As pitchers, and especially relief pitchers, we always have our ideal way to loosen up etched in our brains somewhere. We imagine our pitching coach signaling us with plenty of time to get up, make sure our uniform looks great, meditate in a downward dog pose, get a cup of java, and start floating rainbows to our bullpen catcher. We imagine it being perfect, warm, California sunshine every game (for some this may be true now, but not so much if you aspire to reach a high level down the road). We also imagine our coach or manager letting us throw the optimal amount of pitches we need to be ready to enter the ballgame. In the game of baseball, unfortunately, predicability is the opposite of reality.
To make matters worse, some of us take longer than others to loosen up. The weather might be freezing or you might have played 800 matches in call of duty the night before, and you’re back feels as stiff as a board. So when we are pressed for time, when the guy pitching in the game is getting tattooed all around the park, what can you do to make sure you are ready to compete to the best of your ability in a short window of time? The following 5 moves are my go-to’s for getting ready to kick some ass in a hurry.
1.) Bridge With a Reach
What It Works Most- hamstring/glute activation and thoracic (T-spine) mobility
2.) Overhead Squats Transitioning Into Jump Squats
What It Works Most- lower body mobility and bloodflow, upper trap/scap/shoulder activation, core stability
3.) Pushup to Hand Shuffle
What It Works Most- upper extremity mobility/ scapular stability, core stability
4.) Knee Hug to Spiderman to Hip Lift to Overhead Reach
What It Works Most- lower body/hip/hamstring mobility, thoracic (T-spine mobility)
5.) Shoulder Stabilizations- (Always opt for this one last to ensure your cuff is fired up and ready to throw)
What It Works Most- rotator cuff bloodflow, shoulder stability (Duh!)
Since we don’t often have much time to prepare physically, I tend to gravitate towards the more “bang for your buck” movements- Moves that will get more of my body to respond, quicker. If you are a relief pitcher, give these a shot before you start throwing.
Why before throwing? Would it be smart to take a sports car, when its freezing, straight out of the garage and punch the pedal to the metal right out of the gate? Ya, you might go pretty fast, but it won’t perform to the best of its ability will it? It undoubtedly with run much better after you get it moving for a bit.
Same goes for you. Treat your body like a high performance sports car. Get that body temperature up. Get a sweat going and the right muscles activated, THEN go let it rip!