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Spine and Posture Pitching Issues
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gauth25

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August 15, 2011 – 2:42 pm
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I've been researching alot of things lately on the shoulder over the last few years ever since I started getting problems. I've seen countless doctors, physiotherapists and chiropractors who had no idea how to properly fix my issues. It took me 4 years to finally find the proper doctor who assessed my issues and I believe that I am not the only one out there with this issue.

 

Many pitchers out there have horrible posture. I've started to pay more and more attention to this since I found out my issue. Alot of people have hunched over shoulders from working at the computer all day or just being slouched over. Many doctors recommend just strengthening the rhomboids and traps to help this but the main issue is the serratus anterior muscle being weakened.

 

In the video with Dylan Bundy doing the punching bag program, he is working the shoulder muscles and lats but the biggest muscle he is working is the serratus anterior muscle. This muscle is probably the biggest muscle when talking about the shoulder and throwing a ball. It helps raise the shoulder when throwing and leaves more room for the arm to properly glide through the shoulder girdle. When this muscle is weakened, it cannot pass through properly which thing causes impingement on the rotator cuff which can lead to tendinitis, inflammation, tears and in the long run more stress caused on the elbow because it is trying to compensate for the shoulder's weakness.

 

I feel that this is the biggest issue when it comes to pitcher's shoulders. I don't think enough trainers emphasis the training of this muscle and when pitchers continue to throw throughout the season, this muscle will wear down more and more leaving the arm at risk of injury.

 

You want to have your kids last longer and stay stronger? Start training this muscle.

I've gone through 4 years of pain because of not knowing how to properly fix my muscular imbalances and I will tell you, this is the biggest thing that needs to be corrected.

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Brent Pourciau USAW Certified
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August 15, 2011 – 10:36 pm
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gauth25, you make a exceptional point. A weak thoracic spine is a very common problem for most youth pitchers. I get tons of them coming through my program. I wish I could have helped you 4 years ago. I believe this was one of the reason for my rotator cuff tear at 18.

Most young pitchers who have weak thoracic spines throw sidearm and do not know why. They want to throw with more external internal rotation at shoulder height but they all experience the impingement issue. I tell them that if they can not develop the thoracic spine including the serratus anterior muscle then they will continue to feel the impingement which can lead to surgery. It is also a major problem with velocity. If you can not allow your arm to externally and internally rotate at shoulder height through your delivery then you will have a sidearm wiping action. This can be a 5-10mph difference in velocity.

The worst I have seen it was a young pitcher who came to one of my Velocity Camps in the summer was so hunched over because of the weak thoracic spine that when I asked him to touch his toes while keeping his back flat he almost feel over. My advise to him was to not focus on pitching or throwing at the present time and that he need to start the strength and conditioning program ASAP. The best lifts for strengthening the thoracic spine is the Olympic lifts especially the cleans. It will not be easy to perform these lifts with the weak spine but during the pulling phase of the lift it is ideal for strengthen this crucial area of the body.

I appreciate you bringing this point up, this is a very important point you made.

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gauth25

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August 15, 2011 – 10:39 pm
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It's pretty crazy how people are not told about this from doctors more. I was just reading the article on Bundy right now and I do do the inverted W when I throw. I'm 20 right now and for the past 4 years I've been getting impingement and my right shoulder is hunched over pretty badly. Well not nearly as bad as it used to. Funny thing is is that I can still throw at the ball in the upper 80s to 90 right now. My doctor told me the same thing. When it's working properly, I will gain quite a few mph on my fastball which is pretty exciting. He put me on a rehab programbut I was so busy with work I just couldn't find the energy to do it. It also took me a long time to finally feel the serratus working and know it's proper function when pitching and lifting.

I've read alot of thing on the Scap Pushup and pushup itself for targeted this muscle when done properly. Any other good ones besides the clean and press? I have tons of potential but this has been stopping me for along time from reaching my peak. I have 3 above average pitches as it is. Very very good change up and a sharp curveball. I'm 5'10, 175 lbs

I have a video of my throwing last week vs an older team. Is it possible for me to send it to you and have you take a look at my mechanics? I would really really appreciate it.

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structuredoc

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August 15, 2011 – 10:43 pm
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The actual mechanism of the shoulders hunching, poor posture, impingement, etc is not due to weak muscles, per se.  It is a loss of leverage of the overall structure of the body.  What goes wrong with bodies is a fairly simple, but not well understood, phenomenon – basically, bones shift in many directions and the body has the ability to correct the position of many of these shifts due to their muscular attachments.  However, there are no muscles that attach to the back of the spine to pull anterior (forward) shifted vertebrae straight posterior (backward).  Once a bone shifts anterior, it is stuck and the body must compensate to hold itself up better. 

