Home Posts tagged "baseball strength and conditioning" (Page 4)

5 Great In-Season Lower-Body Strength Exercises that Won’t Make You Sore

One of the biggest concerns players have when it comes to in-season strength and conditioning programs is whether or not a particular exercise will make them sore.  It's a valid point, when you consider the profound effect soreness can have on a baseball athlete's performance - both physically and mentally.  As such, it's important to select exercises that provide a great training effect, but won't necessarily create a lot of soreness for a player.

The first important point to recognize is that strength exercise familiarity will minimize soreness.  In other words, if an athlete has already done an exercise in the previous 7-10 days, it shouldn't make him very sore (if at all).  This is one reason why I like to introduce new exercises in the week prior to the start of the season; we can "ride out" those exercises through the first 4-6 weeks of the season without worrying about soreness.

Of course, once you get past that initial stage, it's a good idea to change things up so that athletes will continue to progress and not get bored with the strength training program.  One way to introduce new strength exercises without creating soreness is to minimize eccentric stress; so, essentially, you're selecting exercises that don't have a big deceleration component.  This is tricky, as most athletic injuries occur from poor eccentric control (both acutely and chronically).  So, we can't remove them completely, but we can shoot for a 50/50 split.  To that end, we'll typically introduce our more intensive lower-body eccentric strength exercises (e.g., Bulgarian Split Squats) on a day when an athlete can afford to be sore (e.g., the day after a pitcher starts) for a few days.  If that isn't a luxury, we'll simply go much lighter in that first week.

To that end, here are five "general" strength exercises I like to use in-season with many of our athletes.

1. Step-up Variations - I'm normally not a big fan of step-ups for off-season programs because they don't offer a significant deceleration component, but they can be useful in-season when you're trying to keep soreness out of the equation.  Anterior-Loaded Barbell Step-ups are a favorite because they still afford you the benefits of axial loading without squatting an athlete.

2. Deadlift Variations - It goes without saying that I'm a huge fan of the deadlift (check out this tutorial if you need suggestions on How to Deadlift), as deadlift variations afford a host of benefits from strength, power, and postural perspectives.  They're also great because there isn't much of an eccentric component unless you're doing stiff-leg deadlift variations.  With that in mind, we utilize predominantly trap bar and sumo deadlift variations in-season.

3. Sled Pushing/Dragging - A lot of people view sled training as purely for metabolically conditioning guys, but the truth is that it actually makes for a great concentric-only strength exercise while helping to enhance mobility (assuming you cue an athlete through full hip extension on forward pushing/dragging variations).

Just make sure to keep the load heavy and distance short.

4. 1-leg Hip Thrusts off Bench - This is a great "halfway" exercise with respect to eccentric stress.  For some reason, even if you lower under a ton of control and with additional load (we drape chains over the hips), this exercise still won't make your posterior chain sore. A big shout-out goes out to Bret Contreras for bringing it to the forefront!

5. 1-arm DB Bulgarian Split Squats from Deficit - The asymmetrical load to this already asymmetrical (unilateral) exercise allows you to get a training effect without a ton of resistance (especially with the increased range of motion provided by the deficit).  It'll still create some soreness, but it's another one of those "halfway" exercises where the soreness isn't as bad as you'd expect, especially if you phase it in a bit lighter in week 1 of the new strength training program.

These are just five of my favorites, but a good start, for sure.  Of course, we still need to do a better job of educating "the masses" about how important it is to even do an in-season strength training program!

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5 Overlooked Resources for Making Your Strength and Conditioning Programs More Effective

I know there are a lot of fitness professionals who look to EricCressey.com as a continuing education resource. With that in mind, I wanted to discuss a few resources that have been tremendously valuable to me; hopefully you'll benefit from them (if you aren't already) as much as I have.

1. Video - Video is a powerful tool for coaching and monitoring progress in clients, and it's also very accessible nowadays, thanks to smart phones and digital cameras. Still, I'm always amazed at how few fitness professionals utilize it to help coach. I use it quite a bit in my evaluation process, especially with tough cases where I want to be able to monitor progress in movement quality. It's just as valuable on the training floor to back up coaching cues that you're giving.

Additionally, having access to the high-speed camera technology in our facility has been tremendously valuable in not only breaking down inefficient mechanics, but also demonstrating the powerful effects a good baseball strength and conditioning program can have on a pitcher's body control and power on the mound.

collins

2. Related Professionals - A fresh sets of eyes and a new perspective can have a huge influence on your strength and conditioning programs and how you coach. We've learned a ton from rehabilitation specialists, other fitness professionals, sport coaches, business consultants, and folks from a host of other professions.

