Similar to t-spine mobility, hip IR is absolutely essential to creating a smooth deceleration path. If the hip closes too early upon foot strike, the arm can open up early, causing an early release and cutting the ball. This can be a killer for not only velocity but spin efficiency and vertical break as well. In addition, a poor decel pattern can cause the arm to “slam shut”, creating damaging forces on the shoulder and elbow. Below are several great hip exercises that every pitcher could take advantage of to get some of that IR back.
- Hip Flow Circuit
- 1-Leg Snap Down
- Med Ball Pulse w/Stick
- Med Ball Double Play
Here we go…
Hip Flow Circuit
First of all, any strength coach or PT worth their weight knows that you should not add resistance / load to a dysfunctional movement pattern. So, cleaning up pitcher ROM (range-of-motion issues) with some good mobility work first can go a long way.
(Hip Flow Circuit)
The adductors assist in internal rotation while the glute and hamstring create good braking forces and a stable base for the pitcher’s lead leg to decelerate and rotate on at foot plant. This exercise works both.
Med Ball Exercises
Progressing to faster, more explosive movements allow the pitcher or coach to start to train the co-contractors, exercises that train internal rotation more dynamically can be introduced. These two were inspired by Frans Bosch.
(1-Leg Snap Down)
(Med Ball Pulse w/Stick)
Once mobility and strength issues have been addressed and the pitcher is able to get into IR more dynamically, we can progress to a more sports specific movement that interplays all of the above into a more “sports-specific” movement where the focus is a quick release in order to take time and tension out of the throw.
(Med Ball Double Play)
It’s important to remember that in order to get the most out of these drills, we need to progress the athlete through various exercises and drills. Pitcher-related hip exercises are essential to build good movement patterns. Hip mobility, hip strength and hip stability should be a part of every pitcher’s year-round routine. Remember we get good at what we practice and that includes proper movement.
See ya’ in the gym…
By Nunzio Signore (BA, CSCS, CPT, NASM, FMS)
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