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How to Strengthen Your Pitching Elbow
Your elbows can suffer from the repetitive nature of pitching, but you can do a variety of things to strengthen supporting muscles and improve your game. Also take good care of your arm before and after you pitch to help prevent injuries and ensure you are at your best. Consult your coach on any additional work you do outside of regular team conditioning.
Stretch the muscles around your elbow by doing wrist flexions and extensions. Extend your arm in front of your body. Face your hand towards the ground at a 90-degree angle with your palm facing your torso. Grab onto your fingers with your other hand and bend them towards your body. Be firm but gentle. Hold for 30 seconds. For flexion, point your fingers toward the ceiling with your palm facing outwards before grasping them with your opposite hand. Pull your fingers gently back towards your body. Hold for 30 seconds. Do this exercise every day.
Sit down to perform wrist extension and flexion exercises with dumbbells. Hold a one- or two-pound dumbbell with your hand extended and your fingers facing the floor. Use your leg to support your forearm. Lift the weight as high as you can. Move your wrist but keep the rest of your arm completely still. For flexion, move your arm so that your palm is facing the ceiling. Slowly bring the dumbbell towards your forearm, moving only your wrist. For each exercise, do three sets, with 8 to 16 repetitions in a set, three times per week.
Build the muscles in your lower body and core, which will help support your pitching. This can help reduce the strain on your elbow. Start with lateral pull-downs, leg curls, leg presses, leg extensions and calf raises. Do three sets, with 8 to 16 repetitions in a set, on each exercise machine. Once your body becomes used to pitching, you can add front squats, back squats and leg presses to your regime. Weight train your lower body and core at least two to four times per week.
Perform at least 10 pushups two or three times per week when you are training alone. Pushups are good for your core, arms, shoulders and back, all of which support your pitching elbow. Get on your hands and knees. Extend your legs behind you so that they are straight and supported by your flexed feet. Bend your elbows to lower your body and position the palms of your hands on the ground underneath your shoulders. Engage your abdominal muscles. Push your body up, slowly extending your arms while your back remains straight. Hold for a moment once they are extended and then return to the starting position.
Follow a consistent routine before and after pitching. Before you pitch, take a short jog for a few minutes, stretch your shoulder and elbow, and play catch with other team members to loosen your arm and elbow. After doing these things, you can begin the normal warm-up with your team. Take a break after you are finished pitching so that your elbow has time to rest and heal. In addition to rest, try to ice your elbow as soon as you can.
Speak with a physician before beginning a training routine, especially if you are young and not yet physically mature. If you are unsure how to use proper technique on a machine at the gym, ask a trainer for help.