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Enhance Your Workout

The 10 Best Stretches for Softball

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When you see other softball players throw the ball and sprint effortlessly, your first thought probably wasn’t what their stretching routine was like. However, even if stretching techniques for softball is not the first thing on your mind,  it should be an integral part of any softball player’s routine. 

Muscles Used in Softball

If you play softball, it’s a requirement to throw hard and use your shoulder muscles. Whether you’re a pitcher, a catcher, an infielder, outfielder, you use all your shoulder muscles, the deltoids, lats, pectorals, and serratus to help get the ball where it needs to go. 

The hip rotator muscles, such as the piriformis, and thoracic spine also are used to both throw and hit. In order to generate power, your hips and spine do some heavy lifting to accomplish whichever task the game requires at the moment. This also entails using your groin, quadratus lumborum, and psoas to move your body efficiently in softball.   

Common Softball Injuries

With shoulders being a dominant muscle in softball, rotator cuff injuries are frequent occurrences. Also, with the high velocity throwing in softball, elbow and arm injuries, such as UCL tears, are common to see. 

In addition, major lower body injuries, such as torn ACLs and high ankle sprains, happen often because of the torque all the twisting and turning puts on your body. Minor injuries, such as pulled hamstrings, are also common softball injuries as a result of the sprinting at maximum capacity. 

How to Prevent Injuries in Softball

Preventing injuries in softball requires commitment to different modalities to keep your body stabilized with strength and flexibility. Weightlifting to build resilience and durability in your muscles, tendons, and joints is essential, but balancing strength gains with a mobility program will produce the best results.

Combining self myofascial release with a Yoga Strong Roller and stretching techniques are proven to prevent injuries in softball. Dedicating ample time before your softball session and after your softball session will help keep your muscles loose and reduce delayed onset muscle soreness. Most importantly, using sport-specific softball stretches will target the areas you need to stay on the softball field and off the injured list. 

10. Lying Knee Roll-Over Lower Back Stretch

The lying knee roll-over lower back stretch explores loosening up restrictions in both the lumbar spine (lower back) and thoracic spine (mid-back). An inability to rotate the spine effectively will impact your ability to throw and hit well in softball, so including the lying knee roll-over lower back stretch into your stretch routine is an effective way to promote flexibility.

Here are the steps:

  1. Lay on your back on your Yoga Strong Mat and hug your right knee into your chest. Let your right arm extend wide out to the right. 
  2. Using your left hand, guide the right leg up and across the body to the left.
  3. Now, let your knee fall to the left. Bottom leg stays straight. Release your left arm to the left and if comfortable, bring your gaze to the right. 
  4. Hold for 5 breaths. Repeat on the other side  

9. Leg Swings

Leg swings are both a dynamic stretch and a compound movement that promotes active flexibility in the front hip and hamstring and an efficient running stride warm-up exercise.

Here are the steps:

  1. Start standing on the left side of a chair, wall, or other support. Use your right hand for support.
  2. When ready, begin to swing your right leg forward and up towards your hip height, while keeping the leg straight. 
  3. Then, once you hit your maximum point, swing back down and behind you, bringing your right leg as far back into hip extension as you can go.
  4. Repeat 10 swings each leg.

8. Overhead Lat Stretches

Overhead lat stretches are especially important in softball because there are extensive overhead movements and shoulder motion that attaches to your lat muscle. 

Here are the steps:

  1. Raise your right arm overhead, completely straight. 
  2. After that, grab your right wrist with your left. 
  3. Once you have a firm grasp, sway your hip to the right, as you pull your right wrist left side overhead. 

7. Knee to Chest

Knee to chest is a good measuring stick for your hip flexibility, since hip tightness on one side of the stretch will impact the other side. This stretch works particularly well as a warm-up for softball and dynamic movement.

