Posts Tagged ‘sleeper stretch’
If you know me, you know I love the sleeper stretch. Here are some variations to make the stretch even better and even more beneficial to your shoulder and elbow health.
I’ve been getting some questions about pitchers stretching routines, so I’m gonna share what I use as a pretty straightforward top to bottom stretch. In about 20 minutes you can hit all of your major muscles and joints, and be ready to go. I like to start with the lower body, and move between stretches as fluidly as I can.
First, get some blood flowing. 5 minutes of moving around at a good pace to build some muscle and joint warmth will improve all of the stretches.
I am listing these exercises in the most fluid and logical sequence, so do them in this order and they will flow together nicely.
1. IT Band
The IT band is an aponeurosis, or flat tendon band, that stretches from the lateral hip to the knee. This is tight on many athletes, and can restrict the thigh in multiple planes of movement, as well as cause knee problems.
To stretch, straighten one leg and cross the other in front. Lean into a wall while keeping the stretching leg straight, and you will feel a stretch down the outside of the leg.
2. Hip External Rotators Read the rest of this entry »
It’s cold and dreary here in Baltimore, but spring is on the way and just around the corner. What does one usually do around April or May? Spring cleaning, of course! I’m messy, and disinterested in actually cleaning anything, but at this time, with the season on the horizon, it’s time to throw out the old and stale and bring in the new training exercises, methods and programming. If you don’t re-examine what you’ve been doing every so often, you’ll never be up to speed with your body’s continually changing needs.
Step 1: Identify The Clutter Read the rest of this entry »
Here are three more shoulder stretches, that when done in addition to the sleeper stretch, will help keep one’s arm nice and loose.
Posterior Deltoid and Infraspinatus Stretch
Pull the arm across the chest to feel a stretch in the back of the shoulder. This will get the infraspinatus (a rotator cuff muscle) and the posterior deltoid.
This stretch can also be done at different angles across the body to get the muscles in a new direction.
Middle Deltoid Stretch
With the arm at 90°, grab the forearm and pull the arm across the back. The range of motion won’t be very long, but you will feel a stretch in the middle aspect of your shoulder.
Anterior Deltoid Stretch
Keep your arm straight and pull directly down the middle of the back.
The key to this stretch is keeping good posture – maintain a high chest and keep your shoulders square.
You don’t want your shoulder to sag or rotate backward as you pull. This would take the muscle out of proper position to stretch.
In addition to standing, these three can also be done laying face down on the floor.
The perfect time to do them is right after sleeper stretches, as you can just stand up or roll over onto your stomach and complete your shoulder stretching circuit.
Pitchers are weird people, mostly because of the physical act of throwing. The motion is so violent and powerful that it throws a pitcher’s body out of whack and causes major asymmetries in strength, size, flexibility and range of motion, bone structure, etc.
One major adaptation of the pitcher is in shoulder range of motion (ROM). Pitchers have incredible, otherworldly external rotation. The average person couldn’t dream of contorting his arm in such a way.
My buddy Andrew Germuth showing off his external rotation
And what price do we pitchers pay for enjoying such lavish external rotation? You guessed it! A tight rotator cuff and a subsequent deficiency of internal rotation. (there is always a catch!)
So what? Does it matter if a pitcher has poor shoulder range of motion internally?
The answer to this question is unequivocally “yes.” Any trainer or physical therapist will tell you that a lack of ROM in any joint is pathological and indicative of underlying problems. Normal ROM should exist in all one’s joints, and if not, there is a probably a problem as to why. In many populations these imbalances in flexibility might not impair day-to-day functioning, but for athletes and especially pitchers, inflexibility poses major problems.
Dr. Craig Morgan and colleagues are researching the link between elbow pain (up to and including full blown ligament tears requiring Tommy John surgery) and internal rotation. What he is finding (as he found in me) is that a huge amount of pitchers coming to him have significant GIRD (glenohumeral internal rotation deficiency), and once that GIRD is reduced to an amount within 20 degrees of the internal rotation of the non-throwing shoulder, the pitchers very often return to throwing without pain. Internal rotation deficits are caused by posterior shoulder capsule tightness, which can be alleviated using the sleeper stretch. Restore your internal rotation ROM and you will be throwing healthier and harder. Read the rest of this entry »