Most baseball players work on their hitting, fine-tune their pitching or work out to get stronger during the off-season. (Learn how to get stronger for baseball. However, this is also a critical time to improve mobility with flexibility exercises, which are key to preventing injury and improving performance.
Baseball is a rotational and multi-direction sport, and it requires tremendous force to hit and throw. If you have sufficient mobility in your arms, back, hips and legs, you will be able to move your body without restriction, resulting in more powerful hits and faster throws.
Also, working on flexibility before the season reduces tightness, preparing the body to repeatedly throw or hit without breaking down. While training to improve performance is important, you first have to be healthy.
The best way to increase flexibility for baseball is to target the muscles that you use most during the season:
- Neck muscles: tracking down fly balls
- Shoulders, elbows and wrist: throwing
- Thoracic and lumbar spine: rotational motion when hitting
- Hips: exploding out of catcher’s position or driving off the mound
- Legs: sprinting, changing direction and decelerating
The video below demonstrates flexibility exercises you can perform during the off-season. When performing them, focus on technique. The stretches should be uncomfortable but never painful.[youtube video=”ZheWSIPAEqg” /]