Off-Season Arm Care

One of the most overlooked seasons for a baseball player is the off-season. Whether you’ve played twenty games for your local high school team or fifty for your traveling summer team, the offseason is upon us. After playing so many games your body may need a break, but this might be the best time to keep your arm healthy for the upcoming season. The work put in during the offseason can really make or break your health during the long baseball season.

Working out legs and big powerful muscles tends to be the priority of a young players offseason, and this often overshadows simple arm care. Some of the most important exercises to keep your arm heathy can be very simple and easily worked into a basic workout routine. There is nothing wrong with spending the offseason trying to gain muscle and power to improve your game. It can be very easy to spend ten minutes before your workouts to address key muscles that protect the shoulder and it’s very beneficial in the long run.

The most common exercises for pitchers typically focuses on rotator cuff strengthening. While strengthening the rotator cuff is very important, the scapula (shoulder blade) is often forgotten about. The scapula plays a very important role in protecting the shoulder and even the elbow. The role of the scapula is to maintain a stable shoulder girdle on the ribcage during a throw. If there is weakness or inefficient recruitment of scapular stabilization muscles, stress will translate to either the shoulder or the elbow. This will create overuse injuries during a long season of pitching.

A good offseason program will include scapular exercises and rotator cuff exercises. But what exercises should you do? Let’s go over some great exercises that you can add into your program to get your arm ready for the spring season and stay healthy as long as possible!

While lying on the edge of a table with your arm hanging off the side, point your thumb towards the ceiling. Start the motion by pulling your shoulder blade toward the middle of your spine without shrugging your shoulder and move your arm directly to the side. You can perform this exercise with a small pause at the top and begin without using any weight. The finished product will form the letter “T”.

While lying in the same position as a prone T, you will now lift your arm in the shape of a “Y”. The thumb will remain towards the ceiling, and you will then pull the shoulder blade toward the spine and down towards the opposite foot.

This exercise is performed while laying on your side with your throwing arm on top. A small towel should be rolled up and put underneath the arm pit to facilitate more rotator cuff recruitment. Start with the elbow bent to 90 degrees and resting on the belly button. You will now rotate the arm from the belly button straight towards the ceiling. Be sure not to bend or straighten the elbow when rotating to focus on only using the rotator cuff for this exercise.

This exercise is similar to side-lying external rotation, but it is done standing with the shoulder and elbow at 90 degrees to simulate a throwing motion. This exercise is done with a band attached to a wall or tied around a doorknob. Start with the palm facing the ground and rotate until the arm is facing the wall or door.

If you are in need of pre or post surgical care, general re-conditioning, or help returning to sport/daily activities in the wake of an injuryschedule your appointment at one of our 13 Greater St. Louis area locations or via a Telehealth injury screening.

To schedule an appointment with Mitchell or any of our expert physical therapists, request an appointment online today.