08 July, 2011
Stretches for Baseball Players
Stretching before any sports exercise helps prevent soreness and injury, but each sport uses different muscle groups. In baseball, for example, you need limber arms and shoulder muscles to handle the hard, fast throws involved in either pitching or getting the ball to base on time. You must also prepare for sprinting and batting, keeping muscles throughout your body warm and ready to work. Stretch before and after the game in different ways for the best results.
Warm up your body with five to 10 minutes of brisk walking or jogging. March or jog in place with high knees if you're warming up indoors or in limited space.
Perform dynamic stretches to get your shoulders ready to play. For example, hold your arms straight out to your sides and make circles, starting small and gradually increasing the circle size until you're doing windmills, in which your arms turn almost vertically. Continue for 60 seconds, then change directions. Hold your hands down by your sides and do shoulder circles, moving just your shoulders forward, up and back, for 60 seconds before reversing the motion.
Loosen your body with torso stretches to help your body rotate to support your throws. For example, cross your arms over your chest and spread your feet slightly wider than shoulder width. Turn your body from the waist as far to one side as possible and repeat on the other side. Continue for 30 to 60 seconds. Lie on your back with your arms outstretched, your feet on the floor and your knees bent. Twist from the waist to lower your knees to the floor on one side, return them to the starting position and lower them to the floor on the other side. Repeat for about 60 seconds.
Stand next to a wall with one hand on the wall to do leg stretches. Swinging one leg forward and backward for 60 seconds. Start with small swings and build up to swings as high as you feel comfortable with. Turn around, place your other hand on the wall, and repeat the exercise with the other leg.
Perform static stretches after the game by getting into a stretch position and holding it without bouncing for 20 to 30 seconds. Repeat each stretch at least three times. Stretch your shoulders by linking your hands behind your back and lifting them as high as is comfortable, and stretch the posterior side by pulling one arm across your body at shoulder height and pushing inward near your elbow with the other arm. Help your legs cool down by pulling one foot up behind you toward your buttocks and holding it, stretching the quadriceps. Switch feet and hold. Bend over at the waist and reach for the floor to stretch your hamstrings.
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