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Eccentric Exercise and Mobility

Written on June 24, 2008 at 8:44 am, by Eric Cressey

One of the things that we are constantly working to address with our baseball guys is the loss of range-of-motion following an extended period of throwing (i.e., a pitching appearance). There’s some good research out there showing that the marked eccentric stress on the elbow flexors (biceps, etc) and glenohumeral external rotators (posterior rotator cuff) can lead to an acute (and potentially chronic) loss of elbow extension and humeral internal rotation range-of-motion. Pitching with a loss of ROM over the course of a competitive season is a recipe for disaster – both in terms of velocity reductions and risk of injury.

Interestingly, previous research has shown that post-exercise ROM is reduced more with eccentric muscle actions than concentric muscle actions. Since virtually every resistance training sessions comprise some form of eccentric exercise, post-training stretching for the involved musculature is really valuable. And, if you’re doing a lot of eccentrics in that training sessions, it’s even more important.

A lot of athletes get bored really quickly with static stretching, so one thing I’ve done a bit (especially with kids who really need to work on their mobility) is to simply repeat our dynamic flexibility warm-ups – but integrate a bit longer of a hold on each rep.

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