Baseball is often called America’s favorite past time. It’s as fun to watch as it is amazing to play. Spectacular moments that get your adrenaline pumping include diving one arm grabs, leaps into the stands, and bases loaded home runs, just to list a few.
Baseball players are required to have a certain level of eye-hand coordination, speed, flexibility, and power to be successful. Maintaining a healthy body throughout the season wouldn’t be complete without a good stretching routine. You won’t be able to be a part of any of those previously mentioned amazing events in a baseball game if you’re sent to the dugout with an injury.
The following is part of a stretching program that can be used by college and pro athletes, or just for your recreational baseball league. These stretches should be done year round, regardless of the position you play. This routine is aimed at helping you stay mobile and moving with ease on the field and off, all year long.
Kneeling Two-Arm Lat Stretch
One of the major muscles required during the throwing action is the latissimus dorsi. It’s located below your shoulder blades, and it’s key to shoulder movement. The more you throw, the tighter they get — so make sure you stretch them well.
- Kneel on the ground on your hands and knees. Extend both arms forward on the ground.
- Keep your hips over your knees and position your palms to face each other with the thumbs pointing up.
- Lower your chest and head towards the floor until you feel a stretch near the outside of your armpits.
- Hold for 30 seconds, rest for 30 seconds, then repeat.
Note: Try to go a little deeper the second time!
Side Lying 90-90 Sleeper Stretch
It’s important to keep all parts of the shoulders mobile, especially the backside. This stretch will help accomplish that.
- Lie on your right side on the ground.
- Extend your right arm forward so it’s straight out from your body. Raise your hand up, bending the elbow so the lower arm is at a 90-degree angle.
- Use your left hand to press your right palm (rotate from the shoulder) down towards the floor. Hold for 10 seconds.
- Once you’ve gone as far as you can, stretch the opposite way, taking the back of the hand to the floor. Hold for 10 seconds.
- Repeat 5 to 6 times on each shoulder.
WGS – “The World’s Greatest Stretch”
- Stand straight, then step forward with the left leg into a long lunge position. Keep your right let straight but with a soft bend in your right knee and sink the hips down towards the ground.
- Bend forward and place your right hand on the ground next to the arch of the left foot.
- Press down into the ground with your right hand and rotate your chest to the left. Reach up towards the ceiling with your left hand.
- Focus on keeping a flat back, hands and shoulders stacked over one another.
- Stand up and repeat 3 times on each side.
Over-Under Tricep-Shoulder Stretch
Equipment needed: towel
- Stand with a rolled up towel in your right hand, with your arm reaching up.
- Lower your right hand behind your head and grab the towel behind your back with your left hand.
- Grip tight with both hands and pull up on the towel to stretch the left shoulder.
- Hold for 10 seconds then pull down to stretch the right tricep.
- Repeat 5 to 6 times on each shoulder, then switch hands.
Single Leg Drop Stretch
Equipment needed: towel
- Lay on your back with your right leg extended up towards the sky and wrap a towel over the ball of your foot.
- Using the towel, keep a soft bend behind the knee and pull forward on the right leg until you get a good stretch.
- Holding your right leg in position, raise a straight left leg up to meet the right leg and lower it back down, lightly touching the floor.
- Repeat and complete 10 to 12 reps on each leg.
Most athletes agree that watching is not nearly as fun as playing. The goal should always be to minimize injury and increase performance.
Working to stay healthy and out of the doctor’s office is something you should do daily. Perform these stretches a couple of times a week to stay mobile. A little bit everyday goes a long way toward keeping you in the game.