Athletes that participate in sports that rely on repeated throwing and overhead motions on one side of the body, such as baseball, softball, volleyball, and certain track and field events, are at an increased risk to develop muscular imbalances that may lead to injury and/or decreased performance. For these athletes, it is important to address the specific loads and stresses of their sport by taking preventative measures in order to remain healthy and ensure peak performance. Some of the most common biomechanical issues we see with these athletes include weak shoulder and scapular stabilizers, poor thoracic mobility, tight posterior rotator cuff muscles, poor scapular upward rotation, decreased internal rotation at the shoulder, and poor hip mobility.
For throwers and overhead athletes, it is imperative to take preventative measures to decrease the likelihood of acute and overuse injuries caused by these imbalances and the demands of their sport by participating in an arm care program for reduction of injury and improved peak performance. An effective arm care routine for these types of athletes should address mobility, flexibility, strength, stability, and endurance at the thoracic spine, shoulder girdle, elbows, wrists, and hips. Strengthening the musculature of the core and upper back will also help to stabilize the athlete and reduce the risk of injuries associated with overhead and throwing movements.
How Will An Arm Care Program Help Me to Stay Healthy and Increase My Performance?
Increased Ability to Decelerate
In order to protect you from injury, the muscles that help you to decelerate will prevent you from speeding up when you need to slow down. A great arm care program will strengthen the posterior muscles of your shoulders and upper back to slow down the forceful overhead and throwing motions and reduce the risk of injury.
Exercises that improve strength, stability and mobility of the arm limit the factors that prevent you from moving optimally. Fixing these mechanical issues will help you to generate more power, move more efficiently, and increase performance.
Maximize Power Output
In overhead and throwing athletic movements, power is generated through the floor with the legs, transferred up through the core into the upper body, and released at the top of the movement into the object that is being thrown or hit. If an athlete does not have adequate core/hip strength and stability, some of that force will dissipate during the transfer from the lower body to the upper body, resulting in a loss in velocity. This phenomenon is known as a “power leak". A successful arm care program should address these issues by improving strength and stability in the core and hips, thus optimizing the kinetic chain.
How to Get Ready for the Demands of the Season
Find an arm care routine that fits your needs, and be consistent with it. Building strength, endurance, flexibility, and mobility takes time, so it is important to not wait until the last minute to get yourself ready for the demands of the season. A little bit of work every day goes a long way.
Listen to Your Body
Understand the difference between soreness and pain. Levels of tolerance differ between individuals, so it is important to understand and listen to what your body is trying to tell you.
Pitchers should frequently evaluate how their arm is feeling, before and after games, before and after practice. It is perfectly normal for pitchers, after a heavy workload, to be a little sore/tight/stiff in their shoulders, core, and legs.
But knowing where the soreness or stiffness is can help us work to improve or condition muscles or isolate and fix a mechanical issue that may be present.
Potential Red Flags
Arm soreness that persists for more than two days
Pain/soreness at the inner elbow
Pain on top of or deep within the shoulder
Any RECURRING pain, such as during or after each outing
If you or your athlete experience any of the above symptoms, it is imperative to get the issue evaluated by a trained professional who is familiar with assessing and treating baseball injuries. Aviator Sports Performance & Rehabilitation has Doctors of Physical Therapy on staff who specialize in working with this specific population.
How Can I Get Started?
Aviator Sports Performance & Rehabilitation offers exceptional arm care programs and sports performance training options that can help athletes enhance performance, minimize injury risk, and take their game to the NEXT LEVEL. There is no better time than now to BECOME A CHAMPION!
Aviator Sports Performance and Rehabilitation is deeply rooted in the scientific study of human movement and the innovative integration of technology into practice, ultimately aiming to help patients, athletes/clients in maintaining healthy, fit lifestyles, reduce injury risk, and achieve higher levels of sports performance. Our highly trained staff (composed of Doctors of Physical Therapy, Certified Strength & Conditioning Specialists & Biomechanic Specialists) & state-of-the-art movement screening services can help identify any significant abnormal movement patterns or strength limitations, and work to provide our clients with a fully customized corrective action plan to mitigate injury risk and help improve performance.
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