By Nunzio Signore (B.A. CPT, NASM, FMS, PES)
We often get asked about pre-game or bullpen band warm-ups and too often I observe many pitchers doing them incorrectly. Working on mobility and stabilization drills before pitching can definitely help shoulders keep up with the volume. And band work is one of the great ways to do this, especially for pitchers.
However, performed incorrectly or for too many sets can have a reverse effect putting a shoulder into the 3rd inning before you’ve even thrown a single pitch. Don’t get me wrong, band work can be great way to help increase blood flow; just make sure you’re doing them correctly. Here’s how.
Let me start by saying not every drill is right for every pitcher. In fact, some drills may do more harm than good depending on the position a cuff or scapula may be sitting or where their lumbar spine is naturally positioned:
The best way to know for sure is by getting a thorough assessment (click here to learn more about our Pitchers Assessment).
There are many different band drills that can address many different things, but for this particular blog I’m assuming you haven’t had an assessment (shame on you!!) and I am going to give you a few “less provocative” ones that cover a lot of bases without putting the arm in a compromised position. (Note: please listen to the cues as we’ll explain not only what to do, but also what not to do.)
1. Band Retraction to Low Row
Initiating cuff movement with the scapula is imperative. This first drill is great for developing timing of the scapula and the humerus separately, gradually working them into one fluid movement.
2. Band Standing Shoulder Flexion
This drill helps increase lat length as well as activating supraspinatus and getting the hands up overhead without compromising the lumbar or thoracic spine.
3. Standing External Band Rotation
External rotation is something that all pitchers need. Just make sure you’re not using too heavy of a band or bringing the arm too far back by moving excessively with the elbow or lower back. This will activate the larger muscles like the delt or lat instead of the smaller “stabilizers” such as infraspinatus and teres.
These are just a few of the many band drills we use at RPP. Like I said before nothing beats getting a thorough assessment before putting an arm through any kind of movement, but done correctly, implementing these drills pre-game and at the gym can help extend the career of an arm.
See you at the Gym.