Gaining flexibility

whats the best way to become more flexible?

obviously you must stretch. the areas that you want to be more flexible in will require more time stretching. the best overall way to increase flexibility is yoga. the most popular type of yoga practiced by pro athletes is known as Bikram Yoga. It is practiced in a hot room and really stretches you out and is tremendous workout as well. If you google Bikram Yoga i think there will be a website that will find the nearest studio near you. If there isn’t one close to you, I bought the dvd Power Yoga For Baseball and it really isn’t too bad. Most of the movements are baseball specific. And i did see a difference. The website for that dvd is
www.poweryogaforbaseball.com
. good luck

Lifting through a full range of motion
ART and foamrolling
Static Stretching POST training

Static stretching prior to something predisposes you to injury and reduces power nearly 10% according to some studies.

I think yoga is primarily a bunch of bologna. Some value, but for the time, you could get way way more accomplished. And if you stretch a muscle too much and never strengthen it you just become useless and weak. It perfectly fits the American mindset of wanting to believe your doing something when in reality your never leaving your comfort zone.

Start with regularly static stretching the hip flexors, if your like every other American, spending countless hours in a chair, they are going to be chronically tight.

And as an example of how just this one muscle can mess things up…
Short hip flexors tip the hips forward. This stretches the ham strings extra, making it easier for a hami-pull. Flexors pulling your hips forward create an unnatural arch in the low back, often leading to chronic pain. Short and tight hip flexors prevent you from being able to use your glutes (huge and powerful muscle). And a host of other areas where it messes things.

The only thing I regularly static stretch is my hip flexors. I can get my palms on the floor with a straight leg hamstring stretch. And can get into a rock bottom squat whenever.

My 2 cents haha. The first thing everyone wants to static stretch is the hamstrings, but the point of my little rant is that it’s actually an ignored muscle that is causing a lot of the problems.

strech :roll: :roll:

Centerfield, have you ever tried yoga, specifically Bikram Yoga? If you can make it through one session of Bikram Yoga and tell me that it didn’t push you outside of your comfort level then you’re a tougher man than I am. But please don’t talk out of your a**. I’m sure Joel Zumaya doesn’t think yoga is a bunch of bologna. It’s what he attributes the most to his jump in velocity since being drafted!

[quote=“throwinched”]
Centerfield, have you ever tried yoga, specifically Bikram Yoga? If you can make it through one session of Bikram Yoga and tell me that it didn’t push you outside of your comfort level then you’re a tougher man than I am. But please don’t talk out of your a**. I’m sure Joel Zumaya doesn’t think yoga is a bunch of bologna. It’s what he attributes the most to his jump in velocity since being drafted![/quote]
Calling my ass out, wow. This could be interesting
First off I was typing my post when your post was published. I never saw anything you said, so grow up. And sure as hell don’t attack me.

Second I’m talking about the GENERAL term yoga. Your response is so pitifully biased. Take the blinders off. Clearly you are one of those people that loves yoga, congrats, glad you found something you like. DO you have any idea on what basis anything is affecting your body? Don’t feed me the crap marketing lines from the back of your DVD box.

What percentage of the population is actually following the “Bikram” style? I pulled up a map, I live in a metro area of about 1.5 million people. 2 bikram studios. The percentage is tiny!

Hey, and then lets consider it’s takes a freaking hour an a half. I can get SO MUCH stuff done that will guarantee baseball performance improvement, injury prevention etc. For almost any HS or college athlete an hour and a half of yoga seems like a waste of precious time.

If people with pitifully low fitness levels can compete a session of yoga, and feel perfectly comfortable, it’s obviously not removing anyone from their comfort zone.
Anything in a 100 degree and humid room is going to make you feel uncomfortable, even trying to take a nap…

It is clear to me your actual comprehension of the body and how training mechanisms work is dismal. God, you even said “baseball specific movements” wow, i don’t even know where to begin with how wrong this statement is. Let’s call it “good marketing” at best.

Good for Joel. Kudos to him even. I have no idea what mechanism of yoga could possibly make him throw harder. It doesn’t even make any sense physiologically…

Their are multiple fundamental poses of yoga (cat/cow and some others that I don’t feel like looking up the “name” of) that are totally against how the body is supposed to move and work. If your want to tear up your spine, enjoy it.

American marketing at it’s finest. Yoga has existed for millenia. Why on earth does it instantly become this be all end all just now.

If you want to do it that’s fine. But in the time a yoga session take, I can get way more done that is actually going to help me with on field performance.
It’s a matter of what’s most effective and most worthwhile for your time. I assure you if i really believed yoga would provide a sincere benefit for the time required, I would be doing it daily.

