Arm Care Exercises – Thrower’s Six

Thrower’s 6 Exercise Program

By Nathan Friedman, CSCS, Arizona Diamondbacks

Baseball and softball players of all ages are throwing with greater velocity today than in previous years. With increased velocity, especially among players who are fatigued and are not engaged in an appropriate arm care program, there is an increased risk of arm and shoulder injury. The Thrower’s 6 Exercise Program (T6), a modification of the Thrower’s 10 (T10), is a series of fundamental exercises for all positions, all ages and all levels of play. The exercises are designed to strengthen the muscles of the rotator cuff and elbow as well as encourage proper function of the scapula during the throwing motion. T6 exercises are common in many different arm care programs used in youth, collegiate and professional baseball. They can be performed using elastic tubing, weight plates, dumbbells, cuff weights or manual resistance.

  1. D2 (Diagonal Extension): Stand in a split stance position, feet shoulder-width apart and your glove side foot forward. With the DB/resistance in your throwing hand, position your hand in front of your opposite hip with your thumb down. Set your core and lift the DB/resistance up and across your body in a thumb up pattern until your hand is slightly higher than shoulder-height. Slowly lower your arm turning your thumb down as you return to the starting position. Perform 10-12 reps.

2. Shoulder Abduction to 900: Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, arms down by the sides, elbows straight and palms against the sides. Holding a DB/resistance in each hand, set your core and raise (abduct) the arms until they reach 900 (shoulder level). The arms should form a “T” with your body. Pause briefly at the top and return in a controlled motion back to the starting position. Perform 10-12 reps.

 3. Scaption (Internal Rotation): Start with feet shoulder-width apart, elbows straight and thumbs up. With a DB/resistance in each hand, set your core and raise both arms to shoulder level at an angle of approximately 300 in front of your body. Pause and slowly return to the starting position. Do not go above shoulder height. Perform 10-12 reps.

 4. Side Lying External Rotation: Lying on your side with your shoulders stacked and a pillow under your head to support your neck. Place a bolster or a rolled-up towel under the armpit of your top arm. Start with a DB/resistance placed by your stomach with your elbow bent to 900 and your palm facing your body. Set your core and lift (externally rotate your shoulder) the DB/resistance up to 900 without moving your elbow. Pause slightly and return to start in a controlled manner. Perform 10-12 reps.

 5. Row to External Rotation: Start in a prone position with your arm hang downing freely. Holding a DB/resistance in your hand, set your core, row (pull) the weight up until your upper arm is parallel to table and your elbow is flexed to 900. Then externally rotate your shoulder until your forearm and hand are parallel to the floor. Reverse the motion in a controlled manner and return to the starting position. Perform 10-12 reps.

6. Wrist Series: The wrist series consists of 4 exercises. Start all 4 exercises in a seated position.

  • Wrist curl – With the weight in your hand, palm up (supination) and your hand and wrist hanging off the table. Perform a set of 10-15 wrist curls.

  • Wrist extension – Turn your palm down (pronation) and perform a set 10-15 reps.

  • Wrist supination – With your wrist in a neutral position (thumb up), slowly rotate your forearm and lower the weight away from the body until your palm is up (supinated). Return to the starting position by rotating your forearm toward your body. Perform 10-15 reps.

  • Wrist pronation – With your wrist in a neutral position (thumb up), slowly rotate your forearm and lower the weight toward the body until your palm is down (pronation). Pause and return to the starting position by rotating your forearm away from your body. Perform 10-15 reps.

Pitchers should perform these exercises after throwing a bullpen or in a game. Position players should perform them post- practice, post-game or as a part of a scheduled resistance training program.

Coaching tips.

  • All exercises must be performed with proper technique and within the joint’s full range of motion

  • Keep your core tight throughout each exercise

  • Breathe throughout each exercise

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Nathan Friedman is a Minor League Strength and Conditioning Coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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