Here are some suggested stretching exercises for throwing (baseball, softball, tennis, lacrosse, etc.) athletes:
- Shoulder Circles: With your arms at your sides, make circular motions with your shoulders. Stand with your feet shoulder width apart without moving your arms or head. Try making circular motions forward first, and then do them the opposite way. This dynamic stretch is a good way to get started warming up and loosen your shoulders before doing baseball drills.
- Arm Circles: This stretch is similar to the shoulder circles. Put your arms out to your sides, and make circular motions with them. These circular motions are similar to the motion made when throwing a baseball. Start with small circles, and then gradually make the circles bigger. This stretch should be a part of every player’s baseball training.
- Triceps Stretch: For this stretch, you can use an item such as a towel or a band to help you if your shoulders are particularly tight. Holding the towel in one hand put your arm over your back, behind your head. Grab the other end of the towel behind your back with your other hand, and gently pull to stretch the triceps of the arm that is over your head. You shouldn’t try to force the stretch, but after incorporating it into your routine, you will know that your triceps and shoulders are loose if you can interlock your fingers in this stretching position.
- Chest Stretch: For this stretch, you will need a partner. Raise your arms sideways away from your body to shoulder height and turn your palms forward. Have your partner stand behind you, hold your wrists, and pull both arms back at the same time. This stretch should only last 10 seconds - going longer can put you at risk for injury.
- Hugs: This stretch warms up your back as well as your rotator cuffs. Start by holding your arms out to your side at shoulder height. Then swing your arms across your body and hug yourself. Your hands should reach behind you and hold the back of your shoulders. Hold this position for a second and then repeat.