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Injury Prevention Stretches & Exercises for Baseball Players

Home News & Videos JAG Physical Therapy Blog Injury Prevention Stretches & Exercises for Baseball Players

Baseball players are at risk of injuries due to the strenuous nature of the game and the length of the season. These include injuries to the shoulder, elbow, and lower back, which can put players out of action for some time.

This article is dedicated to injury prevention stretches for baseball players to help reduce that risk. We’ll also look at targeted exercises to build strength and prevent injury through the course of the season.

What Are the Most Common Injuries Among Baseball Players?

Baseball players are at risk of a whole range of injuries, particularly to the shoulder and elbow, since the muscles and tendons around these areas are worked hard and often.

Common injuries include:

  • Rotator cuff tear. The rotator cuff is the group of muscles and tendons that support the shoulder joint. A rotator cuff tear is an injury to this area, causing pain, weakness, and mobility issues.
  • Shoulder impingement. This occurs when the rotator cuff rubs against the top of the shoulder blade. It causes shoulder pain, which may feel worse when you extend or lift the arm.
  • Elbow tendonitis: This is injury or inflammation in the tendons around the elbow. Elbow tendonitis can cause pain, tenderness, and sometimes a burning sensation and can affect mobility.
  • Lower back strain: Repeated strain on the muscles and ligaments in the back can cause lower back strain and stiffness. Pain may radiate to the buttocks and legs.

Any of these injuries can impact severely on a player’s performance and put them out of action.

Fortunately, injury prevention exercises for baseball players, and stretches too, can help reduce the risk of this happening. We’ll take a look at these in the next sections.

What Stretches Can Baseball Players Incorporate for Injury Prevention?

Check out the following stretches that target key muscle groups used in baseball.

Be sure to stretch safely by doing it gently, not bouncing and breathing through your stretch. Stop if you feel any pain. Following these tips and steps will maximize effectiveness and minimize injury risk.

Cross-Arm Stretch

This stretches the muscles at the back of the shoulder.

  1. Stand with your feet just under shoulder-width apart.
  2. Bring your right arm up to just under shoulder height.
  3. Put your left hand on your right elbow and pull your right arm across your body using your left hand to support your arm.

Do three sets of this exercise, each lasting 30 seconds.

Elbow Stretches

Elbow stretches target the elbow.

  1. Hold your arm straight down.
  2. Bring your palm face up.
  3. Bring the palm as close as you can to the shoulder.
  4. Hold for a few seconds, and then relax.
  5. Try to increase your range of motion without the elbow coming forward.

Do three sets of 10.

Hip Stretches

Increase hip mobility with this stretch.

  1. Sit up on the floor, elbows and hands down.
  2. Kick one leg back with your knee and toes on the opposite side making contact with the floor.
  3. Bring your heel back and lift the knee as high as you can. Squeeze and hold for 5 seconds.
  4. Bring the knee down.

Repeat the sequence 10 times, and then swap to the opposite side.

Lumbar Stretch

Follow this stretch to warm up your lower back.

  1. Lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet to the floor.
  2. Stretch your arms out in a T position.
  3. Cross your right leg over your left leg, knee to knee.
  4. Use your right leg to pull your left leg across your body.
  5. Do two sets of 1 minute on each side.

What Exercises Are Recommended for Injury Prevention in Baseball Players?

The exercises below will improve stability, mobility, and muscular balance, enhancing overall performance and reducing injury risk.

Side Lying External Rotation with Dumbbell

This exercise strengthens the rotator cuff muscles.

  1. Grab a dumbbell and a small rolled-up towel.
  2. Lie on your side. Hold the towel at the inner elbow and keep the dumbbell in a downward position.
  3. Squeeze in on the towel and lift the dumbbell up, with your forearm straight. Release back to your original position.

Do three sets of 10 repetitions on each side.

Wall Angels

This exercise targets the serratus anterior muscle and the rotator cuff muscles, stabilizing your shoulder blades.

  1. Place a resistance band around your wrists.
  2. Pull so that your shoulder blades move out and apart from each other, and rest your hands on the wall in front of you.
  3. Maintaining this position, slide your hands up the wall and then back down.

Do two sets of 15 repetitions.

Plank and Side Plank

Practice this exercise to strengthen your core muscles.

  1. Get down on your elbows and toes with your trunk up off the floor or mat.
  2. Engage the core muscles and pull the belly button in towards the spine, holding your body in a straight line.
  3. Hold for 1 minute, and then rest for 30 seconds.
  4. Get into a side plank position, resting on your elbow. Hold for 1 minute.

Do five sets of 1 minute each.

Cat/Camel

This yoga-inspired exercise strengthens the mid-spine area and lower body.

  1. Get on your hands and knees with your spine in a neutral position.
  2. Arch your back, lifting your head up.
  3. Drop your head and curl your spine upwards.
  4. Switch between the two positions, pausing for 2 seconds in each one, 10 times.

Do this exercise for two sets of 20 repetitions.

Protect Your Game with JAG Physical Therapy’s Injury Prevention Program

If you’re a baseball player, the experts at JAG Physical Therapy can design a customized injury prevention program for you. This will include evidence-based stretches, exercises, and injury prevention strategies.

Reach out to us to schedule a consultation or learn more about JAG Physical Therapy’s injury prevention services here.