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 Baseball Performance & Injury Prevention Training
 Baseball Mobility Drills
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Posted - 11/26/2018 :  08:20:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
In last week’s post I shared some thoughts on mobility, and its importance in the baseball athlete. We know that each individual must have access to certain movement patterns to be efficient and safe with their performance. This week I want to share a few drills we commonly prescribe to help our athletes improve their mobility and flexibility. All passwords are Rapidvideo.

Thoracic Spine Drills:

The most common presentations we encounter are individuals who are stuck in an extended (military style) posture, and those individuals who cannot rotate the thoracic spine.

https://vimeo.com/206648680 (Child’s Pose)
https://vimeo.com/245974025 (Belly Lift)
https://vimeo.com/268039447 (The Bear)

Each of these three drills promotes good flexion (rounding) of the upper back while simultaneously teaching a good scapular protraction (shoulder blades moving). These drills help the athlete secure strength in a good neutral position and can often give back lots of movement variability if done correctly over time. Be sure to exhale with some intent!

https://vimeo.com/250884336 (Side-lying windmill)
https://vimeo.com/262080836 (Lateral Lunge windmill)

These two drills are just two of MANY that train thoracic rotation. We like to individualize certain drills for certain needs, but these two certainly have value in training good rotation. It’s very important to understand the movement should come from the spine, not the shoulders. Often people will substitute shoulder/arm without realizing it. We like to cue “follow your fingers with your eyes.” I personally enjoy using the lateral lunge windmill because it includes a bit of hip mobility/frontal plane movement as well.

Shoulder Mobility:

The shoulder is one of the most complex joints in the body, and has the most movement variability (it can move through a large range of motion). Without adequate range of motion AND control of that motion, the throwing arm can encounter trouble. More often than not, we see a lack of overhead range of motion. While there can be a variety of causes, one of the most common culprits is excessive latissimus dorsi (Lats) tone.

https://vimeo.com/287105260 (supine shoulder flexion)
https://vimeo.com/250887269 (back to wall shoulder flexion)
https://vimeo.com/262068610 (TRX deep squat w/ arms overhead)

All three of these drills prioritize a good, neutral rib cage with the arms overhead. Additionally, these drills put the Lats on stretch, which allows for more range of motion. It’s important to remember that these mobility drills are only effective when good position is maintained. If the athlete cheats through it (subconsciously with flared ribs), it only reinforces bad mechanics.


We know that the hips play a massive role in developing power to swing/throw/run, but do you have the appropriate mobility to maximize this power? (Refer to previous post for why mobility is important) Again there are MANY hip mobility requirements and great drills, but for simplicity’s sake I will share a couple of my favorites for hamstrings length and general hip mobility.

https://vimeo.com/262068476 (band assisted leg lowering)
https://vimeo.com/223504335 (inchworm)

These two drills promote length and a decrease in tone for the backside of the leg (hamstrings and calves). We use these on a daily basis most often in our warm ups. The leg should be straight, so only work in positions your body allows. Stretching should be uncomfortable, not painful.

https://vimeo.com/250883954 (Adductor Rock Back)
https://vimeo.com/295835730 (modified pidgeon)

These two are basic drills that help increase both mobility and range of motion at the hips. (Mobility is characterized by active control) These two drills should be felt in the muscles on stretch and no pain/pinching should be felt in the hips or knees.
Reduce the intensity of the stretch, or be sure to have a coach watch if pain is felt.

We hope this is helpful! Have a great week, and as always feel free to comment with questions or topic requests!

All the best,
The Rapid Team

Andrew Gordon, MS, CSCS
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