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How Do You Increase Arm Strength?

How do you build arm strength? .
Throwing is a fast powerful movement. It’s actually the fastest most dangerous move in sport. The thing is most high school and college pitchers don’t have the body frame to produce high velocity. The way to increase velocity is by building a foundation of strength that will allow the athlete to transfer a high amount of force into the throw. The force transfer starts from the floor, works its way to the trunk and finally goes to the arm, down the elbow and then to release. If there is any lack of strength in the kinetic chain, power will not transfer or will not be created.
⬆️force=⬆️Velocity .

This means that throwing more will not increase arm STRENGTH. Throwing more will increase endurance and condition a throwers arm. If throwing more made your arm stronger, then why aren’t guys getting stronger throughout a season? Why do they have more arm problems as they throw more?
Throwing more will increase the condition of your arm, increases muscular endurance, and create more efficient throwing patterns. .
Strength is the foundation of all things in sport. If you want to be powerful you need to have foundational strength and if you want to have endurance you need strength. Strength allows for muscular control and durability. There are different kinds of strength that your body needs. Absolute strength, strength speed, speed strength and last power. You can’t have any of those traits with out strength. .
Some guidelines before implementing our weighted ball programs: the athlete needs to be STRONG!

Inspired by Josh Heenan’s 90mph formula
-deadlift (2.5x’s BW)
-reverse lunges (Desired BW)
-eccentric chin up (10 second count)
-farmers carry (shows core stability and grip strength) .
Once the athlete can show they are strong we can implement the power component. Dominate the Sagittal plane first and we will add transverse planes.

The average weight of a pitcher that throws 90+ is 205lbs. Not all weight is created equal however. Lean mass is more important than fat mass. If you want to allow your body to throw as hard as it will allow you, you will need to increase your strength. .
Strength is and always will be King!

Still Using the Sleeper Stretch?

Sleeper stretch?

To do the sleeper stretch or not?? This has become one of the most controversial exercises when dealing with baseball players. Is it safe? When should I do it? Do I do it everyday? These among many other questions have become the topic of conversation especially with baseball season upon us.
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Am I am not an advocate for my athletes to perform this stretch.. in most, if not all cases, this is something I DONT have them doing. What is this stretch trying to achieve.. regaining internal rotation (IR) of the glenohumeral joint. But is it safe to do and are there other ways to achieve this without putting the athlete at risk? Absolutely!
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Why don’t I like the sleeper stretch for many of my athletes is that your stressing the shoulder more than it already is going through. Most baseball players are long tossing and throwing pens or just playing catch as it is, this is stressing the anterior part of the shoulder every time. As you’re performing the sleeper stretch you are jamming the humoral head of he arm straight forward into the joint. In other words you are loosening and already loose anterior shoulder capsule. Wouldn’t you want to protect the anterior part if your already stressing it throwing a baseball.
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What do I do instead of the sleeper stretch to avoid this problem? To regain IR of the shoulder we like to do manual therapy of the internal rotators of the shoulder and activate or strengthen the posterior part of the shoulder to avoid this anterior humoral drive if the GH joint. Also performing wall slides, prone trap raises, diffident variations of rows and strengthening of the anterior core to help keep the scap in the proper position on the rib cage to be able to upward rotate.
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Is there a time and a place for the sleeper stretch… absolutely! Most of the time we will do this when an athlete is coming back from surgery and the shoulder capsule is locked up and there’s a need to help get the joint to open up. But this is about the only time I would recommend the sleeper stretch.

Is your Performance Lacking?

Shoulder pain can be caused by many reasons in throwers. Let’s be honest, throwing a baseball is not the most healthy motion for your body. Three problems we see often that we coaches need to address when working with this population are…
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-biceps tendinitis -scapular dyskinesis
-internal impingement .
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-Bicep tendinitis is inflation of the biceps tendon due to anterior and/or superior humeral gliding. Pain may be felt in the anterior portion of the shoulder or down the long head of the bicep. .
-Abnormal movement of the Scapula is known as scapula dyskinesis. Delayed scap movement, improper positioning, or over dominant muscles can be a cause.
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-internal impingement is primarily only seen in over head athletes. Mostly seen in back of the shoulder in the lay back position. Mostly felt with pinching on the posterior-superior part of the glenoid. .
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All three issues we see can be related and more than likely occur from: -Poor posture, poor dynamic/static posture will result in insufficient movement. Joint placement dictates muscles function. Most of the time it starts with the rib cage. How does the scap sit on the rib cage? The scap can not move freely if the rib cage is altered. The scapulohumeral rhythm may be delayed. Athlete gains external rotation through their lower back vs gaining true ER in GH Joint. .
-Is there structural damage to the joint?
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-Poor tissue quality?
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-lack of mobility creating relative stiffness? .
-Poor exercise choice, programming can either fix an issue or cause an issue. If you can train to get better, you can definitely train to get worse. Yes, you can train to get worse. All movement is not good movement. All exercise prescription is not smart prescription. .
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How can we fix these issues? .
-first, get an initial assessment done by a professional
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-second, get on a program that will address your deficiencies that you may have. No athlete is the same. No shoulder is the same. .
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Shoulder Pain?

