Onset of Hip Dysfunction in Throwers, Catchers, Position Players, Baseball Athletes

Good morning Team,

Coach JJ here, today i want to discuss an overwhelmingly consistent dysfunction we’ve found amongst our baseball and softball population, extremely prominent in Pitchers.

Before continuing, I’d like to point out that our ability to consistently find and eradicate bio-mechanical breakdown in our athletes like this one, is due almost solely to our use of the Max Effort method that exists within the Conjugate System. This is because when taking maximal load on “complex” barbell movements like the classical lifts and special variations of those lifts, we’re able to figure out where the athletes system is failing… [emaillocker id=”14403″]

Once we’ve found the point of breakdown we’re able to shut down the athlete, record the best achieved “maximum” production of strength in that specific range of motion, and then move directly into single joint work and specialized exercises to begin eradicating the weakest joint’s and joint angles of the athlete.

As most of you know by now, we bust our asses to bridge the gap between what happens at the clinical level and what you’re actually experiencing under the bar, and most importantly on the field, but for those of you who don’t know myself, my staff or the culture at S8 – education is as big a part of what we do, as the programming and development itself.

That said, we’re going to get rather deep here with regards to human function and performance so as always if you are confused, just leave a comment or message us on Instagram or shoot us an email and we will be happy to try and break things down a bit more.

Here is a video of a thrower in our Velocity Research Program that has a MASSIVELY dysfunctional lead hip and we were originally alerted to it’s presence by the onset of locked hamstrings, pelvic tilt and occasional sciatic like symptoms. We saw this display itself during max effort attempts, and during specific jump variations and decided to investigate a bit more.

Though it looks like a simple issue that would have displayed itself immediately, it has been a much more involved process and the video simply documents how much range of motion the athlete is missing. At a later point I’ll post an update to this article and include a video of the Same movement showcasing the athletes increased articular abilities. He’s a very promising student and has already added 5+ MPH to his throwing velocity, and after finally reaching this “light-bulb” moment we now are able to attack a breakdown in the kinetic chain.

Below we’ve compiled the results of a study on 15 athletes presenting from our baseball population with a similar hip Dysfunction:

 

THE PROBLEM

 

Over the course of the last six months during intensive work with over 100 baseball players we’ve seen an array of commonalities in biomechanical dysfunction arise. Of these one of the more Common dysfunctions exists in the lead hip of throwers and hitters, and presents in both hips of catchers.

 

THE SYMPTOMS

 

Symptoms include low back pain, lack of mobility and articular abilities in the hip, and thigh, anterior pelvic tilt, tight hamstrings locked in an elongated position, and overall lack of power transfer in the throw and swing. Other subtle biomechanical symptoms surface when taking a squat as the foot on the lead leg/hip side of the body tends to be from 1-3 inches behind the back side foot regardless of load, walkout and bar position on the squatters back.

 

CONCLUSION & DIAGNOSIS

 

We have concluded that this is a combination of multiple dysfunctions: a hip impingement causing very minimal articular abilities, suspected to arise from the jamming that happens in the front femur-pelvis connection when the athlete launches his lead leg out in-front of him and creates the braking mechanism towards the bottom of the mound to transfer power up and over the back through the arm down the mound.

 

COLLATERAL DEFICIENCIES

 

In addition to this ailment, the IT band and Glute system seem to over compensate for an inner thigh weakness, and a major iliopsoas over dominance on the lead side of the thrower / hitter, which is believed to be pulling down on the pelvis, and lumbar spine, creating anterior pelvic tilt, lumbar vertebral jamming and neuropathy. This same case presents with tightness in the piriformis and by our estimation is causing pressure to be placed on the sciatic nerve, which explains why the pain isn’t acute but rather localized and traveling throughout an entire lower limb / low back segment of the body.

