Editor's note: The Bee asked Dinger to help readers prepare for an active spring. The savvy mascot sought some major-league help from Sean Doran. Doran enters his second season as the Sacramento River Cats' strength and conditioning coach, after spending time in the San Francisco and Seattle organizations. This is the first in an occasional series from the River Cats staff.
During spring training, we do our best to get our players strong and keep them healthy throughout the long baseball season.
With pitchers, one of our biggest concerns is shoulder health. The rotator cuff muscles are worked repetitively with their throwing motion, so we have created a program that strengthens them without the larger muscles doing the work.
Although pitchers are required to do this program every time they throw, the position players are also encouraged to do them regularly.
(Before starting a new exercise regimen, consult a physician to make sure you're good to go.)
Equipment: Use relatively light weights to exclusively work the rotator cuff muscles. We recommend small dumbbells ranging from 1 to 3 pounds. Again, this will prevent the larger muscle groups of the shoulder from taking over.
Exercises: Start by repeating each of these four exercises 10 times. Add reps as you become more comfortable.
Lateral raise with thumbs pointed up
Stand up straight with arms hanging at side. Raise arms out to your side until they get to shoulder height. Lower them back to side. Repeat. Exercise should be done slowly.
Scaption with thumbs up
Stand up straight with arms hanging at side. Position weights so that thumbs will point up when arms are raised. Raise arms to the front until they are 45 degrees from your side. Return weights to your side. Repeat slowly.
Bent-over reverse fly
While standing, bend at the waist so your torso is at a 90- degree angle to your legs. Raise your arms out to the side to shoulder height. Lower arms. Repeat slowly.
Side-lying external rotation
Lie on your side with the weight in your upper hand. Bend arm at the elbow, forming a 90-degree angle. While keeping your upper arm flush with body, raise the weight until it aligns with your body. Return to 90-degree angle. Repeat.
Next week: Catchers understand the importance of keeping the legs strong while maintaining flexibility.