What should pitchers be doing right after they pitch? The day after as well.
You should ice your shoulder and elbow immediately after the game.
Don’t pick up a ball the next day to allow your pitching arm to rest. You can stretch and run. Lots of pitchers (including MLB pitchers) don’t understand the importance of building stamina and staying in shape. Since pitching mechanics requires the bottom half to generate the transfer power, it’s super important build flexible legs, calves, hips, and ankles. In addition, blood circulation is often “neglected” for baseball players. If blood can flow to any muscle and carry the needed oxygen there, those part of the body will not work efficiently.
On day 2, get back to light throw in the BP.
Day 3, long toss and back to your regular pitching practice.
I normally do this.
Day 1- Pitch in game
Day 2- catch out to 90ft, lift
Day 3- flat ground, sprints
Day 4- long toss, lift
They now say ice is not good. Something about the lymphatic system. See below:
When you ice, blood quickly rushes to the cold area to raise the temperature on the surface of the skin. Blood is good—we want blood to go to the injured area because blood brings healing nutrients. But there’s a problem. Leave the ice on the area and you close up the blood vessels, trapping blood and waste products at the injured site. You may numb the area and reduce pain, but that doesn’t mean you’re healing the injured tissue.
People use ice, hoping to reduce inflammation, but in reality, icing only delays the inflammatory response. As soon as you take the ice away, blood rushes back to the area and inflammation ramps up again.
So what is the theory now on what should pitchers do instead of ice? Wear a jacket? mild heat? Icy-Hot or something similar?
Bx2, thanks for sharing. I was curious, so I googled it and immediately found the following:
I am a science freak, and would like to learn more. So, I will be researching on this topic.
I wonder why the doctors or medical professionals including sports specialists still apply cold pack on the injured area on the field. At PT’s office, I have been treated with both Hot and Cold therapy. In any case, I would love to find out more and share later.
Something to think about!!!
My son actually goes to Stack so I get their newsletter. Essentially, when you ice, it shrinks the blood vessels and slows the blood coming and going from the injured area. The lymphatic system can’t come in and do it’s job so it puts the healing process on hold, thus creating a longer time to heal. I first heard of this a couple of years back. Like you said, when I played, ice was the thing. Then treat with heat and ice. I don’t know what they do now. I haven’t looked at it. I would assume the best thing the following day would be to do a band workout emphasizing full range movements and then stretching.
My son plays 17u and does not ice… after pitching he runs a few poles and rides a stationary bike when he gets home if we are not away… the following day he is in the weight room working lower body and more time on the stationary bike. The second day he is in the weight room working upper body and again on the stationary bike. The third day he will workout with the Driveline “plyocare” balls and long toss… so far, he has not had any arm problems at all… watching him do “velocity training” over the winter made me cringe… I would constantly ask him how his arm was feeling and he has not complained at all… early in the year he injured his back diving for a ground ball while playing third base and was unable to pitch until the end of his high school season. He was able to start on the mound the last game of the year and threw 110 pitches… he did say his shoulder felt tight for a couple of days after. I forced him to use ice those two days and he has been fine since… granted his pitch count has not been nearly that high in travel ball. We agreed that if he has no pain or tightness he will run and ride the stationary bike to increase blood flow… if he has pain then he will use ice for a couple of days then back to running/stationary bike.
Back when I was in college I had the opportunity to work with Leo Mozzone during the off season when he was with the Braves. Leo had a saying that your arm will “rust out before you can throw it out”. He believed in throwing everyday…
I would recommend this schedule, its similar to what used at several D1 colleges and prominent high schools in my area and is what I recommend to my pitchers.
Immediately following the appearance/game-
***Run 3-4 poles and 8-10 sprints to take some of the lactic acid from your legs
***Do your typically cord routine (assuming you have access), if not I seriously recommend getting some, they are cheap and very useful. You can find programs for free all over the place.