As an interesting aside to this discussion, have you ever noticed how doctors - who have a minimum of eight years of higher education - refer patients out all the time to other doctors for second opinions? Yet, how often do you see personal trainers - who are a profession with an absurdly low barrier to entry - ask for another perspective from an unbiased third party? Food for thought.

3. Your Clients - I'm sure you'd love to think that you know your clients' bodies better than anyone else, but the truth is that those clients know themselves and how they're feeling much better than you ever could! I made the mistake early in my career of assuming too much and asking too few questions; I was talking 70% of the time and listening for the other 30%. Nowadays, I'm listening 70% of the time (at the very least) and I am a much better coach as a result.

As an example, now is a quiet time of year with all of our baseball guys in-season, so I'm using it as an opportunity to follow up with all our clients from this past off-season. I want to know how they felt during spring training, and how the transition to the start of the season went. All the feedback I get is valuable for not only next off-season, but helping them to tinker with things as needed right now.

4. New Training Equipment - Variety in a strength and conditioning program isn't just important to ensure optimal progress, but also to make sure that clients remain interested. Do you need to go out and buy all new equipment every other month? Of course not! However, adding some new training implements - or even just new uses for old equipment - can provide some variety. And, it's an opportunity for you to teach your client, as they're sure to ask: "What is this and what does it do?"

5. Business Partners/Assistants - When I first got started in Boston, I was doing all the scheduling and billing. While swiping credit cards and watching your schedule fill up is fulfilling at first, it eventually becomes a huge drain on your time, energy, and productivity. I'm a much better coach than I am a business logistics guy - and that's why the first person I contacted to help me start Cressey Sports Performance was my buddy, Pete Dupuis.

peted

Pete's become a fantastic business director (and vice-president) at CSP, and we've had double digit growth every year since we opened in 2007. He's managed my schedule, handled phone calls, done all our billing/invoicing, and become a liaison between coaches and clients when the clients aren't in the gym. In short, his efforts have made me more efficient so that I can evaluate, program for, and coach clients; review research; interact with other coaches; and do more staff/intern education.

Additionally, business partners, staff, and interns are great for asking the challenging questions that make you rethink the way you're doing things - and often provide suggestions and solutions that help make things more efficient and effective.

These are only five resources to get the ball rolling, but there are certainly many more available to fitness professionals in their quest to deliver a great client experience. I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below on what resources have helped to make you better at what you do. 

And, while we're on the topic of continuing education, I want to give you a heads-up that many of our products are on sale for 25% off as part of Cyber Monday right now. The sale ends tonight, though, so don't delay in checking it out HERE.

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Baseball Strength and Conditioning: What to Do With an Extra Day Between Pitching Starts

Q: I read your series, A New Model for Training Between Starts, and love the ideas you introduced.  Since eliminating distance running between outings, I've noticed a big difference in how I feel and how I pitch.  I did have one question about the weekly rotations you outlined in Part 2.  What happens if I have an extra day between starts due to erratic scheduling or just a rain out? A: This is a great question - and one I have received several times - so I'm glad I'm finally getting around to answering it here on the blog! I usually look for guys to do a "bridge" training session.  Basically, these sessions are all about leaving the gym feeling refreshed; you work, but not so hard that you're exhausted.

In the typical in-season baseball strength and conditioning program we use with professional pitchers on a five-day rotation, here's how we'd schedule it: Day 0: pitch Day 1: challenging lower body lift, push-up variation (light), horizontal pulling (light), cuff work Day 2: movement training only Day 3: Single-leg work, challenging upper body lift (less vertical pulling in-season), cuff work Day 4: low-intensity dynamic flexibility circuits only Day 5: next pitching outing However, if the next outing isn't until Day 6, we will integrate one of two options: The first option would be to simply split the Day 3 training session into two shorter sessions: one upper, one lower.  These sessions might only be 10-12 sets in all. Then, Day 5 would be the low-intensity dynamic flexibility circuits.

