Written By Duggan Moran, Crossover Symmetry President & Founder
The baseball season is in full swing and many players are facing the frustrating characteristics of “Dead Arm.” A month ago you were throwing in the mid-to high 80’s and now you are struggling to touch 80mph. “What happened? What is wrong with my arm?”
"Dead Arm" is truly one of baseball’s biggest mysteries and can affect both pitchers and position players. The symptoms of dead arm can be associated with and without pain but the defining characteristic is a drop in throwing velocity of between 3-8 mph. Many players think their arm is injured and get an MRI only to find out that there is no structural damage. So what is going on with these arms that have no obvious structural damage?
Classic “Dead Arm” is usually caused from one or a combination of the following conditions:
1. Rotator cuff muscles are deconditioned or fatigued.
The function of the rotator cuff muscles is to stabilize the humeral head (ball) in the glenoid (socket) When these vital muscles are deconditioned or fatigued they are rendered ineffective in offering dynamic stability during high velocity throwing. This loss of stability is enough to allow the humeral head to migrate superiorly (move up in the socket), causing impingement of the rotator cuff tendons, and or superior labrum.
2. Scapular dyskinesis
Scapular dyskinesis is an alteration in the normal position and motion of the scapula (shoulder blade). The scapula and the arm move in rhythm with each other. When the scapular stabilizing muscles are not functioning correctly, it not only affects the stability of the shoulder, but it also reduces the transfer of energy from the trunk to the arm, thus reducing throwing velocity. This is why we call the "scap" the weak link in the kinetic chain for throwing athletes.
3. Tight posterior shoulder.
The posterior cuff muscles can tighten due to the repetitive micro-trauma that occurs during the decelerating phase of the throwing motion. A tight posterior cuff is one of the main contributors to GIRD (glenohumeral internal rotation deficit) which increases the risk of injury unless proactively managed with a targeted stretching routine.
The three conditions that contribute to Dead Arm can be addressed with the Crossover Symmetry System. The CS System strengthens the rotator cuff and scapular muscles in a structured program that can be completed on the field in less than 5 minutes. This system includes two DVD's, training booklet, and a workout chart that hangs on the chain link fence to ensure the exercises are completed correctly. The posterior cuff stretching routine can be viewed in the "Baseball Specific Stretching, Part II" article at www.gocrossover.com. Don’t let “Dead Arm” affect your performance this season. Be proactive and use the same system trusted by over half of Major League Baseball Organizations and 75% of Major D-1 Universities.