Shoulder pain can be caused by many reasons in throwers. Let’s be honest, throwing a baseball is not the most healthy motion for your body. Three problems we see often that we coaches need to address when working with this population are…
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-biceps tendinitis
-scapular dyskinesis
-internal impingement
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-Bicep tendinitis is inflation of the biceps tendon due to anterior and/or superior humeral gliding. Pain may be felt in the anterior portion of the shoulder or down the long head of the bicep.
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-Abnormal movement of the Scapula is known as scapula dyskinesis. Delayed scap movement, improper positioning, or over dominant muscles can be a cause.
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-internal impingement is primarily only seen in over head athletes. Mostly seen in back of the shoulder in the lay back position. Mostly felt with pinching on the posterior-superior part of the glenoid.
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All three issues we see can be related and more than likely occur from:

-Poor posture, poor dynamic/static posture will result in insufficient movement. Joint placement dictates muscles function. Most of the time it starts with the rib cage. How does the scap sit on the rib cage? The scap can not move freely if the rib cage is altered. The scapulohumeral rhythm may be delayed. Athlete gains external rotation through their lower back vs gaining true ER in GH Joint.
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-Is there structural damage to the joint?
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-Poor tissue quality?
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-lack of mobility creating relative stiffness?
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-Poor exercise choice, programming can either fix an issue or cause an issue. If you can train to get better, you can definitely train to get worse. Yes, you can train to get worse. All movement is not good movement. All exercise prescription is not smart prescription.
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How can we fix these issues?
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-first, get an initial assessment done by a professional
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-second, get on a program that will address your deficiencies that you may have. No athlete is the same. No shoulder is the same.

A Reflection on the Past 7 Years

A Reflection on the Past 7 Years

Today Push Performance is 7 years old and it has been a crazy ride so far.

It all started in 2011 when I lost a job where I was training a few clients. Reasonably so, my wife Ashley was worried. We were getting married in a few months and had just signed a lease for our first apartment, but I reassured her that everything would be just fine. It would be fine because I had a vision, and I knew how to make this vision a reality.

I looked into places I could train my very limited clientele. I found a location that didn’t charge much. This place had zero culture and zero vision. I was training and trying to create a culture with my clients. The majority of clients were adults. Zero athletes. When I say majority, after a year I had built a small one on one client base of 5. I would not change that for the world. Still not satisfied, I knew there could be more. I was already working 4:30am to 9pm, six to seven days a week. Not training but learning, marketing, building relationships and forming a vision. If it was not for the adult population I had and still have to this day we would not be where we are today.
Each client said they would help in opening a facility, funding, setting up, etc. I found a business partner and he sold me the world. It lasted a year. His vision was not my vision, once again there was no culture. Failure after failure, getting sued, stressing and wanting to quit. I was learning. I was learning exactly what I needed to do.

Four years ago we opened our facility we are currently in. We had 5 athletes (you know who you are) the OG’s of Push Performance . Had 80% adult clients, of which everyone is still with us today. Adapting to a semi-private training model, those adults being a role model for each kid that walks through the doors. I can’t thank you enough for what you guys have done for Push Performance.

In the two past years we went from 1 or 2 coaches, including my self, to 5. We have gone from 5 or 6 baseball players to over 100.
This is not possible with out all the people that have been apart of the culture. You can see our culture, hear about our culture but you need to feel our culture to truly understand what we have. It is special. Our family is special. I am so thankful for our coaches, friends and athletes. Getting to this point has been anything but easy. Embracing the process and not the result and learning what patience really means have been huge keys in the success of building our brand. Along the way we have made many mistakes, that have helped mold us to who we are.

This has been the best seven years of my life hands down. Marrying my amazing wife, meeting my best friends, having the chance to wear gym clothes every day (mostly Lulu), buying, selling and buying houses, having two boys and gaining unbelievable opportunities.
Thank you to everyone. Let’s keep the momentum.

