I hurt my shoulder throwing during a baseball game. Can you suggest exercises I should do to prevent injuring myself when I start playing again?
When throwing, your shoulder complex needs the strength to throw the ball, and decelerate its speed once the ball has been thrown. Strengthen your rotator cuff muscles – which support your shoulder complex – with these exercises:
- External rotation: Attach one end of a thera-band to a stable object. Stand with your left shoulder beside the stable object. Bend your right arm to a ninety-degree angle. Place your right elbow beside your hip and hold the other end of the band with your right hand. Rotate your right hand out toward the side. Control your arm back to the starting position. Repeat 10 times.
- Internal rotation: Maintain the above position, but transfer the band to the left hand. Rotate your left hand in towards your belly button. Repeat 10 times.
- Turn your body and repeat facing the other direction.
Do the above exercises three times per week, for two weeks. Then try the sport-specific rotator exercise below. It trains the rotator muscles to have the control they need during deceleration.
- Prone medicine ball decelerations: Place your stomach on a stability ball. Hold a one-pound medicine ball in your left hand. Bring the arm up to a ninety-degree angle so that your elbow is in line with your shoulder, and your palm faces down. (As if you were signalling to turn right on your bike). To perform the exercise, drop the medicine ball and rotate your arm so that you catch the ball before it hits the floor. Your arm should stay at a ninety-degree angle the entire time. Once you have caught the ball, bring your arm back to its starting position and repeat 10 times. Then switch arms.
Train smart. Get back into playing regular baseball slowly. No amount of strength training will prevent injury if you ramp up the duration and intensity of your training too quickly.
Send certified personal trainer Kathleen Trotter your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org. She will answer select questions, which could appear in the Globe and Mail and/or on The Globe and Mail website. Your name will not be published if your question is chosen.
The content provided in The Globe and Mail's Ask a Health Expert centre is for information purposes only and is neither intended to be relied upon nor to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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