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Why Squatting Will Not Help You Throw Harder From The Mound

Let me take you on a journey through the biomechanics of pitching. Most people understand that power comes from the lower half when throwing a baseball. So, what workouts do you do for the lower half — Squats, deadlifts or leg presses? Many would argue that these exercises are unnecessary if you are trying to gain velocity when throwing a baseball. What if you have chronic neck and back pain? What do you do then? With this being said, these exercises are very important for overall function and hormonal response, however, they are not going to make you throw harder.

Let’s start with the leg kick. The point of a leg kick is to allow time to pass as forward momentum is being built. Arm separation has had time to occur while the leg has come down. As the front leg extends toward home, this is where the most important pitching motion happens. Most of your power comes from how quickly you can rotate your pelvis toward home plate. As your front leg comes down, you create external rotation of both legs. Just before the front foot hits the ground, relative internal rotation occurs in both legs. The front leg uses internal rotation to rotate the pelvis toward home plate, while the back leg maintains internal rotation to translate centripetal force toward home plate.

Let’s move up the chain.

This quick and powerful rotation of the pelvis induces a stretch on the anterior oblique muscular sling. This is comprised of internal obliques on the glove side, and external obliques on the throwing arm side. Pectoralis major, biceps long head and flexor digitorum superficialis on the throwing arm side has induced stretch through the centripetal force as well. Picture a slingshot being cocked back. Just like the sling, the muscles are now being stretched.

The key to understanding biomechanics is that simple leg workouts will not help you or your athlete gain velocity. The questions you need to be asking are: How do I train power and speed behind hip internal rotation? How do I train comfortably in internal rotation on the stance leg? How do I train my core to be able to transfer load from my lower extremity to my upper extremity?

The dissonance between training and games needs to be closed. At Rehab Docs, we take a special interest in biomechanics of athletes because we understand how devastating injuries can be, especially those that could have been avoided.

The Rehab Docs understand how important it is to build strength, power and speed off of foundational movements of each sport. Don’t waste your time and energy training inefficiently. Different sports require different types of training to make sure you are maximizing your potential and limiting your risk of injury.

Give us a call today to discover your tailored chiropractic treatment plan!

 

Common Faulty Movement Patterns Involving The Low Back

As we have said in multiple other posts, pain is a warning sign. Low back pain is no exception. It tells us that something is not quite right. Many have likened the prevalence of low back pain to an epidemic. Why the sudden increase in low back pain?? There are many speculations as to the reason and ways to prevent. Here is my take:

We all know that America is only getting more technologically advanced. This is great except for the people who have jobs working primarily with technology. Technology has advanced the human experience dramatically in terms of mental stimulation. Physically the opposite is true, for the most part.

The sedentary lifestyle that has evolved is inevitable. Being in any position for a prolonged period of time forces adaptation to the position. One of life’s greatest gifts, adaptation, can also be a huge downfall for a human body. The process of adaptation usually only has efficiency in mind. This may be efficiency of mating, day-to-day operations, catching prey, survival, etc. Immediate efficiency does not take into account long term effects.

Technology has allowed for a more sedentary lifestyle. This has forced advantageous adaptations to facilitate this sedentary lifestyle. We are then very efficient at sitting at a desk, but then do not perform as well when we enter weekend warrior mode.

The adaptation that, in my opinion, caused this epidemic of low back pain is the lack of a stable core. A sedentary lifestyle influences increased tone in the same muscles that act as accessory inspiratory muscles. These muscles include pectoralis major and minor, sternocleidomastoid, serratus anterior and scalenes. Because of the increased tone and neurological sensitivity to these muscles, they are much more active in inspiration at rest. If our secondary respiration muscles become dominate (because of adaptation) we do not have to rely on our primary inspiration muscles to handle its full load. This means less contraction of the diaphragm and intercostals. If we cannot get into full contraction of our diaphragm, we cannot create the necessary intra-abdominal pressure to stabilize our core. Let’s talk about what a stable core means.

Most of us do not have a stable core, not only because of this adaptation to our prolonged positions, but because we don’t know what a stable core means anymore. A stable core is not a six pack. A stable core looks more like a baby’s belly. Can you picture that cute gut hanging over the diaper? We've added a picture above for reference. A baby is able to use descension of the diaphragm and eccentric tone of transversus abdominis and obliques to create intra-abdominal pressure to stabilize in a variety of positions. Ideal stabilization of your core should look more like the inflation of a balloon within your stomach. Rectus abdominis (our six pack muscles) and erectors (big muscles on either side of the spine running all the way up) on the other hand, only stabilizes us in the sagittal plane of motion, or front to back. If this compensation resides, we are then at a loss of stabilization in rotation, lateral flexion, and anywhere in between. Not only are we at a lack of stabilization with this compensation, we are in a strategy that increases compression on the lumbar spine, which means the discs and other associated joints.

Being able to stabilize the low back with use of intra-abdominal pressure allows us to create a sphere of stabilization. This allows us to not only use our limbs off of stability, but also transfer load from lower extremity to upper extremity. For this reason, creation of intra-abdominal pressure is massively important to weekend warriors and athletes alike.

Everyone hears about how important the core is to a healthy back and function. How many of you knew the correct way to stabilize your core? Lets try a test. Put one hand on your chest and one on your belly button. Take a big, deep breath in. What did you notice? Want to know ideal? Ideally, the top hand should not move at all and the bottom hand should be moving out with each deep breath in. Being able to create intra-abdominal pressure is the key. Being able to do this during functional movements takes stress and abuse off of the low back by relieving the compensating structures.

If you want to exit low back pain, limit future risk of low back pain, or maximize potential, this is a great place to start.

This site does not represent individualized professional medical advice. Please seek medical attention for any concerns regarding your personal health. Do not avoid, delay, disregard professional medical advice, or delay seeking it because of something you read on this site. If you want to be evaluated and receive personalized treatment, please call the office or send us an email.

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