Things we see to be a problem in baseball

Amateur and professional athletes have recently seen a dramatic increase in arm injuries. How can we decrease the risk of this happening? At Push Performance, we are constantly evaluating arms and assessing athletes, while providing information to each person that trains at our facility. We are the only baseball specific strength training facility in the state of Colorado, which allows us to focus on the underserved population of baseball players and their strength programs. Each athlete is on their own 100% customized strength, arm care, and throwing programs.

What have we seen with arm care issues increasing? First, coaches, players, and even trainers do not know what proper movement or throwing patterns look like. How can coaches adjust or alter someone’s movements when we don’t know the why or what a true clean movement looks like? Arm care is not just addressing the arm; it is cleaning up total body movements.
A great arm care or body care program will not prevent injuries. There is no such thing as injury prevention, but we can reduce the risk of injuries. How can we reduce injuries? Let’s be honest, not all athletes are training like they should. What do we do about it? Look at it this way, your body is your bank account, if you have more withdrawals (Games, tournaments, showcases) in your bank account than you do deposits (exercise program, arm care, recovery, rest) you will go broke (injury).

The biggest injury problem we see is primarily due to players throwing year around. The player thinks they will develop or increase their arm strength, but, this is far from the truth. Throwing more will not increase your arm strength; getting stronger will. Rest is vital. For starters, the more you throw, the more instability you cause in your arm. Time off away from baseball and proper strength training will allow the athlete to regain stability in their arm. Even during a rest period, we can still work range of motion in the arm through different manual soft tissue work. Second, the athlete needs to work on scapular stability and control. The scapula not being stable and positioned properly on the thorax (rib cage) will not allow proper muscle function. Joint placement dictates muscle function. Moreover, the scapula being delayed when throwing is a major precursor to injury. Usually the scapula becomes delayed because it is depressed. This happens for many reasons but over throwing usually will create the latissimus dorsi to become tight and short. The latissimus dorsi will then depress the scapula. This is where regaining range of motion is important. Our goal is to properly educate each thrower how to work to fix these issues.

The second biggest issue goes hand in hand with the first. Players are sold on playing more, and throwing more, because they need to “be seen”. We tell our guys, at Push Performance, to focus on development. Not the exposure. The average player is not ready to be seen. Most showcases and teams realistically only have one or two players that are ready to be showcased. Unfortunately, the rest of the team is footing the bill for those players and we see time and time again those showcase ready players are getting a “scholarship” on the team and not even paying. It is sad to see the players that are ready are being used as selling points. “Name dropped” to get other families to pay for the team / showcase, even though that developing player isn’t ready. With that said, not all exposure events are bad. We believe in and love to work with Prep Baseball Report, because they are independent scouting service and do a great job.

First thing first, you need to past the eye test. Look the part. Then, DEVELOP into someone that everyone wants to come and see! Make them come to you. Lift heavy weight, crush food, dominate sleep and recovery. If you do these things correctly, good things will happen. You don’t need to play year around, or go to every showcase. For the sake of your arm and your career, take time off and develop your body and compliment that with skill work. When you are ready to be “seen,” have a plan, and then execute it. If your plan revolves solely around being “seen”, that is making your strategy revolved around HOPE. Hope is never a good strategy in anything in life. Invest in your development, not hope or exposure. Put a bet on yourself and be the best athlete you can be, then the exposure takes care of itself.
Thank you for reading and if you have any questions for us, or about the information in this article, reach out to us directly at info@pushperformanceco.com or 303.801.9992.

Static Stretching, Good or Bad?

Is static stretching bad for you?

Static stretching has been the topic of conversation for a long time. Is it good? Is it bad? Everyone has been on the field or court and the coach immediately say so stretch to warm up. But do the athletes really know what to do to warm up? Coaches and athletes need to know what to do to warm up and cool down. The warm up and cool down may be just as important as the lift or game itself. It is preparing the body for whats to come. So wouldn’t it be right to get the muscles activated before and shut down after? Sounds simple but its not being done within all sports or the weight room. Turning off a muscle activates the parasympathetic nervous system instead of the sympathic nervous system. This are commonly known as rest and digest and the fight or flight nervous systems. Parasympathic is the start of the recovery process and sympathic get the muscle activate and read for use. So prior to an activity you want that sympathic nervous system primed and ready to go.

