By Nunzio Signore (BA, CPT, NASM, PES, FMS)
So in this final Part 3 of our 3 Part Series on Pitchers Strength and Mobility (please click here for Part 1 and here for Part 2), we’ll cover the last two “big bangs” for the buck for maximizing arm power and health. Being that this article is about arm care, you may be surprised as to what our final two topics are about. But remember, the site isn’t always the source.
4. Mobility in the Thoracic Spine: T-spine mobility is imperative for optimal performance as well as avoiding injuries. A kyphotic (rounded) t-spine will not allow the scap to adequately upwardly rotate and in turn, create an “impingement” which can ultimately lead to cuff and labral tears. Likewise, a lack of t-spine rotation can also lead to a whole host of problems such as limiting external rotation while laying back and internal rotation to help decelerate after ball release which can cause problems at the elbow as well.
The big take away here is that you must work on improving both t-spine extension and rotation. Here are two great ones.
Exercises for Improving T-spine Mobility:
(Quadruped T-Spine Mob.)
5. Breathing Patterns: Breathing could be an entire blog in itself. It’s the next frontier in do-it-yourself mobility for the shoulder. We all do it, all day every day, but if we aren’t breathing through our diaphragm (which is most of the athletic population) and instead are breathing into our chests, the rib position displaces the scapula from its proper place. This ultimately can lead to poor scapular upward rotation, excessive tone in the lats and closing down the acromial space causing alignment issues, restricting mobility and possibly causing impingement issues at the shoulder.
Certain breathing drills such as the one below can help deliver quick results in terms of improving shoulder internal rotation (without actually stretching the shoulder, a joint that doesn’t really like to be stretched in the first place). This is especially true in pitchers who are generally already too loose (laxity) in that area to begin with.
(90/90 Hip Shift w/ L. Reach)
Note: Don’t use provocative stretching drills like the one here to fix an alignment issue.
Use the one below. It’s much easier on the anterior (front) part of the shoulder.
(Side Lying Cross Body Stretch)
There you have it, much of what we do here at RPP in regards to the upper half to help keep our guys throwin’ heat all season.
See ya’ in the gym…