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Foam rollers for baseball pitchers?
Benefits of foam rolling include eliminating soreness and tightness in the muscles, producing greater flexibility, and even possibly increase explosiveness in athletes.
This tightly constructed piece of foam is perfect for targeting the soft tissues of the muscles, similar to a full body massage. The only difference is that foam rollers will cost you almost nothing to have, and they will last for months, if not years.
When I purchased a foam roller and began using it, I found that my soreness lasted for a very short period of time after strength training or pitching, I gained greater flexibility, and I increased my running speed.
Below I have some videos of what a foam roller looks like if you're not familiar with it.
I know that foam rolling isn't the primary reason why these things occurred, but as soon as I added it to my routine, I immediately witnessed results.
Typically, I use my foam roller before dynamic stretching for my subsequent workout. If I have time, I will use it immediately following my exercise, and then proceed with static stretching. Using the foam roller in collaboration with dynamic and static stretching seemed to give me the best results.
It's purely preferential how many times you utilize the foam roller throughout the day. Some people who are going through physical therapy will use a foam roller 10-12 times a day. So the frequency varies.
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What muscles to target for foam rolling?
Foam rollers can be used on a variety of muscles. From a technical standpoint, foam rolling can be used for the gastrocnemius, latissimus dorsi, piriformis, abductors, quadriceps, hamstrings, hip flexors, thoracic spine (trapezius and rhomboids), and TFL (side of thigh).
In less technical terms, foam rolling is very useful for alleviating any pain or knots in your back, quads (front of your legs), hamstrings (back of your legs), calves, and the famous IT band.
Foam rolling is most utilized on the IT band because it is a very difficult piece of tissue to stretch without one. ‘IT' stands for Iliotibial Band. The IT band is one of the leading causes of lateral knee pain in runner and athletes. The purpose of the IT band is to stabilize the knee while running, jumping, or sprinting.
I labeled the IT band as famous because of how excruciating the pain is the first time that you foam roll it.
The first time you roll out the IT band, it is best to apply moderate amounts of pressure until you build up a tolerance for the pain.
Some studies have shown that by using a foam roller on the IT band, athletes can prevent injury and even possibly increase their explosiveness.
5 best foam roller exercises for pitchers
Here are some of my favorite exercises using a foam roller:
Start: Sit on the floor with your legs straight. Extend your arms to lift your glutes, place the broad side of a foam roller under your butt, and bend one leg and angle your body so one cheek bears the brunt of your weight.
Roll: Move your glute back and forth across the roller (keep in mind that the range of motion will be small). When your time is up, shift your weight to the other side and repeat.
Tip: Press through your palms and move through your shoulders to shift forward and back.
2. Upper back
Start: Rest your back against the broad side of a roller positioned underneath your shoulder blades. Bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor. Lift your butt and place your hands behind your head, or cross your arms over your chest.
Roll: Keeping your core muscles tight, slowly roll forward and back so that the roller moves up and down between the middle of your back and the top of your shoulder blades.
Tip: Don't tilt your head forward to look at your legs as you roll — this may place stress on the spine. Keep your head and neck in line with your back at all times.
Start: Sit with your legs extended in front of you and the broad side of a roller positioned directly under your thighs. Place your hands flat on the floor behind you for support.
Roll: Using your arms to initiate the motion, slowly roll back and forth to move the roller up and down from the bottom of your hamstrings to just above your knees.
Tip: As you roll, try rotating your legs in and out from the hips — this will allow you to hit your hamstrings more thoroughly.
Start: Position your left hip against the broad side of a roller on the floor. Cross your right leg over your left as shown, and put both hands on the ground for support.
Roll: Using your left arm to assist the motion, roll your thigh back and forth over the roller from just below your hip to above your knee. Continue rolling for the allotted time, then switch positions to work your right leg.
Tip: If you need more pressure to loosen things up, stack your legs — but keep in mind that your stability will be challenged.
Start: Lie face down with the roller positioned directly under your thighs. Bend your elbows so that your forearms are flat on the floor to support your weight — your feet should be suspended above the floor as shown.
Roll: Keeping your abs drawn in and core muscles tight, use your arms to gently roll your body forward and back to move the roller up and down from your pelvic bone to just above your knees.
Tip: Want to increase the intensity and really get at that ache? Stack your feet to roll one quad at a time.
Additional foam roller exercise tips for baseball pitchers
As I mentioned above, foam rolling can be used on a variety of different muscles in both the legs, and upper body.
- The best way to use this device is by rolling the targeted muscle for 10-15 seconds.
- If you are rolling and a particular spot is extra painful, you can apply pressure to this area for 30-60 seconds until the pain has alleviated. This practice is labeled as trigger point release.
- When utilized correctly, foam rolling will reduce soreness, tightness, and knotting in any targeted muscle.
- Blue and black rollers are the most dense, with white rolls being the least.
- Longer foam rollers are more effective in targeting the back muscles.
Lastly, foam rollers are great for targeting the larger muscles, but if you're looking to target smaller muscles you should probably take a look at hand rollers.
Remember, if you're a training athlete or just someone trying to maintain high fitness levels, owning a foam roller is a must.
Keep working hard. No off days. No excuses.
Learn about my workout programs for pitchers
To get to the next level, preparation is everything. Big league pitchers spend far more time preparing to pitch than actually pitching.
If you believe adding velocity could be critical to your success, check out my latest strength training, conditioning and throwing programs for baseball pitchers of all ages.
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