 

TREATMENT & REGENERATIVE PROTOCOL

 

There are a host of exercises and systems of mitigation that have proven effective in the short term and long term both for performance and the elimination of biomechanical dysfunction, and pain; These are:

 

  1. The Reverse Hyper, provides decompression for the Lumbar Spine, rotates the sacrum and allows spinal fluid to flow more freely as well as restoring the space between vertebrae eliminating pinched nerves
  2. Isometric strengthening of the Adductor and Abductor systems for lateral control and balance of the thigh
  3. The above combine with CARs or Controlled Articulated Rotation exercises allows the athlete to express full joint capacity and function, which provides the athlete with the ability to incrementally develop not only range of motion but active control in the newly acquired ranges of motion.
  4. Working in the belt squat with multiple walks and steps in varying directions and angles builds incredible hip tracking, and controlled ranges (this can also be combine with CARs exercises with light loads around the hips for traction)
  5. Developing Strength in the Hamstring through closed and open chain movements like the Inverse Curl and Seated Band Curls allows the biceps-femoris the ability to function properly as an extensor of the hips and can enter into a state of balance with the iliopsoas and quads
  6. External Progressive angular Isometricaly Loaded exercises in where the athlete will open the femur out to an extended range and meet an immovable load causing a maximal isometric contraction at the end range. This causes neural response to motor units that are basically dormant in the range of motion that the athlete can no longer achieve and very quickly gives the athlete what is known as ACTIVE range or functionality in the newly achieved level of mobility.

 

Now if you don’t understand the above and you think you have hip dysfunction thats limiting your performance on the diamond, give us a call or fill out a form somewhere on this site or drop us an email… I’d all but guarantee we can get you throwing gas or dropping tanks in no-time.

In Strength,

JJ Morris
Director of Performance
S8, LLC

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Terminator Walks: Build a Powerful Core

Check out this exercise called a Terminator Walk. Originally created by a Strength Coach that specializes in Baseball, Coach Simone posted this gem and we had to start using it. [emaillocker id=”14403″]

It creates power and stability in the hips, creates separation from he hip & opposite side shoulder, build range of motion in the rotation of the athlete and overall is a phenomenal exercise for the Obliques, which tie the abs to the back and create a solid powerful core.

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Shoulder Injury Prevention

A major part of what we do at S8 for our overhead population is specialized arm care, and regenerative exercise that helps to stave off injury, regenerate soft tissues and move blood and lymphatic fluid through the circulatory systems [emaillocker id=”14403″] … our Performance regeneration systems include FRC (Functional Range Conditioning), ART (Active Release Technique), Yoga, Body Tempering, PAILs and RAILs (Progressive Angular Isometrics Loading / Regressive Angular Isometric Loading) and More.

These Advanced methods of Restoration and Recovery are carried out by our Director of Regeneration who is a Critical Care Cardiac RN, and Works Hand in Hand with our FRa/Chiropractor Dr. Moses Bernard.

Here we pay special attention to the Scapular System, the T Spine, and the Chest / clavicular region. We do this to keep the glenohumeral head functioning properly within the shoulder socket, as well as to help our throwers recover faster after high volumes of throwing.

We’ve seen large improvement in not only recovery time after competition, but also in the average velocity of our throwing population as well as increased command and a decrease in the occurrence of soreness and acute pain within the shoulder and elbow.

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Tight Psoas Muscle

Free agent Matt Hasenbeck is shown here working on a deficiency all too common in baseball players.

His psoas is extremely tight causing an anterior pelvic tilt which pulls his hips downward on the front side of his body.

This limits rotational power and range, as well as limits his ability to pull his hips through movements completely and use his glutes at optimal levels.

In addition it over stretches the hamstrings making them weak and atrophying, and renders them incapable of activating to complete forward propulsion … a huge issue for rotational athletes.

Simple fix: place a roller or small med ball under them small of the back to create a levering effect between the pelvis and the abdomen and stretch the tight psoas from the inside of the iliac crest (hips)