This is Part 2 of a multi-part series about conditioning for baseball, for little leaguers:
- Part 1 – Don’t Try Conditioning Little Leaguers Until You Read This First…
- Part 2 – [You Are Here] Conditioning For Little Leaguers – Flexibility
- Part 3 – (COMING SOON)
How many of you do a dynamic warm-up with your players to start practice?
If you do not, then Dr. Stanley Beekman’s post is timely.
In the following post, the Doc will give you an active full body warm up routine you can use with your young athletes.
I even have my private instruction hitters do a RAMP warm-up routine before we start hitting. RAMP stands for:
- Range-of-motion – increase flexibility like Dr. Stanley will talk about in his post below,
- Activation – activating certain muscles that tend to turn off because excessive sitting during the day, and
- Movement Preparation – certain exercises that mimic specific hitting positions or movements.
This is promoted heavily in my Youth Fitness Specialist certification through the International Youth Conditioning Association (IYCA).
If you’re not including a dynamic warm-up, then you’re cutting your young athletes short.
Enter Dr. Stanley…
This is the second of a multi-part series about conditioning for baseball little leaguers. In this post we’ll go over:
- What is flexibility?
- 4 reasons we want flexibility,
- 7 causes of “inflexibility”,
- Why warm up? And,
- A sample warm up program to encourage flexibility…
What is Flexibility?
Flexibility is defined as the ability to bend without breaking. In sports we mean ease and range of movement.
4 Reasons WHY We Want Flexibility?
- Injury prevention: For example Achilles tendonitis is caused by tight calf muscles.
- Better technique: Example – limitation of internal rotation of the hip joint will prevent the batter from staying closed.
- More Speed: Larger range of motion will allow more time to accelerate a body part.
- Less restriction of movement means more speed with less effort.
7 Causes of “Inflexibility”?
- Cold muscles
- The need to stabilize joint dysfunctions
- Injuries or dysfunction of muscles-agonists or antagonists, ligaments, and fascia
- Emotional stress
- Avoidance of pain (prior or current)
- Shortened muscles
- Improper position of adjacent joints
Why Warm Up?
- Muscles are like sponges. When they are dry they are stiff and will tear if moved. When they are dipped in water they become flexible
- Joint movement pumps synovial (joint) fluid through the cartilage and prepares it for activity
A Sample Warm Up Program to Encourage Flexibility
So, what is the best way to warm up the body before performing intense exercise?
I have had a few kids on my son’s team work out with him. These are the warm up exercises we do. There are many other great warm up exercises, but the key here is to get the blood flowing to all the muscles and the heart and lungs working.
Sometimes there is an overlap between warming up and ballistic stretching (which we will talk about in the next installment).
We start slowly and then build up. If you have any favorite warm up exercises, let us know in the comments section below…
1. Running with high knees 15 yards
2. Running kicking the butt 15 yards
3. Lunge walks 10 yards
4. Side lunge walks 10 yards
5. Head rotation 10x each way
6. Arm circles forwards 10x
7. Arm circles backwards 10x
8. Huggers 10x
9. Indian clubs for shoulders, elbows and wrists 10x (Stay with 1 lb clubs)
Indian Clubs on Amazon
10. Bulgarian bag thoracic warm up 10x each way.
11. Trunk twist 10x each way
12. Hip Circles 10x each way
13. Knee Circles 10x each way
14. Karaoke 15 yds left lead and 20 yds right lead
15. Free Squats 10x
16. Bear Crawls 15yds
17. Crab Walks 15yds
18. Burpees with Hindu push up and jump 10x
Next time we will talk about stretching…