I always get the question: Yo Chris, what are the best mobility exercises for baseball performance?
A lot of coaches put focus on the shoulders and hips when it comes to mobility. I do it too.
Regular mobility practice is especially important to fight off pattern overload from constant throwing.
So, when I think of mobility exercises that baseball players aren’t already doing that can really improve their performance, I think of anything that addresses the thoracic region.
The thoracic region is made up of the 12 middle vertebrae of the spine. It plays a huge role in rotation and flexion/extension.
A lack of mobility in this area can create neck and shoulder injuries, and also impact throwing velocity.
So many baseball players struggle with mobility through the thoracic region, but it’s crucial that you address any issues to optimize performance.
I’m going to share the 3 best mobility exercises for baseball performance. Let’s get into it.
1. Prone Arm Circles
Prone arm circles are one of my favorite mobility movements for baseball performance. They address the thoracic region and they increase range of motion in the shoulders. Like all of these mobility exercises, it’s important that you execute them with pristine form to extract the maximum benefit from them.
How to Perform Prone Arm Circles
- Begin on your stomach with your chest off the ground and chin tucked
- Begin with both arms extended in front of you, hands in contact with the ground
- Keeping your chest up and bring one hand up over your shoulder
- As your hand gets stacked with your shoulder, rotate your hand out and lower your hand down by your hip, making a big circle
- Then, bring that same hand back to it’s original position, again, making a big circle
- Repeat on both sides
- Make sure you keep your arm as straight as possible when you perform this movement
- Perform 3 sets of 10 reps each side
2. T-Spine Rotation With Flexion
As I said above, the thoracic spine is responsible for rotation as well as extension and flexion.
In this mobility exercise, we’re going to pair the rotation with flexion. This drill is a dynamic stretch. When you’re first starting out, you should perform this movement slow and controlled, but as you get better, you can do it a little bit faster. The goal here, however, is not speed. It’s mobility.
How to Perform T-Spine Rotation with Flexion
- Start in a tabletop position with your forearms and knees on the ground
- Reach your left arm in the space between your right arm and right knee
- Go as far as you can and hold for one second
- Return to resting position
- Repeat on the other side
- Repeat this movement for 3 sets of 3-5 repetitions each side
3. Dowel Rod Thoracic Rotation
The last movement was a thoracic rotation combined with flexion. This movement is a thoracic rotation combined with extension. That means you’re going to be focused on keeping your chest up tall with your chin tucked.
How to Perform The Dowel Rod Thoracic Rotation
- Grab a dowel rod
- Lay on your stomach with your chest up and chin tucked
- Grab the ends of the dowel rod with both hands
- Push one end of the dowel rod into the ground as you rotate the other end up towards the ceiling
- While doing this, keep both hip bones in contact with the ground
- Stop your rotation when one of your hip bones starts to break contact with the ground
- Repeat on the other side
Best Mobility Exercises for Baseball Performance
Depending on the athlete, I like to perform mobility drills before a session. The slight increase in range of motion can help the athlete find better positions during their training.
Additionally, you can perform these mobility drills on off days. In fact, I recommend it.
Through all of this, it’s important to keep in mind that mobility isn’t the end all of baseball performance.
Check out baseball workouts for top speed, agility, and hypertrophy.
I see many baseball coaches who are very conservative in regards to baseball strength and conditioning. And they’ll panic if they see a baseball athlete even look at a bench press the wrong way.
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