Proper shoulder recovery can be just as important as your throwing mechanics, according to Allegheny Health Network Director of Sports Performance Frank Velasquez.
“We can get you strong, we can help you perform,” he says, “but knowing how to recover will help you rebound faster so you can do what you want to do again the next day or two days later with less inflammation and less discomfort and be able to perform at your top levels.”
There are a number of different recovery methods out there for baseball and softball athletes. But Velasquez stresses that you have to find the right method for your needs. From low-intensity bike flushes to therapeutic massages and even cryotherapy sessions, “there’s a lot of ways to skin it,” he says.
One recovery method Velasquez uses is simple diaphragmatic breathing. “Most people are chest-breathers, where when we inhale, our chest expands and then deflates,” he says. “So, these muscles in the upper body are always working, and that doesn’t bode well for throwing athletes or overhead athletes.” To counter this habit, Velasquez suggests learning how to belly breathe. Rather than air filling your chest, it sits deeper in your stomach.
To practice your diaphragmatic breathing, lie on your back with your knees up. Place your hands on your stomach and take a deep breath. Try to raise your hands by pulling air into your stomach while you inhale, then exhale to deflate your belly. “This helps to exercise our diaphragm,” Velasquez says. “It helps to relax our upper-body musculature, and it helps the athlete get more oxygen in and out.” Velasquez suggests some belly breathing in the morning right after waking up, as well as at the end of your day.
Find the right recovery techniques to help you bounce back from your latest throwing session, ball game or intense workout. Use these comprehensive guides to help instill proper training and recovery practices to get the most out of your season on the field.