The second option would be to keep the strength training component as-is, but perform some medicine ball circuits on Day 4, then use Day 5 for the low-intensity dynamic flexibility circuits. Both options keep you training hard without interfering with the subsequent pitching outing.  Particularly in professional baseball, there are more days off early in the season, so it's important to be able to roll with the punches like this. At the college and high school levels, the 7-day rotation is usually implemented.  If a pitcher starts on Day 0, I like to see him strength training on Day 1, Day 3, and Day 5, with Day 5 being a lower-intensity lift (Days 2 and 4 are movement training, and Day 6 is low-intensity dynamic flexibility).  If there is an extra day on the end, we simply treat our Day 5 lift like we did the Day 3 option in the 5-day template from above; it can either be split into upper and lower body sessions, or we can do it as-is, and add medicine ball circuits on Day 6, taking Day 7 for dynamic flexibility before starting again on Day 8.

That said, as in my experience, guys rarely get that extra day in high school and college; they're more likely to have their starts pushed up.  In this case, we just drop the Day 5 lift. Getting training sessions in between starts is incredibly important, but that doesn't mean that one must be rigid in the scheduling of these sessions.  In fact, one must be very flexible in tinkering with that scheduling on a week-to-week basis to make sure that guys are getting in their lifts, but not at the expense of their performance on the mound. Hopefully this blog provided some strategies you can employ when weather or scheduling throws you a curveball! Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive a Copy of the Exact Stretches used by Cressey Performance Pitchers after they Throw!
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Opening Day Musings: Are You Willing to Put in the Work?

Earlier this week, Cressey Performance athlete Ryan Flaherty was named to the Baltimore Orioles opening day roster for today.  Ryan and I share a common trait in that we were both born and raised in Southern Maine, so we've had some good conversations about what it takes to compete on a national scale when you start out from what isn't exactly known as a baseball capital of the world.  When I heard the great news about Ryan, the logical first choice for reading about it was our hometown newspaper, the Portland Press Herald, in this article.

One of the things that stood out for me about this article was the quote about how Orioles manager Buck Showalter still got so excited to tell guys they made the big league roster - because, unfortunately, it's a conversation he gets to have much less often than the "You're cut" interaction.

Being successful - and, even moreso, world-class - is very difficult.

Only 3% of guys ever drafted into professional baseball ever make it to the big leagues.  When you factor in free agent signings, it's likely a 1 in 50 success rate.  Taking it a step further, if you look at the 118 first-round draft picks between 2004 and 2007 who actually signed, only 84 (71%) of them ever made it to the big leagues.  In other words, even if you are among the most coveted 30 prospects in all of the U.S. and Canada, you still have a long way to go, and a lot of time to fall flat on your face. I hear it all the time from kids: I want to make varsity. I want to play in college. I want to get drafted. I want to make it to the big leagues. While the goals are certainly incremental and far apart, the response needs to be the same: "It won't be easy, and you need to be willing to work for it - not talk about it." Ryan was no exception.  He was one of the best athletes - football, basketball, and baseball - in the history of the State of Maine.  Then, he was a three-year standout at Vanderbilt, one of the best college baseball programs in the country, before being drafted in 2008.  Three years of hard work in the minor leagues later, he's getting his shot in "the show" today.  Tim Collins was a great example from last year - and Tim had to work his butt off to keep his roster spot in the big leagues going in to 2012.

It would have been very easy to be one of the 98% who failed, though. There are thousands of ways in which kids go astray from their goals today, whether it's due to apathy, poor coaching, overassertive parents, drug use, behavioral issues, or simply not being honest with themselves about how much they need to improve.  And, it's getting worse with every participation trophy that's handed out, and every time that a parent races in to school to contest a grade on a report card. In the former case, the rewards should be the excitement of competition, the outstanding feeling that comes from being part of a team, the physical activity that comes with participating, and the character development that comes from dedicating oneself to a goal and working toward improvements to make it a reality.  What are we saying to a kid when he busts his butt and looks the coach in the eye every time they talk, yet we hand him the same participation trophy that we gave to the kid that shows up late to practice, refuses to pick up equipment, gets in the coach's face, and dogs it through drills?

In the latter case, the parent has missed a valuable opportunity to teach a valuable, yet dwindling characteristic in today's young kids: accountability.  When parent could be teaching a kid that "you reap what you sow," instead, he/she instead chooses to show that you can cut corners in life because there will always be someone around to clean up your mess.  I'm all for standing up to your kids - but I think a lot of people today need to stand up TO their kids, too.

It isn't just about showing up. It's about genuinely caring about what you do, honestly evaluating where your abilities are, having a passion to become a better person and make the the world a better place, and acting accordingly - while being humble, punctual, diligent, and respectful.

