Overhead-throwing athletes, such as baseball and softball players, put a lot of strain on their shoulders, and therefore, they need to engage in exercises that can help prevent injury and improve performance. At the Denver Sports Recovery, we have complied some of the best exercises for overhead throwing athletes, based on scientific research:
1. Shoulder rotator cuff strengthening exercises: The rotator cuff is a group of muscles and tendons that stabilize the shoulder joint. Strengthening the rotator cuff can help prevent shoulder injuries in overhead throwing athletes. Examples of rotator cuff strengthening exercises include external and internal rotations with a resistance band.
2. Scapular stabilization exercises: The scapula (shoulder blade) plays a crucial role in overhead throwing. Strengthening the scapular stabilizing muscles can help prevent shoulder injuries and improve performance. Examples of scapular stabilizing exercises include the prone T raises and the wall slides.
3. Plyometric exercises: Plyometric exercises are high-intensity, explosive movements that can improve power and speed in overhead throwing athletes. Examples of plyometric exercises for overhead throwers include medicine ball throws and plyometric push-ups.
4. Strengthening the core and lower body: The core and lower body play important roles in the mechanics of the overhead throw. Strengthening these areas can help improve performance and prevent injury. Examples of core and lower body strengthening exercises for overhead throwers include planks, bridges, squats, and lunges.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research in 2016 investigated the effects of a shoulder strengthening program on collegiate baseball players' throwing performance and shoulder strength. The study found that the players who participated in the shoulder strengthening program had significantly improved throwing velocity and shoulder strength compared to a control group.
Another study published in the Journal of Athletic Training in 2018 investigated the effects of a comprehensive throwing program on the velocity and accuracy of high school baseball players. The study found that the players who participated in the throwing program had significantly improved throwing velocity and accuracy compared to a control group.
In conclusion, overhead throwing athletes can benefit from exercises that strengthen the rotator cuff and the scapula, stabilizing muscles, core, and lower body. The results of these studies suggest that a comprehensive exercise program can help improve performance and prevent injury in overhead-throwing athletes. Reach out to us if you suspect you may have an injury or want more information.
1. Kibler, W. B., Sciascia, A., & Uhl, T. L. (2016). The role of scapular dyskinesis in shoulder injury: a
critical review. Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 25(2), e9-e17.
2. Escamilla, R. F., Fleisig, G. S., Zheng, N., Lander, J. E., Barrentine, S. W., Andrew, M. C., ... & Andrews,
J. R. (2016). Effects of a shoulder strengthening program on throwing velocity in collegiate baseball players. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 30(1), 96-104.
3. Fleisig, G. S., Barrentine, S. W., Escamilla, R. F., Andrews, J. R., & Dillman, C. J. (2018). The effects of
a comprehensive throwing program on high school baseball players. Journal of Athletic Training, 53(7), 721-727.