Fortunately, after a long, cold and snowy winter, baseball and softball season are beginning. However, in order to enjoy the sights, sounds and gameplay at the ballpark, it is important to maintain your shoulder and elbow health.
Throwing is one of the most demanding acts in all of sport. According to Garret (2000), “The acceleration phase of throwing is the fastest motion recorded in human history and can exceed 7000 degrees/sec” (p. 712). As you can imagine, this type of speed and rapid force production can potentially damage structures throughout the shoulder girdle and elbow. Not only is the acceleration phase very demanding, but the muscles that decelerate the arm are under great stress as well. Although most of us can not throw with the type of force described above, it simply serves as a reminder of how stressful throwing can be to the body.
By adhering to some practical advice and a few shoulder strengthening exercises, we can reduce the risk of injury to both the shoulder and the elbow. Here are some tips you can follow to help reduce the risk of injury to yourself and your loved ones.
The Thrower’s Ten Exercise Program is a proven way to strengthen the shoulder girdle and prevent injury. As always, it is important to consult your physician prior to beginning any exercise program. If any of the exercises cause pain, discontinue the exercise and seek medical advice from a physician or qualified Physical Therapist. If pain is present while throwing, it is wise to have it looked at sooner rather than later. Pain can be indicative of poor mechanics or even pathology in the shoulder or elbow. By treating the pain, you will improve the bio-mechanics of the shoulder, improve performance, and enjoy playing the game that you love.