Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw opened the doors to his Dallas, Texas home gym to #TeamMSTRD and walked us through the pre-throwing routine he uses to prepare his body to throw off the mound. At this point in Kershaw’s career, at age 35, he is focused exercises that improve the mobility of his shoulder and thoracic spine (upper to mid-back), and to keeping his hips both mobile and stable, especially on his landing side, so they can absorb the force generated during his pitching delivery.
“10 years ago, I didn’t have much of a pre-throwing routine,” Kershaw says. “I’d just do some high knees and butt kicks to get my heart rate up a little bit and then go straight into it.” Kershaw explains that a quick and simple warmup like that may be sufficient for athletes with no injury history. “But, over time, if you work on the little stuff, you’ll probably avoid issues down the road more than I did,” he says.
Kershaw stresses that your pre-throwing routine also provides you with a mental checklist of things you have to do to make yourself feel ready to throw. Remember, it is important to assess your functional strength before starting any exercise program. Here are the highlights of Kershaw’s pre-throwing routine. To view the full video of his pre-throwing routing, visit In the Kitchen with #TeamMSTRD.
Hip 90-90 Banded Internal Rotation
This exercise increases Kershaw’s hip internal rotation, which occurs when the thigh bone rotates inward, and opens the hip capsule.
Lateral Bear Crawl
This exercise improves Kershaw’s anti-rotation core stability, along with shoulder and hip stability.
Dumbbell Pullover on Foam Roller
This exercise helps Kershaw create more thoracic mobility, improves anti-extension core strength, improves shoulder mobility, and stretches the lat muscles in the upper back.
Band-Resisted Bird Dog
This exercise strengthens Kershaw’s abdominal and spinal extensor muscles and improves shoulder and hip mobility.
Hinged-Position Water Bag Rotation
This exercise isometrically strengthens Kershaw’s glutes and hamstrings (the muscles don’t change length during the movement), actively strengthens the abdominals and obliques, and builds rotational power.
Banded Overhead Lat Stretch with Side Bend
This exercise opens Kershaw’s lats and increases overall shoulder mobility.
Med Ball Forward Lunge to Rotate and Punch
In this exercise, the lunge builds Kershaw’s leg strength and stability while the rotational punch trains thoracic rotation and rotational power and strengthens the abs and obliques.
Split Stance Med Ball Toss with Coil
This exercise trains Kershaw’s lower-body stability and balance while building upper body rotational power and mobility.
Standing Lateral Med Ball Toss
This exercise builds Kershaw’s rotational power and strengthens the abdominals and obliques.
Med Ball Rainbow Slam
This exercise trains Kershaw’s rotational power. It also challenges triple-extension of the ankles, knees and hips at the top of the movement and odd-angle triple flexion as the ball is slammed downward.
3D Band Hip Forward Rotation
This exercise builds Kershaw’s rotational power through the hips, teaching the hips and lower body to snap forward explosively in a position that mimics the pitching delivery. It also trains sequencing and timing.
3D Band Hip Reverse Rotation
This exercise builds Kershaw’s rotational power specifically through the hips, teaching the glutes to be explosive in a position that mimics the pitching delivery. It also trains sequencing and timing.
3D Band End-Range Simulated Throw
This exercise builds rotational power in a position that mimics the pitching delivery. It strengthens both the throwing and non-throwing shoulder and mid-back muscles, ensuring stability during the delivery. It also trains sequencing and timing.
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