First of all a big shout out to Mike Boyle for getting me a spot for this seminar. The advantages of being an MBSC intern. Thanks Mike.
Going to Cressey Performance for this seminar I expected a lot of anatomy, a lot of research, and a lot of applicable exercises that I could use with athletes. It is safe to say that I got all three. The four presentations that were given by both Eric (2 presentations), and Mike (the other 2 obliviously) were extremely informative.
Mike put the sleeper stretch into a whole new perspective. The sleeper stretch for anyone who is not familiar with is a stretch that has been prescribed by a lot of coaches who deal with overhead throwing/striking athletes (i.e baseball, tennis). Mike said that as clinicians we are not doing a good job at looking at TOTAL range of motion at the shoulder. What this means is that if you have an athlete you must add BOTH his/her external, and internal rotation to get their total shoulder range of motion. So if you have a baseball player, and I know that there isn’t many back home in Ireland, but lets just use a baseball player as our example here, who has only 65 degrees of internal rotation, but has 115 degrees of external rotation, that base player already has a total range of motion of 180 degrees, which is ok.
What Mike believes is that many clinicians have only been focusing on the internal rotation number, and automatically assume that an athlete has posterior cuff tightness, or GIRD (gleno-humeral internal rotation deficit), and will prescribed sleeper stretches for this athlete. He believes that this could be detrimental to an athlete as your are adding flexibility to something that dosen’t necessary need any more range of motion.
Mike did say that when total range of motion is out of whack that this would call for some sleeper type stretches. He cautioned that the pressure should be very slight, and that there should be no sensation in the front of the shoulder.
Mike also went on to talk about perturbation type exercises for the shoulder stability. I had talked about this briefly with John Pallof at MBSC, as he too is a firm believer in this type of training. Some very cool exercises.
What about Eric you ask?
Of course Eric had some excellent points throughout his presentations. Some of the things that I took away from them was a better understanding as to why he does not overhead press is baseball players, and how important he thinks breathing patterns are in some of his guys.
Eric won’t overhead press his baseball guys because many have such poor upward rotation patterns that overhead pressing would just lead to ugly things. I have to say that I agree with him. I found the discussion on breathing patterns very interesting as this is something that I have become very interest in ever since I attained a weekend seminar with Leon Chaitow, and begin reading his outstanding text that he co-authored with Judith DeLany – Clinical Applications of Neuromuscular Techniques Vol 1, which I am slowly progressing through.
Eric said that he was getting some of his guys to lie prone on the massage table for 2-3 minutes and focus on breathing from their diaphragm. He said that some guys were instantly increasing their shoulder internal rotation range of motion by a few degrees (I can’t remember exact number), simple by doing this. This is from the deep breathing into diaphragm helping to mobilize the thoracic spine, and as any well read strength coach, or therapist will tell you, increase t-spine mobility will lead to a better moving and healthier shoulder joint.
So, all in all a great day spent at Cressey Perfomance. I would just like to Thanks Eric, and Mike for a great Seminar, and for anyone wondering this will be coming out on DVD. I make a cameo appearance on a foam roller wearing my Dublin jumper. UP THE DUBS!! Finally I have to give a huge, huge, THANK YOU to my man Connor Ryan who picked me up on Saturday night, let me stay in his apartment, and then drove to the seminar, and drove me all the way home to Woburn. Connor you are a LEGEND!!!! Thanks again buddy.