For many reasons both simple and complex, shoulder mobility is absolutely crucial to have in order to reach your potential in this sport. Having the proper range of motion within your shoulders along with having strength/stability throughout that motion plays major roles in your throwing power, batting power, and even sprinting speed.
Before we get into the shoulder mobility workout, here’s a test I’d like you to perform right now…
Stand up and allow yourself to totally relax.
Where did your arms hang?
In which direction does the back of your hand face?
When you’re standing in a relaxed position, your shoulders shouldn’t be pulled forward like a caveman or bro trying to look jacked at the gym. If this is how your arms hang, this is a very good indication you are either far too tight, or have overdone chest training exercises in relation to upper back work.
To be quite honest, younger guys are the worst offenders for this. It’s not their fault, it’s usually just a case of not having professional guidance in the early stages of their weightlifting programming. And you know, throw a little ego-lifting in there as well that most all of us are prone to in our teen-years of life. This can lead to some major tightness and pulling of the shoulders forward by the pec minor and internal rotators.
The reality with proper baseball programming is that in most cases your back exercises should outweigh your chest exercises with a 2:1 ratio until this is corrected. Especially for baseball players who have so many shoulder issues in their throwing arm to begin with. I’m not just talking back exercises in general either, you want back exercises that focus on the upper back and scapula retraction to help clear up this issue. This will bring you right out of the cave and back into the normal world in no time.
Improving shoulder mobility and working on your upper back will improve your structural balance, strength balance, stability, posture, injury prevention, and baseball performance.
In a relaxed standing position, your shoulders should be at your side. Not in front of you. Also, in a relaxed position they should be symmetrical in height. One should not be higher or lower than the other. This type of tightness usually results in a forward head lean as well, so now you have a hunchback + caveman thing going on.
Addressing shoulder tightness with baseball players is extremely important for running speed, throwing, injury prevention, and career performance longevity.
The internal and external rotator muscles work together to create a lot of this motion and baseball players normally have issues all across the map here with both the external and internal rotators. It’s just the nature of the sport and we need to arm ourselves in order to deal with the stressors that this sports places on your body.
Additionally, our nervous systems are structured in a manner where the faster your arms are pumping, the faster your legs will be pumping as well (this is why shoulder mobility and upper back mobility matters for speed). Your mobility in your upper back and shoulders plays a large role in the stretch/reflex potential for your upper body to contribute to your maximum top speed.
Pretty cool huh?
Who would have thought breaking up some adhesions in the shoulders could improve your basepath sprinting time.
Best Shoulder Mobility Exercises For Baseball Players
Here are some of my favorite exercises to incorporate into baseball mobility workouts or routines to help with your overall shoulder and upper back mobility:
Low intensity mobility work:
- Arm circles (small)
- Arm circles (large)
- Over-under arm twists
- Scapula floor slides
- Lying manual internal rotator cuff stretch
- Posterior shoulder stretch
- Anterior shoulder stretch
- Serratus wall slide
- Yoga push up
- Side lying windmill
- Quadruped extension rotation
- Wall pec stretch
Resistance training exercises that are good for shoulder and upper back mobility:
- DB power cleans
- Barbell Cuban press
- L-lateral raises with external rotation
- Rope Face pulls
- Banded face pulls
- Elbow on knee, DB external rotations
- Half kneeling cable external rotation
Shoulder Mobility Workout
Putting it all together now, here’s a shoulder mobility routine I utilize with my athletes with great success to get them moving with better quality and stability:
A: Side lying windmill – 2 x 8/side with 20-30secs rest in between sets
B: Yoga push ups – 2 x 15 with 20-30secs rest in between sets
C: Bird dog – 2 x 8/side with 20-30secs rest in between sets
D: Lean back lat stretch on rack – 2 x 20secs/side with 20-30secs rest in between sets
E: Scapula floor slides – 2 x 8 with 20-30secs rest in between sets
F: Cat Camels – 2 x 10 with 20-30secs rest in between sets
Looking for more baseball training tips? Check out this article on How To Throw Harder, which is one of our more popular baseball training articles.