What are good “scapular” exercises for pitchers that will help to increase scapular upwards rotation as well as just strengthening the upper back and muscles that attach to the scapula in general?
There’s an excellent paper titled “Differences in Scapular Upwards Rotation Between Baseball Pitchers and Position Players” that is well worth reading. For those who want the short version, here’s what the excerpt says:
Conclusion: Baseball pitchers have less scapular upward rotation than do position players, specifically at humeral elevation angles of 60° and 90°.
Clinical Relevance: This decrease in scapular upward rotation may compromise the integrity of the glenohumeral joint and place pitchers at an increased risk of developing shoulder injuries compared with position players. As such, pitchers may benefit from periscapular stretching and strengthening exercises to assist with increasing scapular upward rotation.
The periscapular muscles are:
- Serratus Anterior
- Pectoralis Minor
- Levator Scapulae
- Rhomboids (minor/major)
Here are some examples of stretches and band-assisted exercises that we have our clients do to strengthen and increase the flexibility/mobility of the “scapula”:
Levator Scapulae and Upper Trapezius Stretch
Scapula Push-Ups (the Perfect Pushup is useful for this exercise)