A strong swing begins from the ground up. Warming up your lower half before a game or batting practice can help you approach the plate with more readiness. But extensive stretching or dynamic warmups can eat up vital time on the field.
To make the most of your pre-game or pre-practice time, consider adding percussive therapy to your routine. These devices can be great tools to quickly activate the right areas for a strong swing. Find out which muscle groups to target with these tips from Hyperice’s Director of Business Development Joe Cannon.
WHY PERCUSSIVE THERAPY?
Percussive therapy aims to target soft tissue pain and soreness by stimulating blood flow to a specific area. This method can be useful between at-bats or before taking the diamond. “What we want to do is really warm up the body and make it an optimal temperature for us to move better,” Cannon says.
For baseball and softball warmups for hitting, Cannon says to focus on your lower half. “The sweet spots all start in the feet, in the hips and in the legs. That’s the way we can actually create more power in our swing, so what we want to do is improve that mobility,” he adds.
BONUS PRO TIP: When choosing your percussive therapy device attachment, choose the head that feels most comfortable to you. Discover more information with these tips on how to choose percussive therapy attachments.
FEET, HEELS AND CALVES
To begin your percussion massage therapy warmup for baseball or softball, Cannon recommends starting with your feet. Before getting started, make sure your percussive therapy device is on the setting most comfortable to you. There is no wrong option, according to Cannon. “You’re still going to create all that circulation and blood flow into that area,” he says.
Begin at the back of your heel on the bottom of your foot and travel up toward your toes. Cannon recommends moving roughly one inch per second, “Really breathing life into that area.”
Moving on, Cannon says to progress to your calf muscle. Depending on personal preference, you can work from either the back or side of the calf. “We’re going to go right up, you can actually move in from the Achilles all the way to the top of the calf toward the knee,” he says.
QUADS, IT BANDS AND HAMSTRINGS
Traveling up your leg, you can then begin to target your outer quadriceps using your percussive therapy device. For starters, Cannon suggests staying just inside your IT band, which runs along the outside of your leg, to focus more on the quadriceps during these passes.
Cannon notes if you have any areas that feel tight or tender, feel free to increase pressure to that region. “When I find those areas that are tight, I can move back and forth a little bit, almost cross friction across that spot that’s a little bit tight,” he says. “If it’s a little bit tender and sore to the touch, we actually can change the angle of our vibration to allow the benefits of the vibration without the depth of the percussion that the device may give us that might be a little too intense for us at the moment.”
Once your quads are warm and ready for the batter’s box, transfer to the other side of your IT band. Target the tendon and your hamstrings during these passes, taking as long as you need to relieve any tension.
HIPS, BACK AND GLUTES
Continuing upward, look to target your hip for your hitting warmup. “We’re going to focus on going from the front of our hip, like right where one of our belt loops would be right around the top of the hip,” Cannon says.
Be sure to pay attention to your tensor fascia latae, or TFL, according to Cannon. This muscle is near the top of your hip at the IT band and, Cannon states, is in the shape of a triangle. “If you feel a little tight there don’t be afraid to let the vibration live there for 30, 45 seconds, even a minute,” he says.
To extend your hip activation, Cannon recommends also targeting your piriformis, “Which is a key to hip mobility and really helps us with the glutes.” To perform this protocol, begin at your hip and arch your massage gun’s pathway over your glute, like a rainbow. Stop your motion once you’ve reached the centerline of your back and then repeat until you’ve returned to your starting location.
Finally, you can close out your baseball or softball batting warmup by targeting your glutes. Cannon says this can help take some pressure off your lower back, which can feel tight after a long day.
BONUS PRO TIP: Don’t forget to massage both legs for a full and complete percussive therapy protocol.
Following these tips can give you a new way to prepare in the on-deck circle. With these percussive therapy protocols, you can look to streamline your warmup for all-around success.
Curious as to whether percussive therapy could benefit your throwing motion? Discover how to warm up for throwing with these percussive therapy tips for baseball and softball throwers.