Shoulder mobility and flexibilty


#1

I recently read lankyleftys post about the 95 mph body and saw that shoulder flexibility kept coming up. Besides the sleeper stretch and the towel stretch, what else can one do to increase shoulder flexibility?


#2

Flexibility takes time. Here is a list of a couple stretches to do everyday.

Arm Across and hold
Arm overhead and hold
Lat stretch - Pull on a fence of wall - or use a foam roll
Sleeper - already mentioned
Static stretches take time to gain mobility

I wish you the best - Zach


#3

Thanks! I will definitely do them everyday


#4

You need to make sure you don’t loosen the joint capsule as that will result in injury and a greater chance for injury.

According to ASMI:

The greater the maximum external rotation in pitching, the greater distance there is to accelerate the hand forward and consequently the greater the ball velocity.

Max ER is not something that is gained by stretching, unless you’re coming back from an injury, or have a deficit of some kind that a Dr. or PT has assessed and is treating you for. MER is a dynamic measurement that is the result of a combination of the rotational velocity of the upper trunk, the amount of rotation at the shoulder joint, the amount of movement of the shoulder blade, and the amount of extension in the upper spine (arching the back).

We’ve seen too many people out there cranking back on a pitcher’s arm, trying to improve his MER, when all they’re actually doing is stretching out the joint capsule and creating an unstable shoulder joint. If there isn’t a health issue, then you improve ER by improving the efficiency of the pitching mechanics, beginning with the hip/upper trunk separation.


#5

I didn’t think about it like that. So you’re saying not to do the stretches Zach said above?


#6

I don’t know enough to judge those stretches. I just know that there are stretches that will loosen the shoulder and that is not a good thing for a pitcher. My recommendation would be to check with a PT or some other similar expert to be sure.


#7

Hi Baseball1771,

Sorry for chiming in late. I’m brand new here.

I think it is important to differentiate correlation and causation as it relates to the flexibility and throwing velocity…

Flexibility may be associated with throwing velocity (<— correlation) but that doesn’t necessarily mean that increasing flexibility increases velocity (<— causation). Do you see the difference?

There is no denying that the arm must achieve some pretty extreme postures during the throwing motion but these are likely more a by-product of throwing hard rather than a pre-requisite to throwing hard.

As far as increasing shoulder mobility, while some of the most flexible people in the world stretch on a daily basis (causation) the mechanisms are poorly understood and not well agreed upon. Joint mobility is the net-result of a complex interaction of many neurophysiological factors that can be manipulated in many ways other than traditional flexibility training.

My advice would be: if you are going to stretch, approach it in a very progressive manner. Yanking your arm into weird, uncomfortable, painful positions or going too far too soon is counterproductive to your goals.