Before any competition or weight room session it is important to get the mind and body connected to make sure the muscles are being activated. If the mind isn’t connected then the chance for injury goes up. Static stretching is the opposite. Static stretching turns “off” mind and muscle connection and the muscle now becomes less optimal for use. Baseball players for example are notorious for stretching the arm across the body thinking that this is good for the shoulder before throwing. But what is really happening? Stretching the arm across the body is actually shutting down the posterior side of the shoulder causing the shoulder to become inactive and more unstable. Baseball players and any over head athlete already tend to have a lose and unstable shoulder anyways so your just adding to it. Now you want to use the arm to throw a ball or wight object. This is a recipe for injury. So what should you do instead? Active the muscles of the shoulder more importantly the posterior cuff and rotator cuff muscles. J bands or cross over bands are great for this.

This goes for any muscle group in the body, lower and upper. If you statically stretch the lower body and now try to run, your trying to use muscles that aren’t activate for that exercise. The simple solution, activate at the beginning. Have a routine in place that you do everytime to insure all muscles are primed and ready to go. Get is all planes. Start simple and progressively get more specific to the activity about to ensue. Get the mind and body connected before you do any time of physical activity. If you want to to activate the quad for instance do a walking quad “stretch” and walk as you go and don’t hold the quad in a stretch position for a extended period of time.
So when is it ok to static stretch? I am a firm believer in statically stretching post exercise or activity. Like I stated before this will now activate the parasympathetic nervous system and allow the recovery process to begin. Though I am still not a big fan of stretching joints that are already lose and unstable like the shoulder. Pre and post band work for posterior cuff strength and endurance would be my go to. Simply activate the body before and shut down after to help reduce the chance for injury and if you like to statically stretch do it post exercise or event and never before.

Chris Adams

Push Performance

Importance of Assessments and Individual Programming – DJ Edwards

Importance of Assessments and Individual Programming – DJ Edwards

One thing I believe that truly allows us to have success, along with our culture in the facility, is how thorough we are in our assessments and our programming. Most training programs we see from the outside are a cookie cutter one size fits all program. Usually the program looks like this: Athlete walks in the door, signs a waiver, and with no assessment the coach tells them to warm up with the group. Away they go with a preprogrammed workout. More than likely it will be a mixture of athletes that all have different needs. A great mentor in business said “customize to dominate”. This is our goal. You can go anywhere within a 5 mile radius and find 15 plus gyms or sports performance facilities. If we want to be the best, we need to deliver the best.

In some cases, GPP and basic sprint mechanic work a one size fits all program would work fine, but a strength program needs will be different. This is why we start with a thorough assessment. We need to see the deficiencies and strengths of each athlete before we build them their 100% customized program. Our programs are not shiny or anything special. We stick to our core lifts, which are determined by the assessment on what the athlete is able to do. Where we get really personalized is in our mobility exercises.

In any program if you’re not assessing, you are doing the athlete a disservice. Any assessment is better than no assessment. Working with Dr. Nick Thurlow (Next ERA PT), Chris Dunn (HiPro Hitting) and Coach Chris Adams, we have gathered a ton of different assessments and have built our own from what best fits our population. The majority of our athletes being baseball players, we have noticed trends over the years in what this population is deficient in. Needs and strengths are what make them the athlete they are. Sometimes their asymmetries are what allows them to throw 95 mph or hit for plus power. This is why it is vital to assess, not guess. Knowing that joint placement dictates muscle function, and may limit an athlete’s performance from poor posture. It is vital we assess to have a road map on where to start. Here are a few things we look for in our assessments:

-Static Assessment, assess the way they walk in the door, depressed scap? Hip tilt? Head posture? Ankles? Knees? Military posture? Athlete in extension or flexion in the lumbar spine? We usually can tell if the athlete is a right handed or left handed thrower when they walk in by looking at the clavicles, hips or head. If one side is depressed it usually is the throwing side.

-Dynamic Assessment, assess through movement. Thoracic rotation, extension and flexion. Scapular movement, control endurance. Hip external and internal rotation. Shoulder stability, internal and external rotation of shoulder. Ankle mobility, knee stability, anterior core strength and serratus anterior recruitment.

-Laxity test, if the athlete is lax we will include more stability. If the athlete is too stiff we will include more mobility.

-Table assessment, shoulder ER vs IR. Do they lack internal rotation as a thrower? Can we regain IR by a basic horizontal adduction stretch? Does the athlete lack external rotation? Can we regain it through adding thoracic extension exercises?

Once we have assessed the athlete we begin to build the program. Like I mentioned above, we stick the basics. As Bruce Lee said “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who practiced one kick 10,000 times”. We do the same with our core lifts. We drill proper form in basic movements. Can the athlete hinge? Can the athlete squat? Can the athlete properly press and pull? Foundational strength is key and allows us to build off the foundation that has been built.

