Baseball workouts typically include external and internal rotational shoulder work, along with other shoulder exercises and neutral grip dumbbell bench pressing. But coaches need to gauge how strong and stabilized their athletes are and tailor their programs to individual abilities and potential.
Every blueprint starts in the off-season, when you introduce neuromuscular adaptation and get your athletes' muscles working for a duration of low-intensity movements. They've been taking some time off, and you need to prepare them for what lies ahead.
These early pre-season exercises for the shoulder girdle, done in any order, will help strengthen the scapula to prevent injury and get your athletes ready for more intense work ahead. Great strength in the posterior shoulder girdle helps the shoulder joint operate efficiently in the socket and increases deceleration strength, so the throwing arm can produce more force with less chance of injury. Check out MLB Pitcher Colby Lewis's Shoulder Circuit in the video player above for extra shoulder exercises.
1. Kneeling T-Holds
Kneel on an Airex Pad or soft surface. Attach a band with handles to a rack at shoulder level from a kneeling position. Pull the band with your arms fully extended out to the side and hold a T position.
Sets/Durations: 2x30-60 sec.
2. Band Standing Retraction Stand
Attach a band with handles to a rack at shoulder level. Your shoulders should protract while you maintain proper upper-torso posture without rounding your back. Once your arms are as far out as possible without changing body position, begin to retract by pulling the shoulders back and the shoulder blades together. Pause between reps at the completion of the retraction phase. Try a modified version with a pulley system using the same techniques as the band.
3. PhysioBall Y's, T's
Y's: Lie face down with your torso on a physioball. Using very light weight, place your arms at a letter Y position with thumbs pointed to the ceiling. Lift your arms toward the ceiling by squeezing your shoulder blades together without bending your elbows or shrugging your shoulders. Pause at the top of the movement. Lower the weights back down to the starting position slowly under control. Motion will be limited in this exercise.
T's: Once you have finished performing Y's, place your arms to the side of the ball with your palms facing the floor. Lift your arms to the side and toward the ceiling and squeeze your shoulder blades at the top of the movement. Pause at the top. Lower the weights to the starting position slowly under control.
4. Hanging Retraction Pulls
Grab a pull-up bar with a pronated grip. Keeping your arms extended, pull your body up from the posterior shoulder and squeeze your shoulder blades. Pause at the top. Lower back down to the starting position under control. You can do a modified version of this with a lat pull-down machine.
5. Standing Band Rack Depression
Attach a band (with handles on each end) to a pull-up bar on top of a power rack. Grab the handles. Begin with your arms fully extended and your hands by your hips. Without bending your elbows, slightly elevate your shoulders to a shrugging position. At the top of your elevation, drive down by pressing through your shoulder blades, not your hands. Keep your palms open so you do not grip the handle, as this will force other muscles to become active in the movement. Pause at the bottom of the hold and slowly elevate your shoulders again for reps.
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