Still Using the Sleeper Stretch?

Sleeper stretch?

To do the sleeper stretch or not?? This has become one of the most controversial exercises when dealing with baseball players. Is it safe? When should I do it? Do I do it everyday? These among many other questions have become the topic of conversation especially with baseball season upon us.
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Am I am not an advocate for my athletes to perform this stretch.. in most, if not all cases, this is something I DONT have them doing. What is this stretch trying to achieve.. regaining internal rotation (IR) of the glenohumeral joint. But is it safe to do and are there other ways to achieve this without putting the athlete at risk? Absolutely!
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Why don’t I like the sleeper stretch for many of my athletes is that your stressing the shoulder more than it already is going through. Most baseball players are long tossing and throwing pens or just playing catch as it is, this is stressing the anterior part of the shoulder every time. As you’re performing the sleeper stretch you are jamming the humoral head of he arm straight forward into the joint. In other words you are loosening and already loose anterior shoulder capsule. Wouldn’t you want to protect the anterior part if your already stressing it throwing a baseball.
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What do I do instead of the sleeper stretch to avoid this problem? To regain IR of the shoulder we like to do manual therapy of the internal rotators of the shoulder and activate or strengthen the posterior part of the shoulder to avoid this anterior humoral drive if the GH joint. Also performing wall slides, prone trap raises, diffident variations of rows and strengthening of the anterior core to help keep the scap in the proper position on the rib cage to be able to upward rotate.
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Is there a time and a place for the sleeper stretch… absolutely! Most of the time we will do this when an athlete is coming back from surgery and the shoulder capsule is locked up and there’s a need to help get the joint to open up. But this is about the only time I would recommend the sleeper stretch.

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