How to Survive & Thrive: Pre and Post Arm Care for Pitchers
If you want your body to have a positive reaction to training and become more effective than when you started, arm care is a must. Pitchers of all levels are adopting the notion that training doesn’t stop on the field. Throwing takes a toll on the tissues, so in order to prevent overuse injuries and keep arms healthy, recovery and warm-ups are becoming the norm. Kelly Starrett shares a few solutions for pre and post arm care that will help throwers survive and thrive in the season.
1. Press Downs
Healthy elbows require nutrition and hydration, which are provided by your blood. One of the easiest ways to increase elbow tissue perfusion rates, is by incorporating press downs. Engorging your elbows with blood is a useful technique to use before you start to throw to properly prepare tissues or as soon as you’re done throwing to help recover the area. The goal with these press downs is to increase blood into the elbow, without causing fatigue.
- Take a large rubber band
- Hook it onto something above the height of your head (such as a fence)
- Grab the band with your hands, bend your elbow and then straighten
- Complete 100 press downs *this is just about creating movement in the system so do less reps if it starts to become fatiguing*
2. VooDoo Floss
When it comes to getting athletes turned around and ready for the vigor of sport, Kelly Starrett has had excellent success across all levels of baseball with using VooDoo floss. This strategy involves high-level compression, making the vasculature work hard to push blood into the area. But, once the band is removed, you’ll get a big rebound effect and the blood will come crashing back in.
Note: VooDoo floss traps the entire fascial sheets of the elbow and the forearm into a single mass and restricts blood flow, so after a couple minutes wrapped up, your elbow may not feel very good. Work as much as you can with your window of opportunity. By rotating the tissue system and the bone system underneath it, you can reach areas that are normally not addressed.
- Get your VooDoo floss and start wrapping at 50% tension a couple inches below your elbow
- Wrap up towards your elbow, making sure the band overlaps itself as you wrap
- Keep wrapping up until you get a couple inches above your elbow
- Tuck the end of the band into itself to hold in place
- Grab the elbow with your opposing hand and rotate the forearm in the opposite direction as you rotate your upper arm
- Then, work on bending and flexing the elbow
- Do the same rotation action, but instead of grabbing the forearm, grab up top near your hand.
3. Marc Pro
The last technique that Kelly is a huge fan of is Marc Pro, which speeds the recovery process and allows you to recover while you’re sitting around or on the car ride home. One of the problems with traditional heavy arm loading, like throwing, is that it’s difficult to decongest the area afterwards with enough non-exercise activity. Marc Pro helps reset the clock to zero, so instead of waiting 2-3 days for your body to adapt to the stress, you can do it right away.
To place the pads, Kelly recommends placing one pad below and one above the area you want to recover and decongest. Just make sure the target area is contracting. If it’s not contracting, move the pads around slightly until a visible contraction is present. Here are some common pad placements for baseball players:
- Driveline Baseball’s video showing: General Arm Placement, Elbow Specific Placement, and Shoulder Specific Placement
- Lower arm recovery to improve grip strength
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