Shoulder injuries are among the most frequent suffered by Major League Baseball players, according to Erwin Valencia, the Pittsburgh Pirates’ rehabilitation coordinator and team physical therapist.
Valencia says if baseball players don’t strengthen their scapular stabilizers [the area around the shoulder blades], they’re setting themselves up for dysfunction, impingements and, eventually, shoulder pain during the season. To avoid all that, build up your scaps before the season with Valencia’s Ultimate Scaps exercise. Work it into your pre-season shoulder routine to keep your arms strong throughout your playing months.
• With feet planted on wall behind you, lie face down with lower abs on physioball
• Place Med Ball between legs just above ankles and grasp ends of elastic tubing in each hand
• Keep back flat, squeeze shoulder blades together, draw in core and squeeze med ball between legs
• Raise arms in front so that elastic tubing is horizontal and loose just below eye level
• Keeping arms straight, spread arms out to side until band is at full tension. Hold for two to three seconds
• Return arms to start position and repeat 10 times
• Immediately raise arms so that band is just above eye level and perform 10 reps
• Immediately raise arms as high as possible and perform 10 reps
Adaptation: If the exercise seems too difficult to complete without breaking between changes in directions, begin learning with the lightest tubing resistance or no weight at all. This will help you perfect the technique.
Benefit: Works shoulders, scaps, core and glutes. By activating your core in a prone position over the physioball, you’re forced to maintain control of the ball. The starting position of the exercise requires whole body stability and alignment, as well as activation of your core’s major stabilizing muscles.
Coaching Point: Keep your spine in line; hyper-extending your back predisposes you to lower back pain