In the baseball off-season, it is important for athletes (of any sport) to take care of any injuries that need to be rehabilitated and continue following a strength
training program. However, one thing most baseball players might neglect to work on is mobility. Not only shoulder mobility, but trunk, hip, wrist and finger mobility. Mobility and stability go hand and hand. By increasing mobility along with strength, you have the ability to increase the velocity of a throw, distance of a throw, and arm endurance for throwing. As your strength training continues, mobility exercises and stretches should be integrated on a daily basis. Strengthening distal (fingers) to proximal (shoulder) can enhance elbow and shoulder health.
Strengthening the whole body is important for all sports. When we say entire body, we mean even your fingers. As a baseball player your hands are doing work every time you catch, throw or hit a baseball. Grip strength and flexibility of each finger is important. By properly strengthening the hand muscles, research findings show that you can help prevent UCL injuries. Strengthening and stretching of the fingers, wrists and forearms is something that may seem insignificant, but it can give you that edge which might be missing. Our hands have muscles, tendons and ligaments just like every other part of our body, so why not take care of them?
Many people use hand grips to work on the strength of their hands, but every finger needs to be strengthened. Most of the times, when using the grips we tend to not use all of our fingers equally. Yes some fingers are stronger than others in certain positions, but it is important to focus on each one and the coordination of specific movements. By starting strength training at the hand (distal), it carries up the chair to strengthen the whole arm. Some of the movements we see in our hand come from muscles in our forearm. In fact, when you see your hand go from palm down to palm up (supination), the rotation is occurring from the elbow. Our muscles are overlapping all over our bodies and you might not realize how many muscles you are using to do movements every day. After working on the strength in your hands, wrists and forearms, and the muscles are warm we want to switch the focus to the flexibility of those muscles. Flexibility for split finger fast ball and fork ball are very important, as is finger strength for any pitch. Just s you would stretch the muscles out in your legs our arms, you need to stretch the muscles in your hands and forearms.
By Corynne Pereira