 

An easy test to see if you have anterior vertebrae is to stand straight, take a deep breath in through your nose, blow it out through your mouth, relax, and let your body slump.  Notice how your body moves/shifts.  You may notice your body folding or bending somewhere in the thoracic spine; you may notice your head shift or bob forward away from the midline of your torso; you may notice your shoulders rounding or slumping forward; you may even notice your entire body leaning forward.  If this is the case, you have anterior shifts that are causing your body to breakdown – it has nothing to really do with muscles.  Think of it this way – if the foundation of your house were to shift, wouldn't it be reasonable to expect certain effects associated with this structural defect?  Things like the roof leaking, the floor boards creaking, the drywall cracking, the windows not opening and closing correctly, etc?  Same thing with the body – the body shifts enough in a direction in which it cannot self-correct and it does the best it can to hold itself up, yet this causes many recurring secondary conditions/effects/symptoms. 

 

The key is to find someone whose practice focuses on structural correction – not just muscle work but actual correction.  It is true the majority of chiropractors do NOT know how to do this; they just manipulate and shift things around (sort of hit or miss work).  Exercise can help sometimes but not consistently enough for it to be a trusted therapy or treatment.  More often than not, increasing strength just helps to compensate better (which isn't necessarily a bad thing – it just doesn't actually really correct things).

 

I'd be happy to share more on this subject if anyone wishes!

 

Dr. Stu

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gauth25

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August 15, 2011 – 10:44 pm
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I don't have that problem when doing the test. I saw a doctor in London which is one of the best sports physio places in Canada when it comes to shoulder issues and he told me it's a matter of my motor functions. I've been trying to hold my scapula back and down for so long that the down rotators became too strong so when I throw, they shoulder cannot pass through the acromion properly due to the smaller space, therefore causing the impingement. I definitely have seen improvement since I started doing the rehab exercises. I was slacking at them for awhile do to working 65+ hours a week while trying to still play ball and lift. At the start of the rehab, I still didn't understand how to properly do the serratus exercises and it wouldn't get sore but now I can fully feel it working so it's a good step in my mind.

He told me rhomboid and pec minor were strong. Lower, upper and serratus were weak and couldn't function properly when doing anything overhead.

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Brent Pourciau USAW Certified
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August 15, 2011 – 10:56 pm
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gauth25 please post your video for analysis here https://topvelocity.net/forum/m…..-analysis/. I will put together an analysis for you.

I moved this topic to start a new thread because this is an important issue. Dr. Stu would love if you could give us some more info on this topic. Thanks for your input!

I just spoke with a friend of mine who is a Health Care consultant and a Chiropractic Doctor. He too feels most Chiropractics only shift things around but he said their are some doing exception work on issue like we are discussing here. He sent me this link to the Pettibon Institute which all of its research and contributions into the medical field are on the spine. Here is information from their site describing their Pettitbon System to help correct the spines alignment issues. http://www.pettiboninstitute.o…..actice.php

The institute believes that the nervous system controls the alignment so they use weights to stimulate the nervous system to make a correctional adjustment. I feel this is what certain types of weight training is doing as well. I would like to hear both of your thoughts.

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gauth25

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August 16, 2011 – 12:38 pm
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Uploading videos of me now. Will be under Tyler Gauthier in the forum posted. If they aren't long enough, I will have my dad tape me this coming Friday during our National tournament.

 

I definitely think it is just a muscular weakness. When I was younger, I decided to be an idiot and go for a beach body look and only train chest and arms while neglecting the back. This, combined with over pitching, let to tendinitis and two almost surgeries which I was lucky to not have done. My right side is definitely worse than my left when it comes to the scapular positioning. My right side just doesn't feel as supported and it definitely shows in the video as you can see me constantly toying with it. It took me awhile to finally realize to get the serratus working, you need to squeeze the traps per se into holding it tight against the spine. When I do this, it feel much more supported and the muscles feel like they are being worked.

 

Do you think if this imbalance is corrected, will I gained mph on my fastball when the shoulder can properly rotate?

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Brent Pourciau USAW Certified
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August 16, 2011 – 12:47 pm
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Let me first look at your video and do an analysis before I tell you what I believe your potential is when it comes to velocity.

I would highly recommend that you get on a program like the 3X Pitching Velocity program because it really sounds like you are not on a good strength and conditioning program. Also checkout my Velocity camps because we go through the entire program and Saturday is dedicated to the entire strength and conditioning program where I can work with you personally on how to deal with your back issues.

https://topvelocity.net/3x-pitc…..louisiana/

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