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Developing a strong throwing shoulder

With Summer in full swing, many young athletes are participating in off-season sports and recreational activities that involve overhead throwing (baseball and football) and hitting (tennis and volleyball) motions, which can place the shoulder at a biomechanical disadvantage – with a higher risk to creating shoulder imbalances or increasing injury risk.

Scapula Stabilization is critical to the development of not only a strong shoulder, but also one that has a reduced chance of needless injury. says, “the scapula is commonly referred to as the shoulder blade. It connects the humerus bone of the arm to the collarbone.”

Three muscles, notes the website, are primarily responsible for enabling the movement of the shoulder blade. Trapezius controls head and shoulder movement; Levator Scapula permits pulling / shrugging movements; and, Rhomboids, which assist in raising the shoulder blades and backward movement.

The key to enhanced performance in the shoulder is, if you throw forward, then train in reverse. The normal movement of the “archer” – pulling the bow back to fire the arrow at a target – is an ideal movement to develop a strong scapula – preceded by horizontal abducted (away from the midline of the body) rowing.

Horizontal Abducted Row
Grasp a light rubber tube with or without handles. Secure the tubing at midpoint to a fixed object. Face the anchored tube. Extend the arms toward the fix object. Then, retract the shoulder blades, as you pull the arm back to a 90-degre angle just below shoulder height (80-degrees). Repeat 10-15 times.

Bow & Arrow
Setting up as an archer would on a target – with the feet in a spread, lunge position and the upper torso rotated to one side, hold one end of the fixed tube – the bow – while the other hand pulls the cord back in a cocking motion. Hold for a 2 count and return to the starting position. Repeat 10-15 times. Perform on other side.

Remember, you should always consult your physician before beginning any exercise, diet, or nutritional supplementation program.

Mackie and April share exercises every Wednesday on WWL-TV

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