Tuesday Tips: The Disc Golf Doctor On Scapular Stabilization

Learn a series of exercises to strengthen your throwing shoulder

Peter Cram, the Disc Golf Doctor, is a board-certified orthopedic physical therapist. He maintains a YouTube channel where he regularly posts videos combining his professional expertise and interest in disc golf, in an effort to help disc golfers stay healthy while they enjoy the sport. As part of our regular Tuesday Tips column, Peter highlights specific portions of his videos to help you avoid aches and pains while improving your game.

In my first Tuesday Tips column, scapular stabilization was mentioned as an important component of shoulder injury prevention. For this week’s installment, this video explores specific concepts and exercises regarding stabilizing the scapula. Here is a general overview:

  1. Exercise should focus on addressing strength deficits/lack of motor control of the Serratus Anterior and Lower Trapezius. These muscles are very frequently weak and are important of upward rotation, posterior tilting, and externally rotating the scapula.
  2. Engage the muscles around your scapula (shoulder blade) during the exercise. It is easy to compensate for weakness by utilizing other muscles that are not weak, that is a great way to perpetuate existing weakness.
  3. Control motion not only during the concentric phase (muscle shortening) but also the eccentric phase (muscle lengthening). People are often great during the first half of a repetition but then lose control, and relax the parascapular muscles, during the second half.
  4. Focus on endurance. Accomplish this by working towards a high number of sets and/or repetitions or lengthening holds.

Demonstrations of exercises begin around the 4:15 mark. I would like to highlight the horizontal abduction exercise that begins at 8:22 in the video, because it is a strengthening exercise specific to backhand throws in disc golf.

Scapular stabilization video

  1. Peter Cram
    Peter Cram

    Peter Cram PT, DPT is a Physical Therapist in Connecticut. He received his clinical doctorate in Physical Therapy from the UConn in 2012 and became board certified in Orthopedic Physical Therapy in 2017. He grew up playing ultimate frisbee but started playing disc golf a few years ago. He now plays, thinks about, and discusses disc golf more than his wife and friends think is healthy.

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