Warm up to throw, don’t throw to warm up.
This is something I am very passionate about, so bear with me as I talk your ear (eyes?) off.
We still see too many athletes start their throwing warmup, whether that is before pitching or game/practice, with a ball in their hand.
Hot take, throwing is not a good complete warm-up.
Throwing to warm-up is assuming each segment of your body required for a mechanically sound throw is ready to go right out the gate. With the stress of throwing, lifting, hitting and posture from previous days it is unlikely we are where we want to be.
So, when we do start throwing right away it is harder on the elbow and shoulder. What you lack in the areas that are not warmed up, you gain in joints that are less stable (shoulder/elbow).
It is just unneeded/unwanted strain, and it can be avoided.
Key considerations as you build your warm up for throwing:
1. Start proximal to distal, or from the center of your body and work out towards your hand.
We want to isolate the body parts to give them a fair chance to actually warm up. Additionally when you start with the spine/thoracic, it will have downstream effects on the performance of your shoulder, and elbow. Example: Thoracic movement, shoulder blade motion, shoulder flexion, external rotation at shoulder.
2. Focus on quality movement over speed.
Becoming extraordinary is all about doing simple things extraordinarily well. Going through the motions won’t properly improve thoracic rotation, serratus recruitment, low trap activation, or rotator cuff function as a whole. You will thank yourself for taking the extra few seconds to get it done right!
3. Determine if you need mobility or stability.
If you lack needed range of motion, your warm up should be focused on mobility to get you started. Hypermobile athletes however need to build stability and control in their warm up to be ready to go.
Find out what you are, don’t just guess! (If you’re curious about your total range of motion read about that here!) If you are over 220 that is a pretty common sign you are hyper-mobile.
Curious what a mobility warm up looks like?
CLICK HERE to watch this video for an example of a Mobility Warm Up.
Then, when you’re looking for a Stability Warm Up, check it out HERE to check out an example.
Use your warm up to prepare YOU for what is to come in the training session or game.
Take your time, and do it well. Tell your body how you need it to move.
Have a plan, and make it a priority everyday. Just like brushing your teeth.