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A Pre- and Post-Game Routine for Baseball Players

Though baseball is not a contact sport, there are still a number of injuries common amongst baseball players (especially in the upper body) due to repetition and overuse. And, given the length of both the game and the season, baseball can be especially demanding on the body.

The good news? Most baseball injuries are mild soft tissue injuries, like strains and sprains, meaning taking the proper steps to warm up and cool down can help keep them at bay. Below, a few tips and tricks to keep you on the field, however long your season may last.

BEFORE PLAYING: A DYNAMIC WARM UP

Warming up jump starts your cardiovascular system by raising your body temperature and increasing blood flow to your muscles, preparing your body for aerobic activity. It can also help reduce muscle soreness and lessen your risk of injury. All in all, you’ll want to allot about 30 minutes for a proper warm-up.

For optimal results, start right before hitting the field and perform activities that closely mimic what you’ll be doing in-game. Since baseball involves a lot of short bursts of high intensity cardio, spend 5-10 minutes jogging or doing jumping jacks, slowly increasing speed and/or intensity as you go. The goal is to be warm at the end, but not exhausted.

Then, it’s time to move on to stretching + calisthenics. Again, you’ll ideally want to do exercises that mimic movements you’ll make on the field, performing them with high intensity, but allowing for ample recovery time to ensure you are not fatigued before your game. The most common injuries in baseball players are in the shoulders, arms, and elbows, so be sure to focus extra in those areas. Some of our favorite dynamic stretches include:

  • Shoulder Circles: Standing with feet hip-width apart and your arms at your sides, begin to make circular motions with your shoulders, taking care to let your shoulders lead and not to move from your arms or head. Be sure to complete a few moments of circling both forwards and backwards.
  • Arm Circles: Standing again with feet underneath hips, circle your arm using a motion like the one made when throwing a baseball, starting with small circles, and gradually making them bigger. Be sure to circle forward and backward with each arm.
  • High Knee Walking Lunges: First, get into lunge position – step forward with your right foot, bending both knees until the right knee is directly over the ankle and the left knee is near the ground, but not touching it. As you come back up to standing, bring your left knee up, hugging it to your chest for an extra stretch before stepping it out in front and getting back into lunge position. Keep this movement going, alternating sides for about 10 yards.

Looking for a more comprehensive warm-up plan that’s specific to your body, your needs, and your goals? Get in touch with your [PARTNER] PT – they can work with you to help you become more dynamic, improve strength and agility, and help you identify any potential areas of concern before they become injuries.

AFTER PLAYING: COOLING DOWN

As you did before you began playing, you’ll want to spend about 5 minutes jogging, gradually bringing down your heart rate and regulating blood flow. Before your muscles have cooled completely, spend a few minutes on static stretches, holding each stretch for 30-60 seconds on each side.

  • Triceps Stretch: Holding one end of a towel in your hand, raise your elbow above your head, letting the hand hang down behind your head. With your opposite hand, gently pull the towel down until you feel a good stretch. Switch sides.
  • Shoulder Stretch: Stand tall with your feet hip-width apart and a soft bend in the knees. Bring your arm across your chest, parallel with the ground. Let the other arm come up, holding it at the forearm and easing it closer to the chest. Switch sides.
  • Hamstring Stretch: Sit on the ground with chest tall and both legs straight out in front. Bend the left leg, placing the sole of the left foot against the right knee and letting the leg lie relaxed on the ground. Bend forward, keeping the back straight, until you feel a stretch in the right hamstring. Switch sides.
  • Calf Stretch: Stand with one leg in front of the other, back straight and hands flat against a wall at shoulder height. Ease your back leg further away from the wall, keeping your leg straight and hips facing the wall, and press the heel firmly into the floor until you feel a stretch in the calf. Switch sides.

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