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How to build a BULLETPROOF shoulder and to throw ROCKETS

Throwing is a basic physical literacy skill that we all should have learn as a child growing up whether it be overhand, underhand; or even sidearm. This should have been learnt instinctively. 

As we grow up and get into throwing sports, additional steps are needed to be taken in order to protect ourselves and to increase our performance. In this article, we will break down steps for you to PROTECT your shoulder and how to throw even harder. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond on tips to improve shoulder health. 

Mobility work 

The number one way to injure your shoulder, or any joint, is to push it past what is allowed. Once you strain that joint past its acceptable range of motion, other parts of the joint will compensate or it will give out. 

Key point here: mobility work is not the same as flexibility training. Both are NOT the same! Flexibility (or stretching) is simply increasing the range of motion of a specific joint. Mobility work is moving and increasing a specific joint under TENSION. Using tension through the range of motion, the body is able to learn what it can handle within its safe range of motion. This is highly transferable to sports because the joints are under what’s called “shear force”. This is when forces are pushing one body part is pushed one way and another body part pushed another way. Think about winding for a throw, then suddenly you are whipping your arm forward. 

When working your mobility, keep the surrounding muscles under tension as you move throughout the joint. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond on mobility tips in the shoulder. 

Stability work 

There is no strength/power without stability. And there is definitely going to be injuries without stability. The idea of stability training is to increase the amount of stableness while we are challenging the joint. For example, we will ask the athlete the hold a specific joint position while we cause perturbation (distraction) around the body. The task of the athlete is to train the stability in that joint, using tension, while other parts of the body is stressed. 

With the shoulder joint there are multiple ways to train stability. Because the joint is a ball-and-socket joint, we need to make sure we tackle it in multiple angles. For example, we can have the athlete hold a position with their arm in front, out on the side or even overhead. Stability and mobility training go hand-in-hand. The reason for this is because stability training will improve the tension within the joint; whereas mobility training will increase the joint space. You will have more tension with more joint space; win-win. Ask your personal trainer in Richmond on stability work specific for the shoulder. 

Transfer of weight 

Now we are getting into the mechanics of throwing. Many people believe that for a strong throw to happen, we need a strong shoulder. Although that is correct to a degree, most of the throw happens in the legs. It is a transfer of force. Let me explain. 

The throw starts from the ground. The back leg pushes from the ground into the trunk. The body is twisted and curled up, and collects its potential energy. The back leg then pushes the bodyweight onto the front leg as the body moves forward. The energy travels up the body, to the shoulder, down the arm and into the hand. The wrist explosively whips the ball (or whatever you are throwing) ahead of you as you plank your front leg down. 

The force is really going into two places: the ground and the object you are throwing.  

To train this, you will need to utilize the variations of a lunge. The lunge is a great exercise to work on weight transfer because you are stepping from point A to point B under tension. Something critical to work on here is to decelerate your body as you lunge. 

Key point here: you can only move as fast as you can decelerate it. 

In other words, the faster you can stop a movement, the faster you will be able to move it. 

Until next time, 

Coach Marco