swimming

does swimming have any benefits for baseball, specifically for your shoulder? if you arent the greatest of swimmers can you hurt your shoulder by trying to swim? what are the best strokes to use?

In terms of hurting yourself I have heard numerous things from different people. Some say it can hurt you and some say its great for your shoulder. I would say that the freestyle stroke is the best for your shoulder the breast stroke is for your pecs and the butterfly stroke is for your back.

I would have to say No on it being good for pitching. Your taking an overhead motion like pitching and now your going in a pool and doing it some more. Your bound to get an overuse injury. If your looking to improve arm strength throw, if your looking to improve stamina run sprints. Swimming is not a good option.

I have to completely disagree 100%

Swimming is an incredible option for pitchers, and I would recommend it to anybody. Pitching is a complete total body workout, much of the same is swimming. And if you’ve ever swam lengths in a pool, you’ll realize how tiring and difficult swimming really is. It’s a great total body workout.

On a side note, if swimming really bothers your arm, you should probably go see a doctor.

What reasons make it a good option for baseball pitchers? I could go cross-country skiing all day thats a good total body exercise, but how does it improve my performance? Its not a good option becuase your shoulder needs rest from throwing and going overhead. In my opinion its bound to decrease performance. Your training for baseball not swimming.

Law of Exercise Specificity refers to the similarity between a training activity and the actual task(s) one is training for. If you throw on a regular basis, and do arm exercises, why would you need to go into a pool to train your arm. Also how does it carry over to stamina. Baseball is purely ATP-CP system in the body for pitching. While running bases its anaerobic glycolysis. So doing laps in a pool isnt going to help you throw longer into innings. Your training the wrong energy system in the pool.

Also if your thinking its great for recovery its not, how can your arm recover from going overhead if your putting it understress again to go overhead during the swimming action. If your looking to recover after a workout there are other great recovery modalities that you can use like; foam rolling, mobility exercise circuits, a low-intesity weight training session etc. There are better options than swimming

So like I said swimming is not such a good option, but hey do what makes you happy. :smiley:

Again, I respectfully completely disagree.

Sounds like your one of the guys who doesn’t think anything “over the head” is a good idea at all. I honestly think tthis might be the biggest myth in baseball. Throughout my years in pro ball and college ball, I’ve never ever ever seen anybody get hurt doing anything “over the head”, other than actually throwing a baseball. Whether it’s weight lifting, certainly never seen someone get hurt swimming, heck, I’ve never seen anybody get hurt doing a military press. I’ve actually trained with several guys who do military press or “over the head” medicine ball throws. The only way I can see somebody getting hurt is by being a complete idiot and either not warming up or using improper technique or putting on too much weight. But hey, people fall down the stairs right? It happens I guess. It’s like the whole weighted baseball myth. The arm isn’t supposed to handle more weight than 5 oz.??! Says who? Quarterbacks seem to be ok, why can’t people use overload training? This is all outdated information. It’s a new age. People are living in the past.

I actually really have no idea how somebody can actually think swimming is “bad” for you in the offseason. When somebody is doing a freestyle swim, is your arm not creating a similiar arc to that of a pitcher throwing a pitch?

Do you think it’s important to have your body be in good conidition to pitch a full season? To hold up to the stress of throwing well over a hundred innings a year? Do you think it’s important to have your heart and lungs in shape? Or to be healthy? Hmmmm… Seems like swimming may help after all.

So do you think that swimming will improve your pitching performance? Also explain why, and dont say because its good for your heart? So is marathon running, but it wont help you throw gas.

Also the swimming motion is completly different from throwing a baseball. It does not form the arc you speak of. The biomechanics is completly different. Your arm when throwing doesnt look like a windmill like swimming does. Also you dont reach when you throw a baseball like swimming incorporates. Also you have alot of resistance in the water on your downstroke, in baseball you have none, your back is decelerating the arm at that point, your still accelerating in the water, when does your back start to decelerate it. During swimming your constantly reaching out of the water and pulling and pushing in the water. You dont do any of this while pitching. A swimmer is constantly accelerating his arm. That is obviously a scatterd description of swimming shoulder motion, but look at any biomechanics book and compare the two motions and there different.

Also to answer your question, YES i do think that overhead lifting is dangerous to pitchers. Baseball players and most overhead athletes have horrible upward scapular rotation. Also Look at the Snatch. Its an overhead lift and the amount of valgus-extension stress on the elbow is enourmous. That kind of stress is put right on the Ulnar Collateral Ligament. Also shoulder pressing as well as snatches pushes the humerus into the glenoid fossa (gf). The labrum is between the humerus and gf. Also almost every pitcher you see in the major leagues has some labral fraying, that means less mechanical stability. So if overhead work pushes the humerus into a frayed labrum, its like putting a house on chipped concrete. When you throw the humerus actually pulls away from the gf because of the weight of the baseball. Your myth you talk about is FACT it is bad for overhead throwing athletes to do overhead lifts. I think you need to read up alittle bit on strength training for baseball players.

Also like a said before swimming wont get you in shape for baseball, it gets you in shape for swimming. You can work your heart and lungs just the same conditioning your self for baseball. If you want to be healthy have a good nutrition plan.

Good post, your a smart man.

Just to my knowledge I have never once ever seen or even heard of anybody getting hurt doing any sort of overhead lifting.

Ofcourse, the best thing to do to become a better pitcher, is actually pitch and become better on a mound. There’s no dispute to any of that.

Ofcourse good nutrition is going to help you become healthy. Is this helpful for a pitcher? CERTAINLY. Just based on energy levels alone, it’s important to become healthy. We’ve all had days when we’re at work, or in the bullpen before a game and we feel a little tired. Just to have your body become more efficient and feeling good is a huge help for any pitcher.

