13 Jun Episode 12: Summer, Softball and Shoulder Injury
By Brad Stone, CPT
As summer continues to roll on we find ourselves in the middle of baseball and softball season. Not just as fans going down to Busch Stadium or to watch the Grizzlies and Rascals play, but getting out there ourselves and showcasing our talents on the diamond. Whether you are playing in a co-ed league and trying to show a little something for the good looking girl in yoga pants playing in the outfield next to you, or you are in a competitive league and trying to get that guy going 1st to 3rd, everyone wants to showcase their “gun”. It’s in situations like this that we find ourselves at risk of shoulder injury. In fact, I witnessed a severe are injury in my Thursday night league just last week. It was the first inning of game two of the season, and that got me thinking, I should tell more people about the arm maintenance program I used in my pitching career and now in my pitching lessons to help provide them with something to help strengthen that oh so fickle joint up top.
I’d first like to preface this with saying that going full bore the first day you pick up a ball is not the best idea. Hopefully everyone started playing some catch (with teammates, neighbors, kids, etc.) well in advance of starting your leagues. Gradually building up your arm strength has always been the best approach in my experience. Furthermore, these exercises are no guarantee that nothing bad will happen, and are best when implemented as part of a total body fitness program. Your body is more than the sum of its parts and only working on one thingdoesn’tguaranteenothing can go wrong. That being said, here are some great exercises to help maintain and prevent shoulder injury over the rest of the summer and keep you dominating your leagues!
- Self-myofascial release: if you don’t own a lacrosse ball and a foam roller, its high time you invest the best $12 of your life. The areas I target are the pec minor, deltoids, and rhomboids with the lacrosse ball and the lats with the foam roller.
- The D2 pattern: I think of this one I learned with the Florida Marlins as a knight drawing out his sword and holding it high up in the air. This is usually done with a band but can also be performed with light weights (2.5-5 lbs no need to be a hero here)
- External Rotation exercises: your shoulder is going to take plenty of abuse internally rotating with your throwing and swinging so to help balance it all out we do plenty of work in the other direction. If you have access to the bands from the D2 pattern, they can be used in many of the external rotation exercises. You may see the half roller tucked under my arm, feel free to substitute a towel or even your glove to help keep your arm tucked close to your side. This is a great way to help strengthen and prevent shoulder injury.
- Rows: All the force you generate throwing and swinging has to be absorbed somewhere and strengthening the big muscles of the back are a necessity for making the shoulder strong and preventing shoulder injury for the long haul.
Consider integrating these movements into your regular training to help stabilize and prevent shoulder injury this summer and year round.