Well first of all, the topic creator asked specifically for ways to improve his flexibility which is totally reasonable. Yoga is one of the best ways to increase this in all areas of the body (which is why it has been used for a long time). Anyway, I have found that my flexibility increases every year during conditioning for baseball (as a team, not even pitching-specific). We include things like running (just jog for 15 straight minutes, you will travel about 1.5-2 miles), as well as ab workouts, wall sits, squats, grounder after grounder (getting low to field the ball, up, and throw), and other strength training.

Because running can get boring after a while, we play basketball (as a baseball team) every year about 2 weeks before opening day (for a couple practices). Its a way to get used to communicating while getting our running and agility in. You may want to consider something like that to prepare for baseball.

The thing though about strength training, is that when you become too bulky muscle-wise, you in turn lose flexibility. Use the exercises in the Pitching Articles page to see how you can increase strength and flexibility at the same time.

Point taken about the original question. I question the productivity of yoga and how worthwhile it is.

If you lift through full range of motion this loss of flexibilty just isn’t going to happen. I’m 40lbs heavier than I was last season and worlds more flexible. You are going to have to be on a level of bulk that takes years dedicated lifting before you would cut flexiblity.

Proper training will enhance it.

Just a little note…

Bulk = hypertrophy
Hypertrophy = bodybuilding

Strength training by it’s very definition is the act of training to increase strength attributes, whether it be maximal strength, power, or endurance. Getting big and bulky is not part of strength training, it’s part of bodybuilding.

However, there seems to be a negative connotation within the baseball community that strength training leads to getting big and bulky like a bodybuilder, causing a loss of flexibility. That is not true at all. Just look at any athlete that competes in a weight class sport, like wrestling, boxing, or MMA. The relative strength of these athletes (strength divided by bodyweight) is through the roof and they are able to acheive increases in strength without gaining bodyweight.

Just an example-
here is a video of boxing trainer Ross Enamait deadlifting 495 pounds (@ 165-170 pounds bodyweight).

If you watch any of the other videos, you will also note that Ross has very high levels of flexibility, even though he does not do any flexibility training. In his book Never Gymless he mentions that using full range of motion during exercise is an effective way to increase flexibility.

Yeah I guess I shouldn’t have connected strength training with bulk. But when I say strength training most people think they need to bench 225 and have giant biceps or something to pitch fast, which you obviously know is not true.

centerfield, what do you mean by lifting through full range of motion

[quote=“centerfield2150”][quote=“throwinched”]
Centerfield, have you ever tried yoga, specifically Bikram Yoga? If you can make it through one session of Bikram Yoga and tell me that it didn’t push you outside of your comfort level then you’re a tougher man than I am. But please don’t talk out of your a**. I’m sure Joel Zumaya doesn’t think yoga is a bunch of bologna. It’s what he attributes the most to his jump in velocity since being drafted![/quote]
Calling my a** out, wow. This could be interesting
First off I was typing my post when your post was published. I never saw anything you said, so grow up. And sure as hell don’t attack me.

Second I’m talking about the GENERAL term yoga. Your response is so pitifully biased. Take the blinders off. Clearly you are one of those people that loves yoga, congrats, glad you found something you like. DO you have any idea on what basis anything is affecting your body? Don’t feed me the crap marketing lines from the back of your DVD box.

What percentage of the population is actually following the “Bikram” style? I pulled up a map, I live in a metro area of about 1.5 million people. 2 bikram studios. The percentage is tiny!

Hey, and then lets consider it’s takes a freaking hour an a half. I can get SO MUCH stuff done that will guarantee baseball performance improvement, injury prevention etc. For almost any HS or college athlete an hour and a half of yoga seems like a waste of precious time.

If people with pitifully low fitness levels can compete a session of yoga, and feel perfectly comfortable, it’s obviously not removing anyone from their comfort zone.
Anything in a 100 degree and humid room is going to make you feel uncomfortable, even trying to take a nap…

It is clear to me your actual comprehension of the body and how training mechanisms work is dismal. God, you even said “baseball specific movements” wow, i don’t even know where to begin with how wrong this statement is. Let’s call it “good marketing” at best.

Good for Joel. Kudos to him even. I have no idea what mechanism of yoga could possibly make him throw harder. It doesn’t even make any sense physiologically…

Their are multiple fundamental poses of yoga (cat/cow and some others that I don’t feel like looking up the “name” of) that are totally against how the body is supposed to move and work. If your want to tear up your spine, enjoy it.

American marketing at it’s finest. Yoga has existed for millenia. Why on earth does it instantly become this be all end all just now.

