Baseball Elbow Exercises
If you play baseball, you’ll have to throw the ball at times, assuming you don’t want to be a designated hitter for your entire baseball career. Strengthening your elbow typically goes hand-in-hand with strengthening your shoulder and the rest of your arm, and it can help you throw the ball harder and farther, no matter which position you play. Pitchers in particular require strong elbows to throw harder fastballs and better breaking pitches -- if you’re old enough to do so -- and to help prevent injuries.
Increasing your elbow’s flexibility and range of motion are important, whether you’re rehabilitating an injury or taking preventive measures. Wrist flexion, extension and rotation exercises will stretch your elbow. For example, extend your arm straight ahead but angle your hand down so your wrist is bent about 90 degrees with your palm facing your body. Grasp your fingers with your opposite hand and bend your fingers gently toward your body. You can perform the same stretch with your fingers pointed up and your palm facing away from your body. In either case, hold the stretch for 20 to 30 seconds.
Use a resistance band to increase your inner and outer elbow flexibility. Attach a band to a stable surface at elbow level, hold the band with your throwing hand, and then stand with your throwing shoulder aimed at the attachment point. Keep your upper arm at your side and your forearm pointed straight ahead. Rotate your elbow and forearm to pull the band into your stomach. Repeat the move in the opposite direction, with your non-throwing shoulder facing the attachment point. Begin with your hand in front of your stomach and then stretch the band by pointing your forearm directly in front of you. You can also use the band to stretch your elbow by performing shoulder rotations or to strengthen your elbow by doing wrist curls.
Perform wrist extensions, flexions and forearm rotation exercises while holding a light weight, such as a 1-pound dumbbell or hand weight. To perform extension exercises, hold the weight in one hand and rest your forearm on your thigh with your wrist just past the knee. With your palm down, lift the weight as high as you comfortably can by moving your wrist alone and then allow your hand to drop, again by solely flexing your wrist. Place your palm up to perform wrist flexion exercises.
Baseball elbow injuries primarily affect pitchers. Young pitchers, particularly pre-high school hurlers, should limit the number of pitches they throw to between 80 and 100 per week. It’s also a good idea to limit those pitchers to throwing fastballs, because breaking pitches put much more stress on a thrower’s elbow.
M.L. Rose has worked as a print and online journalist for more than 20 years. He has contributed to a variety of national and local publications, specializing in sports writing. Rose holds a B.A. in communications.