The throwing motion, especially pitching, is widely recognized as one of the most aggressive actions in sports. In fact, it accounts for approximately 66% of all injuries in the sport of baseball (American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2018). Lets explore the specific and quantifiable metrics essential for the throwing motion and which strength exercise is the BEST to prevent injury.
Note: If you are an injured baseball player, Sheddon’s physiotherapists from the Oakville and Burlington Physio Clinics are prepared and determined to help you get back to the sport you like.
Biomechanics Breakdown: By the Numbers
Full shoulder external rotation during the throwing phase (180° of total rotation) results in:
- Internal rotation with a torque of approximately 60 lbs.
- The shoulder experiencing a force of 80-100 lbs of forward movement.
- A distraction force at the shoulder, about 120% of the thrower’s body weight, primarily transmitted through the biceps.
What does this mean?
- Your rotator cuff must be capable of handling over 60 lbs of internal rotation.
- Your shoulder and periscapular muscles must be strong enough to handle pulling/rowing over 100 lbs.
- Your rotator cuff and biceps must be able to resist and overcome a force equivalent to 120% of our body weight.
The Best Strength Exercise
Though a comprehensive strength program remains the gold standard, there is one exercise that encompasses all the aspects mentioned above: the UNDERHAND PULL-UP. When performed correctly, it offers several benefits, including:
- Loading the entire length of the biceps;
- Resisting anterior force at the shoulder;
- Engaging the shoulder external rotators;
- Most importantly, it can be easily loaded to help build the necessary shoulder strength required for the demanding throwing motion!
Add the Underhand Pull-Up to your gym routine today and see the difference it can make. Unsure how to do this exercise or want more great tips, check out Sheddon at SST with Liam. Liam is a former NCAA Division 2 baseball player, and also holds expertise as an athletic therapist and physiotherapist. Liam’s passion lies in the optimization of movement to ensure prolonged health and wellness for athletes at all levels. Book your appointment with Liam here.