Frank W. Jobe, co-founder of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic and longtime team physician for the Los Angeles Dodgers professional baseball organization, developed a series of light-dumbbell exercises to strengthen the shoulders. These exercises are popular among baseball players, especially pitchers, because the overhand throwing motion puts considerable stress on the shoulder joint and surrounding muscles and connective tissues. Performing these exercises regularly may help prevent or rehabilitate baseball-related shoulder injuries.
Standing Arm Raises
Several of Jobe's exercises are executed from a standing position, with your feet about hip-width apart and arms at your sides. To strengthen the front of your shoulder, hold dumbbells -- of 5 pounds or less -- at your sides with your palms facing inward, lift the dumbbells forward to shoulder height, and slowly lower them. A second exercise for the front of your shoulder, called "scaption," involves raising your arms at a 30-degree angle in front of your body with your thumbs up. To target the middle of your shoulders, lift your arms sideways to shoulder height, keeping your palms facing downward, then lower them. Keep your arms as straight as possible for each exercise. Start with three sets of 10 repetitions and gradually progress to five sets of 10 repetitions.
Lying Arm Raises
Lie face down on a bench or table. You can perform exercises with both arms at the same time if the bench is narrow enough to allow both arms to hang vertically off its sides, or one arm at a time if the bench is too wide. To strengthen the shoulder flexors, start with your arms hanging perpendicular to the floor with your palms facing each other and repeatedly lift them forward and upward until they are parallel to the floor, then lower them. Next, from the same starting position, arc the dumbbells sideways, away from the bench, and back down. Finally, extend your arms backward and upward, until your hands are just outside your hips, then lower them. Perform three to five sets of 10 repetitions using 5-pound or lighter dumbbells.
External and Internal Rotations
A baseball player externally, or outwardly, rotates his shoulder during the cocking phase of the throwing motion and internally, or inwardly, rotates his shoulder during the acceleration phase and follow-through. Jobe designed two exercises targeting the rotator cuff muscles, which are largely responsible for these movements. To perform the external rotation exercise, lie on a bench on the side opposite your throwing arm and hold a dumbbell in your throwing hand. Cross your forearm over your abdomen with your elbow anchored to your side. Lift the weight away from your body until your forearm is parallel to the floor, then let it back down slowly. For the internal rotation exercise, lie on your throwing-arm side with your elbow against the side of your abdomen and your forearm extended over the edge of the bench, parallel to the floor. Internally rotate your shoulder, raising your forearm across your belly, then let it back down slowly. Perform three to five sets of 10 repetitions of each exercise.