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Avoid These 3 Baseball Warm-up Mistakes

Written on February 6, 2013 at 4:59 am, by Eric Cressey

At Cressey Performance, we manage a ton of baseball players throughout the year.  In doing so, we often notice trends – both good and bad – that emerge in the things they start applying on their own.  Here are three warm-up mistakes I commonly see players making before they pick up a ball to throw:

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  • tim

    Eric,
    Are the crossover symmetry exercises good for baseball players if they are performed correctly? Thanks for the information on warmups.
    Tim

  • http://ericcressey.com Eric Cressey

    Tim,

    Absolutely!

  • Scott

    Eric, this is really going to help, thank you. Quick question, what do you recommend then if anything for internal rotation? What do you feel about band pull aparts (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NKBsia-o9N4) and band arm circles like this (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YJ2n2wvj6mA) for pitcher warm ups and not general shoulder warm up?
    Thank you,
    Scott

  • Steven Head

    Hey Eric,
    I picked up arm circles from “Thrive on Throwing” dvd and use them usu. with 2-3# dbs or 3 baseballs as one of my primary warm-ups. What’s your take? Hand position?
    Thanks,
    Steven

  • http://getfitpe.com Drew

    Do you have specific band exercises that you recommend or a set that is good for them? I have a few but just interested to see if there are any new ones out there. Completely agree with the behind the back stretches

  • Don Schwartz

    Eric,
    Is this why elbows are up during delivery – to keep ball in center of socket?

  • http://www.viterboathletics.com Chad Miller

    Good stuff Eric!! Thanks for doing this little piece. I have a couple guys who really struggle to get that elbow up when not only doing arm care work, but also when they throw. They leave that elbow well below the shoulder as the shoulder rotate and they lay back. Tough to change that arm action but need to learn more about how to help them reprogram to get the elbow up closer to shoulder height I believe. Needless to say, they both came to me with previous surgeries so not sure if this is how they compensate for discomfort when throwing?

  • Bob Huber

    Eric
    What would you recommend to someone who is tight externally?

  • Sherlander

    Aren’t crossover symmetry movements essentially band pull aparts? Am I way off base here?

  • http://ericcressey.com Eric Cressey

    Bob,

    You mean someone who lacks external rotation?

  • http://ericcressey.com Eric Cressey

    Don,

    There’s definitely more to it than that. Have to get the arm up to help create downward plane, too.

  • http://ericcressey.com Eric Cressey

    Steven,

    I don’t think it’s a problem as long as the congruency b/t the ball and socket is maintained.

  • http://ericcressey.com Eric Cressey

    Scott,

    For IR, we work on positional breathing, t-spine mobility, and soft tissue work – and then consider stretching at the shoulder. Might be side-lying cross-body stretch or sleeper stretch (or, preferably, manual stretching with someone who is qualified).

    I like the snow angels but not the pullaparts for pitchers.

  • http://ericcressey.com Eric Cressey

    Drew,

    We keep things very simple. I like ER at 90 degrees and Ys. We do a lot more wall slide and back to wall shoulder flexion drills, then rhythmic stabilizations.

  • http://www.webball.com Richard Todd

    Eric, I recommend you highly as you know, but it occurred to me after watching this a couple more times – you hold the cuffs in your fists. Maybe for expediency to focus on the shoulder concerns, but I know Alan opposes the fist grip and designed the J-Bands with cuffs so that the hand and fingers could remain loose and relaxed while the parts of the arm/shoulders provide the effort.

  • http://ericcressey.com Eric Cressey

    Richard,

    Thanks for your support. I actually disagree with Alan on this one. Gripping actually reflexively activates the rotator cuff (process known as irradiation). Great stuff out there from Charlie Weingroff and Gray Cook on this front. I don’t think specificity to throwing is so important in this case.

  • Bob Huber

    Eric
    Reccommnedations for posterior shoulder tightness

  • http://ericcressey.com Eric Cressey

    Bob,

    If they lack internal rotation, there are several things we do – in the following order:

    1. Positional breathing drills (correcting a left rib flare can create more right glenohumeral internal rotation)
    2. Thoracic spine mobility work
    3. Soft tissue work
    4. Scapular control exercises
    5. Manual stretching for shoulder or side-lying cross-body or sleeper stretch (only if IR deficit persists and total motion isn’t symmetrical after #1-4)

    You don’t want to go right to aggressively cranking the shoulder into IR unless you absolutely have to.

  • http://www.pro-fitnesspt.com/ Eugene Roebuck

    Great video! Thanks for sharing! Awesome!

  • Chris

    Eric, what about former baseball players that still have some nagging shoulder pain and possible joint laxity, but coupled with tight pecs from years of strength training. How would that population stretch the pecs without further loosening the shoulder joint?

  • http://ericcressey.com Eric Cressey

    Chris,

    I’d incorporate a lot of soft tissue work and then a lot of this stuff:

    http://www.ericcressey.com/shoulder-mobility-drills-how-to-improve-external-rotation

  • Jeff

    I have my 13 year old son working with a PVC pipe (overhead stretches – wide grip moving the bar from the front of the body, overhead to touching the low back, as well as, “around the worlds”) for pre throwing warm ups. Would you not recommend this for the same reasons as the stretch bands? Thanks.

  • http://ericcressey.com Eric Cressey

    Jeff,

    I’d stay away from it if he is a thrower.

  • Chris Bullington

    I have a lot questions on why you don’t agree with external strengthening and stretching.

  • http://ericcressey.com Eric Cressey

    Chris,

    I agree 100% that we need to strengthen the external rotators of the shoulder. I do not, however, believe that we need to stretch individuals into external rotation.

  • Chris

    I’m not trying to disagree…. but I thought bands were used to strengthen the rotator muscles in the shoulder? Are we talking about two different things here?

  • http://ericcressey.com Eric Cressey

    Chris,

    I’d encourage you to watch the video over again. I’m not against the idea of using the bands to strengthen the shoulder girdle. I’m against using them to stretch individuals into a bad position. And, I highlight the importance of correct core positioning if you are going to use them for rotator cuff strengthening.


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