Home Baseball Content Band Work after Pitching?

Band Work after Pitching?

Written on December 4, 2009 at 6:15 am, by Eric Cressey

As you read this, I’m presenting at the Ultimate Pitching Coaches Bootcamp in Houston, TX.  As such, it seems fitting to devote today’s blog to some pitching content.

A question I get pretty often is what I think of light band work for pitchers the day after pitching.  The truth is that I’m pretty apathetic about the use of bands, but I am adamant about the inclusion of post-throwing stretching to regain lost flexibility.  Research from Reinold et al. demonstrated that pitchers lose both elbow extension and shoulder internal rotation range of motion (ROM) over the course of a competitive season, and it’s no surprise, given the huge eccentric (deceleration) stress those arms encounter during the throwing motion.  Anecdotally, my experience has been that they also lose hip internal rotation and knee flexion on the front leg.  So, you don’t just want to take care of shoulder range of motion; you also want to attend to hip ROM.

Here’s the side-lying cross-body stretch, one of my favorite self-stretches for improving shoulder internal rotation.  I tend to use it more than the sleeper stretch nowadays because it’s generally a lot tougher to butcher the form.  It’s important to stabilize the scapula down and back before the cross-body pull.  This should not be an aggressive stretch!  If you are gentle but consistent with it, the ROM will come around in time.

You can find more ways to both identify and address shoulder and hip rotational imbalances in Assess & Correct.

Layout 1

So, flexibility is a must, but light band work may have a place as well.  There’s a lot of muscular damage, and some very light bloodflow work may assist in rotator cuff recovery, as it tends to have a poor blood supply.  I go into more detail on how we train our pitchers after an outing in A New Model for Training Between Starts: Part 2.

For more information, check out Optimal Shoulder Performance.


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10 Responses to “Band Work after Pitching?”

  1. Rick Kaselj Says:


    I am having a difficult time seeing what you are doing with the SLCBS.

    Are you stretching the right or left arm?

    Are you holding it static 90 degrees of internal rotation?

    Rick Kaselj of http://www.ExercisesForInjuries.com


  2. John Costello Says:

    My brother has an up and comng pitcher. His son is 16 years old. I send him a lot of your articles but he just popped one on me that I answered but I want to get your first hand response. He says that the coaches and other pitchers who are older swear that they need to run after pitching to break a sweat which helps them reduce soreness in the arm. He also said they have the kids do off season runnign for conditioning. I have already answered that based on reading most of your materials and buying most of your programs. Between you and Robertson I have been able to rehab sore rotators and bad knees.
    What about an alternative to the running to alleviate the soreness for a young pitcher?

  3. Benjamin Kusin Says:

    Hey Eric, where do you train while you are in Houston (if you do at all)?
    Hank’s Gym is a good place. Look it up next time you’re in H-Town.

  4. Travis Says:


    I just wanted to mention a word of caution with this stretch you are showing. Like you, I have used this stretch and found it to work well in a specific population of overhead athletes. There needs to be, however, an assessment done prior to using it that strength coaches are not able to perform. The cross body stretch addresses the posterior capsule to a greater extent than the posterior cuff versus the sleeper stretch. So in order to appropriately prescribe a cross body stretch, a ligamentous test (load shift, posterior drawer, etc) of the posterior shoulder needs to be done to see if the posterior capsule is tight or not. You can certainly have a player with posterior laxity and have IR deficit due to cuff tightness. That person I would argue does not need a cross body stretch but we would never know if an assessment was not conducted.



  5. Eric Cressey Says:


    Thanks for the comment. We typically don’t spend more than 20-30s performing this stretch, so even if it was going to be mobilizing the posterior capsule, I don’t think the duration would be long enough to impose the kind of capsular changes one might look to intentionally get in this position.

    Anecdotally, this stretch has been a lot more effective than the sleeper for improving IR in my pitchers simply because it’s harder for guys to get anterior “pinching” from not effectively stabilizing the scapula when they’re on their own.

  6. Eric Cressey Says:

    Rick, it’s a stretch for the bottom arm. It’s just a gentle cross-body pull.

    John, check out my series, “A New Model for Training Between Starts.” There are parts 1 and 2.

  7. tom Says:

    Mr. Cressey,

    Is the elbow being pulled up a bit in the stretch? Also, the stretch of the excercise is being inflicted by the top arm pulling the bottom arm? I want to do this stretch because I have been doing the sleeper stretch with manuel resistance to achieve a quicker pace for recovering more ir in my shoulder.

  8. Eric Cressey Says:


    Yes, the elbow is being pulled up (by the top arm).

  9. tom Says:

    Mr. Cressey,

    Is the right arm pushing back against the left arm? and is there anything that should be kept in mind while doing this excersice?

  10. Rod Whiteley Says:

    hey Eric,
    I thought you might be interested in examining humeral torsion as a contributor to lost rotational range of motion – our group figured out a pretty reliable and accurate measure using Ultrasound that has proven a useful vein to tap. In a clinical sense, it has meant that we can measure the rotational range of motion of the (hopefully) uninjured side, account for the side-to-side torsional difference, and then accurately figure out rotational range of motion targets for the individual athlete. Pretty simple process if you have a diagnostic ultrasound machine.
    here’s a link to a collection of our work:
    Rod Whiteley

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