If you want to do it that’s fine. But in the time a yoga session take, I can get way more done that is actually going to help me with on field performance.
It’s a matter of what’s most effective and most worthwhile for your time. I assure you if i really believed yoga would provide a sincere benefit for the time required, I would be doing it daily.[/quote]

Good job man you got me… Bikram has so few studios because it is an entire process to become a bikram instructor. First, one has to complete six months of consistent training at a certified studio to even be considered for training. Then they have to apply to attend the course which is a couple month semester where they learn about how to correctly perform and instruct the poses. Then they have to be an instructor for another year to even apply to open a certified bikram studio. Then throw in the cost of opening your own business and its no wonder why there are as few as there are. Also most americans, as you said, aren’t willing to push themselves outside their comfort level so there’s no sense in having too many.
As for what mechanisms of yoga would help someone throw harder, I do believe increasing one’s overall flexibility will increase the chance of throwing harder. If you increase groin flexibility, which yoga WILL do, it will help increase stride length which will increase the amount of hip/shoulder separation achieved in the motion. Yoga will help increase the flexibility in the area where the chest and shoulder meet which will increase the amount of external rotation can achieve. Typically people who can externally rotate their arm more throw harder. Are their other factors? of course, but that is a big factor.
Ok all that being said, yes, an hour and a half of yoga is a large commitment. Yes you must do a whole lot more than yoga to be a good pitcher. Between strength training, running, long-toss, bull-pens, and whatever team commitments one has yoga is a very good option for increasing flexibility. Are there other ways to increase flexibility? Of course. Another aspect of yoga that people underestimate though is the breathing, focus, and the discipline aspect. There is a large emphasis on being “in the moment” focusing on each movement and breathing through it. This helps one keep his poise on the mound and focus one pitch at a time. I’m not saying that anything you’ve recommended is wrong. I just took offense to how you said that yoga doesn’t push one out of his comfort level when it is fairly obvious that you haven’t given it a try. My experience with it is that it has really helped me with my overall flexibility and has helped me to become a much better pitcher (i have a very solid chance of being drafted this year) which was the original purpose of this thread.

TD Baseball, that would be lifting from maximal joint angle. From complete lockout to the deepest you can possibly go. For a pullup that mean syou go all the way to the bottom with each rep, lock the elbows out, not a 45 degree angle. Squat, that means your hamstrings are touching your calves. that sorta thing.
here’s a good example: http://youtube.com/watch?v=2637k3lZ04s
Seriously most people can’t even achieve that deep of a squat.


Throwinched, my hats off to you! :clap: :clap:

Thank you for providing a reasonable discussion exhibiting both sides of the point.

Your points are good and well formed.

Sometimes it seems like guys almost use yoga as their training as sort of a cop out, so I kinda jumped the gun. Like I’ve had people tell me it makes them stronger, more powerful, and all this other stuff that doesn’t even make logical sense.

I do deep meditation, not within the boundaries of yoga, but it definitely has it’s benefits.

It’s few and far between to have a reasonable and well thought “discussion” in the S & C forum half the time. Don’t know if you were around for RIStar, but well that fellow has made me more likely to jump the gun on others lol. It was impossible to have a reasonable discussion with him.

Thank you, and well said.

Ya it’s all good centerfield. I understand where you are coming from because I’m sure there are some people that overstate the benefits of yoga. It, like any ONE thing, will not make someone a better pitcher. Incorporating many different types of training and a LOT of practice will. I think we got off on the wrong foot because obviously I didn’t realize you hadn’t read my original post and then posted that yoga was a bunch of bologna which i took as a direct blow to what I had written. Then my competitive nature jumped in, and of course, I had to fire back! Pitching is my passion and I will do anything short of steroids to try and gain an edge. Yoga is one of the things that I’ve tried and it has been very beneficial to me. I know it’s not for everyone, but I would encourage everyone to at least set aside their biases and such and give it a try. Anyways, sorry for any misunderstandings and happy pitching!

Back to the original post–Foam rolling followed by proper static stretching is a good way to increase flexibility.

You don’t need a long stride to throw hard. Guys who throw 95+ have all sorts of stride lengths. It’s not an absolute.

A long stride is a result of additional momentum generated with the front leg combined with riding a back leg with a deep knee bend. It has nothing to do with flexibility in the groin region. It has to do with explosiveness (fast-twitch fibers).

As for hip/shoulder separation, yes that is important, but not everyone is Lincecum. Your separation will be limited to your body type.

I’ll agree that not everyone needs a long stride to throw hard. Aaron Harang and Brad Penny being a couple of them. I’ll also agree that there is a little too much of an obsession with Lincecum. He has very unique mechanics that maximize his potential and we can learn a lot from them but they arent for everyone. At the same time though, many hard throwers do have long strides. Nolan Ryan, Josh Beckett, Billy Wagner, Johan Santana, and Felix Hernandez are a few of many. I’ll agree that fast twitch fibers have a lot to do with it, but if you have a tight groin, it’s not going to allow you to take a long stide. Look at anyone with a fairly long stide and their groin separation is very significant. If their groins were tight and they took a long stride, the hips would be pulled open by the front leg and thus, open much too soon.