Don't get me wrong; we absolutely, positively need to encourage all kids, not just athletes - and overbearing parents absolutely crush kids' confidence.  However, there is a happy medium between the two; I think we do them a disservice when we aren't realistic with them about what it actually takes to be successful.  Only then can they appreciate the day-t0-day behaviors and practice they'll need to be successful: the process for their ultimate destination. Along these lines, over the years, I've had dozens of parents come up to me and say that one of the reasons they love Cressey Performance so much is that young athletes get to interact with and train alongside professional athletes so much.  The hard work they see from the pro guys does a better job of demonstrating what level of commitment it takes to succeed better than anything a parent could ever put into words.

I love seeing college and professional athletes involved with clinics for younger athletes, as well as charitable endeavors. It doesn't just help the kids and charities, but also the athletes themselves.  It gives them not only a chance to give back and an opportunity to reflect on how far they've come and the hard work it took to get to where they are. It's important to not just discuss the drive and character it takes to succeed, but give kids visual examples of it. What better day than opening day, when dreams are coming true all over Major League Baseball? It's a great starter to a conversation you ought to have with your kids and the players you coach; why not today? Related Posts Strength and Conditioning Program Success: The Little Things Matter Four Factors that Make or Break a Baseball Strength and Conditioning Program Sign-up Today for our FREE Baseball Newsletter and Receive a Copy of the Exact Stretches used by Cressey Performance Pitchers after they Throw!
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My Interview for SportsRehabExpert.com

I just wanted to give you all a quick heads-up on a free audio interview I did for the Sports Rehab to Sports Performance Teleseminar Series.  We talk about my experience with the Postural Restoration Institute, power development for baseball, shoulder mobility/stability, and a new product of mine. You can access the interview HERE.

I was just one of several interviews, so I'd encourage you to check out the entire series.  I especially like the fact that you can download these interviews so that you can listen to them at a later date - or while you're on the car or train. Enjoy! Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!
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Strength and Conditioning Stuff You Should Read: 2/21/12

I'm back from a fun trip to California, but as you might expect, I've got quite a bit on my plate as I play "catch-up."  Luckily, I've got some reading ready for you: Q&A: Is Static Stretching Good? - This is an outstanding, thorough blog post from Mike Robertson; it's definitely worth a read. The Fascial Knock on Distance Running for Pitchers - With spring training and the college seasons underway, loads of ignorant coaches are forcing their pitchers to run long distances.  In this old post of mine, I review Thomas Myers' presentation on fascial fitness and apply it to this debated point in pitching development. Diamondbacks CEO Won't Let His Cancer Change the Best Workplace in Sports - I think this is a fantastic article at Yahoo Sports for not just any baseball fan, but any business owner.  The D-Backs won 94 games last year (sixth most in baseball), but did it with the sixth lowest payroll.  It goes to show you that treating people right and building a strong culture in your organization really matters. Sign-up Today for our FREE Newsletter and receive a four-part video series on how to deadlift!
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Exercise of the Week: Box Jump with 1-leg Landing

For this week's exercise of the week, I had some help from Miami Marlins pitcher and Cressey Performance client Steve Cishek, as well as Stack.com and New Balance Baseball.  Check it out:

A lot of folks do lower-level single-leg plyos and bilateral jumping/landing variations, but many folks never get around to combining the two.  This is a great option for those looking to take things to the next level.  Just make sure you're conservative with box height, for safety sake.

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4 Factors that Make or Break a Baseball Strength and Conditioning Program

At Cressey Performance, we're getting to the time of the year when things gradually start to slow down for us.  For many business owners, this is a source of frustration, as they worry about paying the bills when things get quieter.  I, on the other hand, view it as a source of excitement, as it signifies that the beginning of baseball season is at hand, and our athletes will have an opportunity to put all their off-season hard work into action on the baseball field.

You'd be surprised, however, at how many collegiate and professional players get genuinely worried about how they'll be managed once they get back to school or their organizations.  In the private sector, we can individually manage guys with their unique needs in mind, but in collegiate and professional, because of the larger volume of athletes (and fewer coaches per athlete), limited training time, and additional competing demands (i.e., practicing and playing games), player development can be quickly stunted.  Believe it or not, 2012 was the first year that Major League Baseball mandated that every minor league affiliate have a strength coach on staff; many teams didn't have anyone (in-person, at least) watching over their highly-touted prospects during critical minor league development periods.