Imagine this, Athlete A walks into the facility with his teammate Athlete B. Athlete A is in extension with retracted scaps, has limited elbow extension and has limited hip IR. While Athlete B is very lax, lacks stability in his shoulder, elbow and knees, has a very flat back, scaps are winged and has decreased lumbar curvature. What do you do? Do you write a program on a white board that has a ton of mobility, that has the athlete working on anti-extension exercises? These two athletes cannot be any different. Truth is a one size fits all program for these two may injure or decrease strength due to the program that was written. Do you want to put an already extended athlete into more extension? Do you want to add even more mobility to an already lax athlete? If you can train to increase an athlete’s strength, stability or power, I believe it is very possible to decrease an athlete’s strength stability and power through improper programming.

Take time to assess and personalize a program if possible. Give the athlete what they need while delivering them the program they deserve.

DJ Edwards

Push Performance

Water Above All- Max Pavel

Water Above All

You work your ass off daily at the ballpark and the gym, but are you leaving out the most important parts? Nutrition, can make or break you as an athlete or as a human being in general. Today I am only going to talk about good old H20, down the line we will get into some other topics. Let’s get some perspective on water really quick.. Nearly 71% of the earths surface is covered in water and around 96% of the water on earth makes up our oceans. Water is the essence of life on earth. As a human, if you do not drink water for 3-5 days you could die. There have been cases where people have survived longer than 5 days without water, but these are extreme rare cases. Water is essential to life. In the USA clean water is readily available at the turn of a handle or knob, but not everyone takes advantage of it. Let’s look at some of the things that water can do for you. Your brain is made up of millions of neurons. These neurons use electrical synapses in order to pass signals and messages throughout the body. Well hydrated cells allows for a better connection and can also prevent headaches. Your mood and energy can improve when hydrated. Drinking water consistently can give you better healthier skin and complexion, allows toxins to be flushed out of your body, and helps to maintain regularity among your organ systems. Water can also prevent cramping and even sprains. Drinking water consistently throughout the day and with all your meals promotes weight loss and healthy digestion. While this is just a glance at some of the things water can do for or does for you.. the list goes on and on.. As an athlete water can dictate your performance without you even knowing. You want everything running at its best so drink more water! Even though water is a key component it is just one element of maintaining a healthy life style.

But How Much Should I Drink?
A good place to start is drinking about 1/2ounce of water per pound that you weigh per day. The more physical activity you participate in (moderate to rigorous activity) the more you will have to drink. In extreme heat during the summer you have to continually drink to stay hydrated but you also need to get other nutrients that you lose when you sweat profusely. Dehydration, heat stroke, and heat exhaustion are no joke. While suffering from any of these things an icy glass of water sounds like the best thing for you, but room temp water will be best for you to recover. Caffeine can easily dehydrate you so enjoy your morning caffeine but drink more water! Stay hydrated!

-Coach Pav

Athlete Specialization – Grant Suggs

The evolution of sports development and the competition itself has grown immensely in the last ten years. In general, sports are constantly growing, and the skill level is higher than ever. That being said, youth athletes spend more time on their sport specializing on one sport or one position. I think it is fantastic when young athletes have a passion for a position or sport. Where I do have a problem is when young players are turned into a one-position player or a one-sport athlete at a young age. By young athlete, I’m talking high school and younger. I understand that by senior year some kids have committed to play sports in college and/or are only playing one sport for various reasons. However, if you are a multiple sports athlete I encourage you to play out through high school to develop your fundamental athleticism.

I’ve seen more and more youth athletes that tell me, “I’m a PO (pitcher only)” or “I only play [X] sport because I don’t have time for anything else.” A significant portion of this problem stems from their superiors, including parent and coaches. A common miss-conception of getting better at a sport is constantly submersing in it. At least at a youth level, where you have options and you should be able to play multiple sports and positions. The problem with specializing in one sport or position is that rather than becoming a better well-rounded athlete, the focus is on mechanics, and over-use of muscles comes into play. Over-use at a young age is dangerous because many athletes don’t have the strength to combat their usage. (Different post)

The best thing a youth athlete can do is to try out as many sports and positions as they want. Becoming a better athlete should be their number one focus. They can later specialize in a particular sport or position as they mature into adults. When an athlete focuses on a single position or sport they are more focused on specific mechanics of a particular movement rather than compound full body movements. This causing atrophy and injury in the long run.

A very exaggerated example of specification in training or playing a sport is a golfer declaring, “I only putt the ball”, or, “I only hit the ball off the tee”. If this was the case it would make it pretty hard to play golf. My point is that you have to be well rounded and have the ability to use all facets of the game and develop the fundamentals of being an athlete before we specialize in sports.

-Grant Suggs
Push Performance