Here are the steps:

  1. Start by standing tall with your arms by your sides
  2. Then, raise your right leg up so your knee is at waist height.
  3. Next, grab your right shin/knee with both hands and gently pull your leg higher, hugging it up your chest.
  4. With control, drop your right leg back down and switch sides. Repeat 10x.

6. High Knees

High knees take the previous knee to chest stretch and add more active movement to further activate the nervous system. High knees expand your available range of motion with the dynamic motion. 

Here are the steps:

  1. Start in a standing position, raising your right leg up to waist height. 
  2. Then, simultaneously, drop your right leg to the ground and raise your left leg up to waist height.
  3. Repeating this alternating leg movement, start to move forward at a brisk pace until fatigued.

5. Rotating Forearm and Wrist Stretch

Throwing hard can wear down the muscles in your forearm. Considering the forearm helps stabilize both the wrist and the elbow, stretching the forearm is important to stay healthy for softball.

Here are the steps:

  1. Take your right arm straight out in front of you at shoulder height, palm down
  2. Then, flex the wrist downward and outward.
  3. Once you reach maximum range of motion, use your left hand to push and rotate your hand further upward to create more range of motion

4. High Skips

High skips are another dynamic stretch, but it also adds a plyometric move, which stimulates your foot, ankle, and calf and prepares your cardiovascular system for softball. 

  1. Start with a light skipping motion, pushing your left foot off the ground, while bringing your right knee into your chest.
  2. Then, switch legs by simultaneously dropping your right leg to the ground and pushing off your right foot to lift your left leg high to your chest.
  3. Repeat in a skipping motion until fatigued.

3. Arm Circles

To increase your ability to throw and hit a softball better, arm circles are a great exercise that tests your shoulder mobility. The range of motion of arm circles will help keep your shoulders healthy and functional for softball. 

Here are the steps:

  1. Start standing with your arms by your sides.
  2. When ready, raise your arms in front of you and start to make big circles going clockwise with your arms. 
  3. With control, pretend like you’re touching every digit on the clock (12,1,2,etc.) 
  4. Repeat clockwise 5x through, then switch directions and perform the arm circles counterclockwise. 

2. Lunge Twist

Lunge twists integrate the spine and the hips into one efficient exercise.  When utilizing both upper body and lower body muscles to stretch, the kinetic chain in your body forms a stronger relationship by reducing any compensations when playing softball. 

Here are the steps:

  1. Start standing, and lunge your right foot out in front of you. 
  2. Next, drop your left hand to the ground while maintaining an engaged back leg. 
  3. Then, twist from your torso and raise your right arm to the sky. 
  4. To be stable, make sure your left hand is planted firmly and your right knee isn’t caving in. 
  5. Breathe and hold for 30 seconds and switch sides. 

1. Triceps Extension

The repetition of throwing hard in softball produces constant stress on your shoulder and elbow. This makes tricep stretches important in order to support the volume of repetitions at high speed and extensions. In particular, triceps extension moves your shoulder also into extension to counteract the shoulder flexion. 

Here are the steps:

  1. Start standing and hinge at your hips so your spine is parallel to the ground
  2. Then, tuck both arms to each side of your spine and bend each elbow so both of your arms form a 90 degree angle.
  3. After that, squeeze the shoulder blades together and start to extend the elbow behind you until both arms are fully extended behind you. 
  4. Next, flex the elbow to return to a neutral 90 degree angle and repeat 10x.
  5. To add resistance, use a light 5 lb dumbbell to perform the triceps extension. 

Final Thoughts

Because your body is proactively working the hips and spine, you'll end up doing a lot of similar stretches used in tennis and volleyball. Make sure to reference other stretching guides and add exercises that hit these muscle groups.

That way, you're proactively stretching and warming your muscles up before you play. 


Nicole, Raynisha (n.d.). 12 best warm up exercises & stretches to do before workout. For Care Education and Research. 

Static vs. dynamic stretching: What are they and which should you do? Hospital for Special Surgery. (n.d.).

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