100% MAKE SURE YOU ICE AFTER ANY PITCHING GREATER THAN 30 IN GAME PITCHES (excluding bullpens)
One start every six days schedule
Day 1- Pitch in game and do after game work
Day 2- Easy Catch out to about 80-90 ft, run (poles/sprints), and lift if possible
Day 3- Easy Catch out to about 105-110 ft, run (sprints)
Day 4- Flat Ground, run (poles), and lift if possible
Day 5- Bullpen, run (sprints), and lift if possible
Day 6- Medium to Long Toss, light 4-5 minute jog
Day 7- Be ready to start
I just spoke to a couple PT’s and doctors in the past few days. They all have different opinions. However, here are something for you to draw your own conclusion:
- How much “cold” or ice will need in order for the blood to slow down or even clog? Blood is pumped from the heart through out the whole body. The only way to stop the blood flow is to block it off or severe it someplace.
- Cold is a common therapy because it’s not “meant” to stop the inflammation. The main purpose is to “slow down” the damaged tissue/muscle to continue to “deteriorate” and stop the swallowing.
- I googled the definition of “inflammation”: When inflammation occurs, chemicals from the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues to protect your body from foreign substances. This release of chemicals increases the blood flow to the area of injury or infection, and may result in redness and warmth.
- The logic of heat therapy actually made sense. One of my son’s travelling team coach actually advised my son to go jogging after pitching to increase the body temperature and improve blood circulation. I actually disagree with this. I think fatigue can easily lead to muscle cramps and injuries. Remember, Mr. Miyoki in Karate Kids? He generated some sort of heat from his palms to apply to Daniel’s knee. And he could continue to fight!
I am sorry for being such a “nerd”. But it got me curious and I can’t help to wonder if there is a better solution to be discovered eventually.
Thanks for sharing, Yank123. Go Yankees!!!
I am not familiar with the 6-day cycle. All the coaches wanted my son to pitch more frequently, but I insist on following the pitch count guideline.
When I was in college, I learned body building and weight lifting. I learned the reason that I was sore because my muscles had micro-tears. It took time for these tears to heal in order to form new bond and grow the muscle. Protein shakes were later introduced to provide faster healing. So, based on what I learned in the past, I am NOT a fan to lift weights after pitching.
If it works for some, who am I to argue.
Yeah, the 6 day cycle is used primarily in the Northeast and most colleges, so I guess depending on where you live it depends how often you throw. Up in New York, since we really only play 8 months a year (late March-early August and September-early November), most HS pitchers don’t really have the time to work into a more strenuous routine. So during the HS season I made about a start every 6-7 days and relieved a couple of times on the 5th day or so. In summer ball, I’m usually pitching anywhere from a 4-6 day schedule depending on the length of each tournament. So by the end of the year, I’m still only around 85-100 total innings (Late march-early November). I think it’s also why Northeast Pitchers may throw high 70’s as freshmen but the same pitchers will get up to 92-93 by their senior years as they develop more. Pitchers down south throw so much at an early age and tend to not develop as much in high school. As far as in Season lifting, it depends on the player and team. My in Season lifts are very light and are more focused on maintaining strength throughout the season. Pitchers just have different recovery patterns, at the end it won’t make a huge difference. Go Yanks.
I am from NJ. I am still not familiar with the 6-day cycle. In MLB, it’s more common with 6-day cycle.
We went to swim after our morning workout yesterday. I just realized that aquatic exercise is another great way to relax and build muscles as well. It’s actually an legitimate practice for many athletes in various sports. It often is used in rehab process. Thus, many athletes used sauna or hot tub after the game.
My son pitched 110+ innings from April, 2016-July, 2015 with 87 K and 0.75 ERA. I realized that exceeded the physical strain for a 13YO. I forced him NOT to play fall ball and ran Cross Country to build his lower body.
Unfortunately, he sprained his UCL this past April while goofing off. He has rested since then and just came back to pitch recently. He helped his MS team to win the 4th straight county championship by pitching 5 2/3 innings to a good batting team.
We hope he will have a great summer season, but he is taking his time to re-train his mechanics and timing. Our goal is to enjoy the game and the experience until he decides he has enough.
So, go out and have fun, kids! Build strong fundamentals and Don’t Rush!!! There is never a short cut!!!
Do the your dynamic warm up routine as a dynamic cool down routine. If your arm is not in pain, do not ice it just to say you iced it. You will be able to return to your throwing routine faster and with less stiffness and soreness.