That said, though, there are some colleges and professional organizations who are doing a solid job of managing guys - and I wanted to use today's post to highlight four areas in which they're getting the job done effectively.

1. Synergy - As I outlined in Weight Training Programs: You Can't Just Keep Adding, we have a limited recovery capacity, so if you're going to add something to a program, you have to take something away.  Unfortunately, this "give and take" gets overlooked in some team settings.  As an example, a strength and conditioning coach, athletic trainer, and pitching coach might all prescribe different rotator cuff exercises for their players without knowing that an overlap is taking place. Or, a strength coach might prescribe a challenging lower body lift, then have a pitching coach send his players to run poles - only to have the head coach tack a very taxing practice on top of an already hefty workload.  If you're always adding, but never taking away, it's only a matter of time until athletes break down.  As such, communication among coaches, medical and strength and conditioning staffs, and players is absolutely essential for optimal synergy.

2. Individualization - I'm constantly amazed at how - even at the highest levels - players aren't managed on a case-by-case basis.  That is, of course, until they get hurt and need unique rehabilitation prescriptions.  Just imagine how much less rehabilitation would be needed if players were simply managed more individually on a proactive basis so that injuries didn't occur nearly as often.  Additionally, we'd be much more likely to see late-round draft picks and undrafted free agents become MLB superstars if they were managed differently than already-talented players who are just coddled on their way to the big leagues. I think you'd see more stories like Tim Collins'.

I also see this as a huge competitive advantage for college coaches on the recruiting side of things.  Not everyone can boast beautiful weather, an amazing baseball complex, a pristine academic reputation, and beautiful girls everywhere when recruiting prospects, but being able to guarantee an individualized approach to development goes a long way in making up the difference.

3. Specificity - You'd be amazed at how many folks in the baseball world have absolutely no knowledge of exercise physiology or the unique demands of baseball - but are still prescribing strength and conditioning programs for baseball players.  Some of what I have seen is so atrocious that the players would have been better off doing absolutely nothing.  I've seen programs with 10+ mile runs, kipping pull-ups to failure, 1-rep max bench presses, and high rep clean and presses.  I seriously can't make this stuff up.

The most common justification for this type of garbage is that coaches want to build mental toughness.  Well, I'm here to tell you that there are much better ways of doing that, as your mental toughness won't mean much when your pitchers are having surgeries or throwing 74mph and well on their way to those surgeries.

When we discuss throwing a baseball, we are talking about the single fastest motion in all of sports. General training is absolutely valuable, but if you don't have the specific nature of that throwing motion - and the adaptations it creates - in mind when we implement that general training, you're asking for problems.

4. Effort - The best program on the planet won't do any good if it isn't executed with loads of effort and attention to detail.  If you have issues like players skipping warm-ups, athletic trainers refusing to do manual therapy, and coaches showing up late to practice, whatever is written on the paper doesn't matter at all.

At the end of the day, these four factors are just a few of many that will ultimately determine how effective a baseball strength and conditioning program is.  Unfortunately, many of these factors are outside of a player's control, so what do you do?

Very simply, control what you can control.

Educate yourself so that you can be your own best coach.  Optimize your nutrition and get plenty of sleep. Write down what has and hasn't worked for you so that you can refer back to it down the road and avoid making the same mistakes twice.

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Upcoming Strength and Conditioning Seminars…in Your Area?

I just wanted to use today's blog post to let you know about some upcoming strength and conditioning speaking engagements I'll be doing.  If you're like me, you always want to get these planned well in advance.
  • February 19, 2012: Fitness on the Field Baseball Clinic – Santa Cruz, CA. Email joey@paradigmsport.com for details.
  • March 30-31, 2012: International Youth Conditioning Association Summit – Louisville, KY. Click here for more information.
  • April 14, 2012: NSCA Maine State Clinic – Saco, ME.  Details TBA.
  • May 18-19, 2012: JP Fitness Summit – Kansas City, MO.  Click here for more information.
  • June 29 – July 1, 2012: Perform Better Functional Training Summit – Chicago, IL. Click here for more information.
I hope to meet some of you there!
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Baseball Strength and Conditioning Programs: How Much Rotator Cuff Work is Too Much? – Part 2

In part 1 of this feature, I talked about how many throwers actually overuse the rotator cuff because they don't appreciate that throwing in itself is a tremendously stressful challenge to the shoulder.  I also made the point that cuff timing is more often the problem than cuff strength, so many folks are really training the rotator cuff incorrectly with thousands of reps of band exercises.  Let's examine that in a bit more depth.

