Injury

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

3 Causes of Recurring Hamstring Injuries

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests