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The Relationship Between Gluteal Muscle Activation and Throwing Kinematics in Baseball and Softball Catchers

Plummer, Hillary A.1,2; Oliver, Gretchen D.1

Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research: January 2014 - Volume 28 - Issue 1 - p 87–96
doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318295d80f
Original Research

Abstract: Plummer HA and Oliver GD. The relationship between gluteal muscle activation and throwing kinematics in baseball and softball catchers. J Strength Cond Res 28(1): 87–96, 2014—The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between gluteal muscle activation and pelvis and trunk kinematics when catchers throw to second base. Forty-two baseball and softball catchers (14.74 ± 4.07 years; 161.85 ± 15.24 cm; 63.38 ± 19.98 kg) participated in this study. Muscle activity of the bilateral gluteus maximus and medius as well as pelvis and trunk kinematics throughout the throwing motion were analyzed. It was discovered that at foot contact, there were 2 significant inverse relationships between stride leg gluteus maximus activity and pelvis axial rotation (r = −0.31, r2 = 0.10, p = 0.05), and between trunk axial rotation and pelvis lateral flexion (r = −0.34, r2 = 0.12, p = 0.03). In addition, at foot contact, a significant positive relationship between the drive leg (throwing arm side) and trunk flexion (r = 0.33, r2 = 0.11, p = 0.04) was present. The results of this study provide evidence of gluteal activation both concentrically and eccentrically, in attempt to control the pelvis and trunk during the throwing motion of catchers. The gluteal muscles play a direct role in maintaining the stability of the pelvis, and catchers should incorporate strengthening of the entire lumbopelvic-hip complex into their training regimen. Incorporating concentric and eccentric gluteal exercises will help to improve musculoskeletal core stability, thereby assisting in upper extremity injury prevention.

1Department of Kinesiology, Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama; and

2East Alabama Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, Opelika, Alabama

Address correspondence to Gretchen D. Oliver, goliver@auburn.edu.

Copyright © 2014 by the National Strength & Conditioning Association.