“My arm hurts!”
As the parent of a little leaguer, this is the last thing you want to hear. The remedy? That depends on whom you talk to. The coach says, “Shake it off”. The family doctor says “rest”. The physical therapist says, “take elastic tubing and do this” (enter your best John Travolta Saturday Night Fever rendition). The new-age family friend blames it on the gluten.
Oh gluten, why do you ruin EVERYTHING?
In reality, there are a few common reasons why kids of all ages are suffering shoulder and arm injuries. While there is no “one size fits all” approach to preventing and treating these injuries, there are some strategies to decrease their likelihood.
Below are 3 great strategies to use with your youngster to prevent shoulder injuries and keep them playing at their best.
1. Improve general and specific strength
Can your child do a lunge? How about a pull-up or grip hang? A correct push-up or plank? Strength for throwing is a chain from the feet to the fingertips. Any breaks in this chain negatively affect throwing velocity, mechanics, etc.
At Fitness Quest 10 we work with a lot of throwing athletes from youngsters to professionals. Both strength specific to throwing, as well as general overall strength bears an impact on arm health and performance. To quote strength coach Mark Rippetoe, “General strength is the glass. Specific strength is the water in the glass”. Your general strength can limit your specific strength. Both are important and neither can be ignored.
For specific strength for throwing, check out Todd Durkin’s “Core and Cuff” program (Click Here). I like this program because Todd shows you exactly what he has done to keep throwing athletes like Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers healthy and on top of their game. There are hundreds of exercises that can be employed at any level.
There is not anything else out there quite like it and I’d go as far as to say if you’re a trainer that works with throwing athletes, this info is a must. If you are a parent of a throwing athlete it’s an opportunity to learn what you could be doing right at home to help your child.
Core and Cuff actually goes on sale today online, so for the next week you get all kinds of free videos, etc. with it. I’d recommend taking advantage of the free stuff!
To check out all the free stuff (starting today), CLICK HERE.
For general strength, take a basic approach and master the following exercises:
General Strength 1: [youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BSIoS6H2ds&list=UURAEwGKvzLdr–FmLdgDrwA&index=12″ title=”Lower%20Body”]
General Strength 2: [youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRs-OLJQTJU” title=”Upper%20Body”]
General Strength 3: [youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rUioxzOHaY ” title=”Upper%20Body”]
2. Review throwing mechanics!
Just because a youngster “throws hard” does not mean they do it correctly. Many of the overzealous compensations they can make put inappropriate loads on joints, tendons, and ligaments. Some great online resources are Paul Reddick (click here) and Tom House (click here).
3. Follow an organized throwing program.
The pro pitchers I work with have a saying, “This arm’s only got so many bullets. I use them carefully”. In other words, a throwing athlete at any age can’t just throw as hard as they can all year long.
Unfortunately with year-round leagues, young throwing athletes end up doing just that. All throwing athletes should take time of the year to “shut down”. They can still throw footballs, Frisbees, and do other recreational activities, but no sport-specific throwing. When it’s time to throw again, they need a plan to “ramp up”.
The cycle can be repeated over the course of the year.
One of the best baseball strength coaches in the business, Erik Cressey, writes a lot about throwing programs for young athletes. Check out his website at www.ericcressey.com.
Before you hear “My arm hurts” again, make sure to be proactive and head the advice above.
Let’s work together to create happy, healthy, pain-free adults.
Author- The Underground Workout Manual- Exercise and Fat Loss in the Real World