First, I should preface this piece by saying that I think there are definitely places for utilizing bands to strengthen the rotator cuff in a baseball training context.  They obviously provide outstanding convenience for on-field work and travel circumstances, as well as scenarios where players may not have qualified professionals at hand to help with manual resistance work and rhythmic stabilizations. Some cuff work is better than no cuff work!  Additionally, many players swear by bands during the warm-up phase to help with getting blood flow to the shoulder complex with a bit of activation at the same time.

However, there are two primary issues with relying exclusively on bands:

1. In an external rotation variation, the resistance is actually greatest at the point (near maximal external rotation) where the athlete is weakest.  In other words, the band doesn't ideally accommodate the strength curve.  This is a huge concern for me, as one of the biggest things I notice in athletes is that when training in a position of somewhat significant external rotation, they can't "pick up" the resistance quickly enough. More on this later.

2. Most people simply overlook eccentric control.  This is something that is coachable, no doubt, but most people do band exercises for so many reps per set that the athlete can quickly lose focus and resort back to bad habits.

As you can imagine, these are shortcomings that also exist - albeit to a slightly lesser extent - with cable and dumbbell/plate external rotation rotator cuff strength exercises:

So, how do we overcome these shortcomings while helping to address rotator cuff timing?  You have two great options.

1. Rhythmic Stabilizations

The true role of the rotator cuff is to stabilize the humeral head (ball) in the glenoid fossa (socket).  And, during throwing, it does a ton of work, as the humerus goes through extreme ranges of motion in all three planes.  Rhythmic stabilization drills are a great way to train the cuff to fire quicker, and they're particularly valuable because you can train them at various points in the range of motion, modifying the challenge depending on how stable an individual is in a given position.  Plus, this is an outstanding way of monitoring cuff function over the course of weeks and months with athletes you see regularly; regular improvements are easily perceived.

You'll notice that I don't crank him back to extreme external rotation in this video; rather, we stop short of it and just assume that we'll get some carryover in stability a bit further (as per previous research on carryover of isometric exercise).

The sky is really the limit in terms of how you train this one; we have about a dozen variations that we use on a daily basis.  A few quick guidelines:

a. The more congenital or acquired laxity an athlete has, the less aggressive you'll want to be with your perturbations. When someone is less proficient, gently destabilizer, and apply the prturbations closer to the shoulder.  When someone is more stable, perturbate a bit more firmly, and apply it further down the arm.

b. I sometimes start those with significant laxity with closed chain exercises so that they can draw some stability from the floor or wall.

c. Make sure that the scapula is positioned appropriately; it certainly shouldn't be protracted, but don't crank it into excessive retraction, either.  Just keep it from winging off the rib cage.

d. I like 2x/week rhythmic stabilizations during off-season training.  We typically integrate it between sets on lower-body strength training days.

2. Manual Resistance External Rotations

These drills are "where it's at."  On one hand, they are the best strength-building exercise for the cuff because they train it in its most function context: eccentric control.  However, more specific to today's point, they are great for improving cuff recruitment at the most vulnerable point in the throwing motion: lay-back.

When we do a drill like this, I encourage the athlete to "pick it up early."  In other words, I won't apply downward pressure (eccentric overload) until they apply some external rotation force into my hand). 

Some quick guidelines for manual resistance external rotations:

a. Emphasize eccentric overload, but make sure you aren't pushing all the way down, as most people will go into scapular anterior tilt as they are more internally rotated.  Pushing someone all the way down puts the shoulder in a pretty vulnerable position, as scapular stability is lost and the subacromial space is closed down.

b. Given that you have to apply the force further down the arm, make sure that the athlete isn't cheating by just utilizing the wrist extensors.

c. In the manual resistance external rotations at 90 degrees in the scapular plane, your other hand should "cup" the elbow to make sure that the rotation is taking place at the shoulder (as opposed to horizontal adduction/abduction).

d. I like to utilize manual resistance external rotations twice a week during the off-season, usually toward the end of upper body strength training sessions.  We'll use less manual resistance work in this regard, though, when guys start to ramp up their throwing, as it tends to create a bit more soreness.

This wraps up our look at a different perspective on how to attack rotator cuff exercises with timing - and not just strength - in consideration.  For more information, I'd encourage you to check out Optimal Shoulder Performance: From Rehabilitation to High Performance.

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