Thrower's Ten for Aerialists and Polers

Updated: Feb 20, 2019


There are now three posts about the Thrower's Ten on this blog, but I promised I would write a post on the actual Thrower's Ten PT moves that I use for injury prevention in aerial arts and pole. The Thrower's Ten is a series of physical therapy rehab moves that strengthen and stretch the shoulder girdle. The moves were developed to rehab athletes coming from throwing sports like baseball or racquet sports like tennis. For pole and aerial arts we can use this series to help strengthen some of the less-developed muscles of the shoulders and prevent injury.

As discussed in previous posts about the Thrower's Ten (Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3) aerialists and polers tend to get overdeveloped in the lats and pecs and underdeveloped in the shoulders and upper and middle back muscles like the rhomboids and traps. The Thrower's Ten focuses on full range of motion for the average person potentially doing repeat movement in the shoulders where one might get imbalances that lead to injury.

It's not bad to do all the moves in the Thrower's Ten, but if you are frequently doing aerial or pole, you may want to leave out certain moves that work muscle groups that we are already working on the pole or apparatus, mainly the pectorals and lats.

Here is the other big thing, in aerial and pole we are doing a pull-up movement most of the time. This means we are contracting the muscles to lift the body and often we are not counter-balancing this by lifting upward. All of the Thrower's Ten moves I have included do not work the downward engagement of the back and shoulder. These moves are hand selected specifically for aerialists and polers and focus on upward lift and balance for aerial arts and pole.

External Rotation with 90 degree Abduction

Ok first of all, my wrist should not be broken downward like that. I don't know what I was doing, that is basic weight lifting form gone awry. Keep your wrist in alignment with your elbow and forearm. The elbow is bent at 90 and lifted to the side (Abduction) lining up with the shoulder. Rotate the arm upward keeping the 90-degree angle. Begin with two sets of 10-12 reps and work to three sets. I recommend a cable pull machine, but you can do light hand weights or a band.


External Rotation at 0-Degree Abduction

Use a cable, band or light weight for this exercise. Keep the moving arm glued next to the side of the body and lift the forearm up to horizontal with the floor. Rotate the arm outward away from the body working into the front and middle delts. Keep the elbow level and close to the body. Work up to three sets of 12.


Shoulder Abduction to 90 degrees

Lift the arm out to the side of the body slowly, hold for 2 seconds at the top and lower down with control. You do not need to lift the arm any higher then the shoulder. Watch the traps and shoulders are not creeping up toward the ears. Begin with two sets of 10-12 reps, work up to three sets.


Scaption, Internal Rotation

Keep the thumbs up; once again I was not paying attention in this series of photos. Raise the arm straight out from the shoulder to the front side of the body. Hold at shoulder height and slowly lower down. Begin with two sets of 10-12 reps, then work up to three sets.


Prone Rowing

This exercise can be done with a weight bench or in tabletop position. Begin in a prone position with the working arm hanging by your side. Row, by bending the elbow and focus on engaging the rhomboids, lower and upper traps. Pull the scapula toward the spine and also release the shoulder away from the ears. This should be felt in the meat between the scapula and the spine and right below the scapula in the lower trap. Rows are crucial balancing exercises for aerialists and polers. Always do your rows. Begin with 2 sets of 10 -12 reps, work up to 3 sets.


Tricep Overhead Extension

This is another move that is less functional for aerialists and polers. We tend to already have quite a bit of tricep activation happening in our workouts and training. The triceps do get worked less then the biceps, as they are backside muscles. I do some sort of tricep work in workouts outside of aerial, but it's not a crucial as the first two sets of Thrower's Ten exercises. Make sure the core is engaged and the knees are not locked. Keep the shoulders out of the ears, lift one weight overhead. Align the elbow and shoulder and use the non-working arm to stabilize. Extend the arm upward working the tricep. Begin with 2 sets of 10


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