Did you get a new puppy for Christmas and you need to start throwing balls or sticks for it … can there be a problem doing something this simple? If all you do all day is sit at a desk – maybe you should think about how you are going do so without hurting yourself.
If you reach behind you to throw something as hard as you can, if your pects are tight from sitting at a desk all day then when you try to throw, you will actually twist your low back in order to achieve the amount of stretch backwards of your arm to maximise your throw.
How many times will you do this before your low back gives you pain? This of course depends on how strong your low back is to start with. If you already have a weakness there then repeated twisting will obviously irritate it sooner than later. The better core strength you have, as for any activity, the less you will twist in one spot and the less likely you are to irritate your back.
To throw efficiently, however, you also need to LENGTHEN your pectoralis muscle that links your upper arm to your breast bone – your PECTS. Then you will not need to twist your back when you aim for a long throw.
HOW BEST TO DO THIS?
To train flexibility you need to approach it correctly – not just swing your arm behind you in the hope that you will improve your ‘flexibility’.
The best way to improve elasticity in a muscle is to:
1) Extend the arm as far as possible but passively – which means without any effort. Hold onto a wall behind you with your hand and allow your arm to stretch, while keeping the muscle as relaxed as possible.
2) After a few seconds of stretching, contract the muscle for 6 seconds by pushing against the wall with your hand but do not allow any movement to occur at the shoulder joint.
3) Relax the muscles again for 2 – 4 seconds then passively stretch the muscle again.
4) Repeat the passive stretch then relaxation then contraction three times.
By the end of this series of stretches and contractions, you will be able to extend your arm behind you further than you could before without twisting your back.
You also need to keep your core strong – call in to see us or check that you are doing the exercise correctly next time you come in to see one of us at the Avenue Clinic.
Next time I will advise you on how you can safely run after this new puppy!