Does swimming directly help you become a better pitcher? No. It helps you become a better swimmer. But I do believe that it can help you indirectly. When you combine things like swimming, yoga, a weight training program, nutrition, weighted ball throwing, it will certainly help me become a better pitcher. Ofcourse maintaning a strong throwing program with side sessions is vital, but that’s not a problem.

ChadM it does improve your endurance with pitching, so you can go 7 or 8 innings. improving your aerobic capicity, which is what your doing when you swim, you are increasing your body’s ability to transfer oxygen to your muscles. this improves your performace of each individual muscle and gives you more endurance

[quote=“Hammer”]
Ofcourse, the best thing to do to become a better pitcher, is actually pitch and become better on a mound. There’s no dispute to any of that.

Does swimming directly help you become a better pitcher? No. It helps you become a better swimmer. But I do believe that it can help you indirectly. When you combine things like swimming, yoga, a weight training program, nutrition, weighted ball throwing, it will certainly help me become a better pitcher. [/quote]

I agree all around here. Swimming isn’t going to help you pitch better. But it can help to improve athleticism, which indirectly can improve athletic performance. I used to swim a bit in the off-season in place of conditioning workouts that I’d normally do longer runs. See TUFFCUFF for the program.

if you swim for pitching, you have the same goal as if you jog or workout for pitching. all of these things do not directly make you a better pitcher but all of them allow you to become the best that you can be. that should be everybody’s goal

Hammer its not that a person gets hurt doing the overhead lift it just that a person wants to keep it out of the equation for getting hurt. Over time that overhead lifting could attribute to getting hurt. So why not take it out of the equation and substitute it for maybe one more back exercise.

Also RightyRinger aerobic work does improve your aerobic endurance, but thats not the energy system that is being used in pitching. A cool thing about doing anaerbic type conditioning is that it indirectly trains the aerobic system, a person cant do it the other way around. Aerobic type training cant improve your ATP-CP system and it cant train your Anaerbic Glycolysis system, but those systems can train the aerobic system.
Baseball is awesome sport in the sense that your muscles dont consume that much oxygen. When you fire your muscles in such an explosive manner you require little to no oxygen to do so. Your never without oxygen, but its after the explosive bursts of athleticism that your muscles finally recieve oxygen. Have you really ever seen a pitcher in the seventh inning just panting and huffing and puffing no, because baseball doesnt require that high of an oxygen consumption. Its the lactic acid and pH levels in the muscles that cause the tiredness come seventh inning. Thats what you train to overcome.

Steven, good point on doing more activities to train athleticism. I do agree with you there that in the off-season you should be doing other sports alongside your baseball training.

I would just like to say that I’m not against swimming, swimming is fine but to incorporate it say 2 times aweek for conditioning off-season and in-season is not a good idea. Swimming SHOULDNT be your conditioning. A fun swim here and there obviously wont hurt anyone.

Hammer its not that a person gets hurt doing the overhead lift it just that a person wants to keep it out of the equation for getting hurt. Over time that overhead lifting could attribute to getting hurt. So why not take it out of the equation and substitute it for maybe one more back exercise.

Or maybe something alittle less aggrevating to the shoulder. Thats what I wanted to end on in that paragraph. :smiley: [/quote]

Gotcha, all good points. Great conversation here.

I’m just more of the guy that likes to incorporate as much well rounded stuff as possible. I wouldn’t even be opposed to something like karate or boxing either. Ofcourse injury risk would be a problem

i ask not because i like swimming or need to get conditioned but rather wondering if it was good for the shoulder. not anytime soon but in future i will need to build all the strength back up in my arm after labrum surgery. ofcourse ill do everything the doctor and therapists say but also wondered what you guys thought of it. also chad you mentioned some lifts that were bad on the labrum. could you explain that alittle more?

i completely agree with almost everything you said ChadM. when you pitch you do only use anearobic systems however between each pitch and outing your body recovers using your aerobic system. since it brings oxygen and nutrients to the muscle it allows your muscle to use more fuel more efficiently. to use an anology, if you just train your anearobic systems you will become like a ferrari. able to do quick bursts well but you use a lot of fuel. if you just train your aerobic system you will be like a toyota prius, not able to go very fast but able to go for a long time. if you train both systems you will be able to throw for a long priod of time while maintaing a lot of power.

Try this in the pool:

  1. Warm-up with a couple of laps (doggy paddle across the shallow end if you’re not a good swimmer).

  2. Wade out until the water comes to your xyphoid process.

  3. Now, go through a good pitching motion, from the stretch, ten times (try not to swallow too much water). Note- if pool rules allow, then wear swimming shoes

  4. Do a few more laps.

  5. Avoid the condescending stares as you exit the pool.

Do this 2-4 times a week during the off-season.

On alternate days, come to the pool, wade in (after you’ve warmed-up)up to your shoulder line. Then sprint from one side of the pool to the other until you feel like you’re about to die.

After you drag yourself up the ladder, walk around the outside of the pool the equivalent of what you ran in the pool.

Caution: sprint only in the shallow end. :lol:

Actually you wont use as much fuel like you say in your analogy. Like is said earlier in a post if you just train your anaerobic system you will also train your aerobic system, but you cant do the opposite. If you train aerobic system it wont train the anaerbic. I guess i would rather be a ferrari on the mound.

Nice Post…, I just want to leave a small comment to support you, First of all I would like to thanks you for the good details about swimming exercise. This exercise for weight loss has been regularly recognized for its heart health benefit. As swimming use so many muscles in your body, your respiratory system and heart must do their best to supply them all with fresh air. This means that swimming exercise will give your heart an excellent workout.