Posts Tagged ‘exercise’

The start of the spring season for youth baseball is almost upon us, and high school and college baseball have been going strong for a few weeks now, so this seems like an appropriate time to talk about a few common problems that baseball and softball players can run into during the season. These are all fixable problems, but if left unchecked they can lead to injuries down the line, so it’s a good idea to get out in front of these issues and try to prevent them before they start.

Youth baseball players, especially those in their late tweens/early teens, may be at a higher risk of injury due to an increased load placed on their bodies during the season. Around age 12, these athletes start playing longer seasons on bigger fields, with additional demands from fall ball to consider as well. Also, these athletes typically don’t participate in good offseason training programs to prepare their bodies for this kind of load. When you take young, unprepared athletes and subject their bodies to a much heavier load than they’re used to, injuries have a tendency to occur.

However, we know that baseball players tend to suffer similar injuries/lose mobility/lose strength in basically the same areas, which means that we can be proactive and address these potential problems before they start, thereby greatly decreasing the likelihood that a baseball player will suffer an injury. To that end, here are 5 exercises/stretches you can do to keep yourself healthy throughout the season:

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For those who aren’t in the know, here’s a brief video showing a battle rope workout. The basic idea is that you get a heavy rope and swing it around for a while.

Battle ropes (or battling ropes) have been experiencing a big surge in popularity recently. Lots of trainers are including battle rope exercises in their clients’ workouts, and some gyms are starting to look like shipyards with the amount of huge ropes they have lying around. But is the battle rope workout just another fad, or are battle ropes a worthwhile long-term addition to peoples’ training programs?

Effective training strategy, or stupid bullshit?

Effective training strategy, or stupid bullshit?

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As Mark Rippetoe points out in this T-Nation article, there is a big difference between Training and Exercising.  In a nutshell,  Training is the process of following a progressive program that is designed to increase an aspect of fitness over time. The aspect of fitness most often associated with training is strength, but people can train to improve power, speed, and endurance as well. In contrast, Exercising is what happens if your workouts don’t progress over time, or if you do randomized workouts with no attention paid to progression of key exercises, If your program isn’t planned with an emphasis on progression, you’re not Training. You’re Exercising. And you need to stop, because Exercising is bullshit.

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Every time I evaluate a new client, the first thing I do is run them through a posture and movement screen. Basically, my objective is to evaluate how the athlete stands, and how they move. This gives me a jumping-off point when prescribing corrective exercises and mobility/soft tissue work. When evaluating a baseball player – especially a pitcher – the first thing I look at is the shoulder girdle.

Pictured: the shoulder girdle

More specifically, I’m looking at the scapulae – the flat bones that sit on either side of the thoracic spine. One of the most reliable indicators of future shoulder and elbow health is scapular positioning. Ideally, the scapulae should sit right up against the ribcage and glide smoothly across it. But with throwing athletes, what we often see instead is this:  (more…)

If you’re a human and you’re alive in the 21st century, odds are good that you have pretty terrible posture. Years upon years of sitting, slumped over a desk, have  rounded your shoulders and turned your upper back into a kyphotic nightmare. If you’re a baseball, softball, tennis, or volleyball player, the effects are probably even more pronounced.

Look at the average human these days and this is what you’ll see:

shoulder slump

Head forward, shoulders forward, and hunched spine. None of these are good traits. How does this happen?

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