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Upper back stretches for baseball are an important aspect for maintaining flexibility, reducing the chance of injury, and eliminating any upper back pain. Stretching the upper back is one of the hardest areas on the body to stretch, but there are several static stretches that I'm going to show you.
The upper back muscles are heavily utilized during the pitching delivery, so it is important that baseball pitchers maintain adequate health in this region of the body.
Make sure you only perform these upper back static stretches for pitchers following your strength training routine and not before. The stretches are not designed for warming up.
5 upper back stretches for baseball
Here are five great upper back stretches for pitchers, including my favorite shoulder blade squeezes:
- Neck rolls
- Shoulder blade squeezes
- Side bends
- Bear hugs
- Hand grasp extension
The neck rolls stretch can help relieve tension in the neck and upper back muscles. While sitting on a chair or standing, you will start with your head down towards your chest, then rotate the head towards your left shoulder, back up, look to the sky, rotate back to your right shoulder, and then rotate back to the starting position.
I have explained each step, but this motion is continuous. The neck roll is all one circular motion. Repeat five rolls to one side, and reverse it for five more.
The second neck roll stretch is to simply look forward, and rotate your head to left, hold for one to two seconds, then rotate your head to the right, and hold for one to two seconds. Your head will not move up or down in this motion. Simply left and right.
The shoulder blade squeezes are a simple upper back stretch that will condition the muscles, and promote proper health within the muscles.
This stretch can be performed while you are either sitting or standing. Put your arms out in front of you with your shoulder blades completely extended. You will then pull your arms in so that your hands are touching or almost touching your chest.
At this stage your shoulder blades will be squeezed and tight. Hold this position for one to two seconds, and then repeat. Ten repetitions is sufficient.
Just like the title implies, you will bend your upper body to side and hold this position for about ten seconds, and then switch. Your bending side's arm should reach over the head. Side bends will stretch out the lats, upper, and lower back.
The bear hug stretch is excellent for stretching out the upper back and shoulder muscles. This stretch can be performed while either sitting and standing.
Hold your arms out in front of you like you are about to give someone a hug. You will then cross your arms and grasp the back of each shoulder.
Your shoulder blade should be completely extended and you will pull with your arms so that you feel a stretch in the upper back. Hold this stretch for about ten seconds, and then reverse the crossing of the arms.
For the hand grasp extension you will interlock your fingers with your palms facing away from your body. You will then press outward in front of your body with your arms and shoulder blades completely extended. Hold this position for about ten seconds and repeat three sets.
Another excellent way to stretch out the upper back is by using a foam roller.
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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