Posts Tagged ‘rotator cuff’
Having a strong shoulder is of the utmost importance for pitchers. Throwing velocity, injury resistance, durability and stamina are all improved by developing strong, stable shoulders. Why strength and stability? Because strength is what is going to allow you to throw as hard as you can, and stability keeps your upper arm properly aligned and firmly in the shoulder socket, preventing wear and tear on connective tissue.
Shoulder pops and clicks when you move it? Those are a result of weak stabilizers. Good thing is, the following shoulder circuit is going to make those a thing of the past, and add a few MPHs in the process.
This shoulder circuit is done for 2-3 complete cycles of 12-15 reps per exercise. For beginners, this is going to probably require only 2lb dumbells, and the goal is to build up to using 3, and then 4lb dumbbells with perfect form for 3 sets of 12-15. The circuit is performed straight through, but I have grouped the exercises according to the body position (prone or standing).
This segment is performed on a tall bench, training table, or bent over with a flat back. Notice it consists of the LYT circuit plus prone skiers and scapula pushups.
Above all, I am trying to write about what I know, and I know how to squeeze more velocity out of an unexceptional arm.
How do I know this? Because I have an unexceptional arm, and I’ve done a lot of squeezing. I learned how to get the absolute best out of it, and for me, I believe the best is yet to come.
As a high school senior I pitched at 78-81. As a college sophomore I pitched at 85-89. By Junior year (before my elbow went) I was sitting at 89-92.
Thing is, I’m not special. I just had good coaching, a great strength and conditioning coach, and a terrible, desperate desire to throw harder and develop into a good pitcher, one worthy of a chance at pro ball. Read the rest of this entry »
You may have heard of the Y-T-W-L circuit, which develops scapular stability by strengthening the shoulders and upper back. Scapular stability is of the utmost importance for overhead throwing athletes like pitchers. Talk to someone with healthy shoulders, and they probably have been using the YTWL.
Yet despite it’s popularity, the YTWL circuit is often done improperly, and actually contains some movement patterns that aren’t useful: specifically, the W.
My shoulder routine has consisted of the YTWL for a few years, coupled with an additional standing shoulder/rotator cuff circuit. However, for the YTWL, it is time for a upgrade, and that is why I have made the switch to the YTLP.
My friend Nick Tumminello at Performance University has been evaluating the YTWL for a while now, and has done a series of videos on how to perform his newly developed L-Y-T-P circuit perfectly, many of which are featured below. Read some of his other great training articles on this page.
Nick has made a lot of changes to the circuit, which I am going to highlight in this article. The biggest is a call to eliminate the W pattern, which he swaps for the (P)ivot Prone. Rest assured, adopting the new circuit is going to give you stronger shoulders and more scapular stability than you’ve ever had before, even if you’ve already been doing the YTWL.
Pitchers are weird people, mostly because of the physical act of throwing. The motion is so violent and powerful that it throws a pitcher’s body out of whack and causes major asymmetries in strength, size, flexibility and range of motion, bone structure, etc.
One major adaptation of the pitcher is in shoulder range of motion (ROM). Pitchers have incredible, otherworldly external rotation. The average person couldn’t dream of contorting his arm in such a way.
My buddy Andrew Germuth showing off his external rotation
And what price do we pitchers pay for enjoying such lavish external rotation? You guessed it! A tight rotator cuff and a subsequent deficiency of internal rotation. (there is always a catch!)
So what? Does it matter if a pitcher has poor shoulder range of motion internally?
The answer to this question is unequivocally “yes.” Any trainer or physical therapist will tell you that a lack of ROM in any joint is pathological and indicative of underlying problems. Normal ROM should exist in all one’s joints, and if not, there is a probably a problem as to why. In many populations these imbalances in flexibility might not impair day-to-day functioning, but for athletes and especially pitchers, inflexibility poses major problems.
Dr. Craig Morgan and colleagues are researching the link between elbow pain (up to and including full blown ligament tears requiring Tommy John surgery) and internal rotation. What he is finding (as he found in me) is that a huge amount of pitchers coming to him have significant GIRD (glenohumeral internal rotation deficiency), and once that GIRD is reduced to an amount within 20 degrees of the internal rotation of the non-throwing shoulder, the pitchers very often return to throwing without pain. Internal rotation deficits are caused by posterior shoulder capsule tightness, which can be alleviated using the sleeper stretch. Restore your internal rotation ROM and you will be throwing healthier and harder. Read the rest of this entry »