Thank you so much for helping me through my recovery. Lacrosse tryouts went well and I made the varsity team again, and I have been back to playing lacrosse since just before the new year. My knee feels excellent, and if not back to full health it is at least 99%. It is crazy to me to think that about 8 months ago I was barely able to crutch around and couldn’t do a leg lift, and I can’t believe how far I’ve come. In addition to making varsity, I have been coaching and attended a tournament, and I really cannot stress enough how good it feels after so long away from the sport. I have attached pictures of me in a tournament last weekend, and I hope they show how helpful you were in my recovery. Thank you so much, I could not have done it without you and hopefully I can find a time to swing by CATZ soon to say thanks in person.
In order to progress to more complex shoulder loading its important build a solid base. Here are a few simple scapular loading and shoulder stability exercises that can be made more challenging and once mastered will help with the performance heavier and more dynamic overhead activities. These exercises are part of a larger arm care routine I have my overhead athletes perform after the manual tissue and joint prep, and prior to a full body movement prep.
These can be easily replicated out on the field using the dugout bench.
When I broke my ankle last summer during early training for club soccer season, I was devastated. After surgery and with 2 screws in my ankles, I was told that I would miss most of the season. Being an athlete is so much a part of who I am and what I do that having to sit out practice after practice and game after game was absolutely terrible.
The turning point for me was when I started PT with Chris. Chris understood that it was not just about rehabbing my broken ankle but about strengthening and conditioning my whole body so that when my ankle was healed I would be ready to go back to sports. PT with Chris helped me recover faster and for that I am very thankful!
One of my favorite accessory exercises for my lower extremity patients is the sled push & pull. I picked up this exercise from powerlifting legend Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell. While Louie uses it for training men and women to Deadlift and Squat world record loads, I like to use it for my patients rehabbing from lower extremity injuries and surgeries. The reason this exercise is beneficial is that there is no eccentric phase, which means that there is no soreness associated with the recovery. Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is what is felt 1-2 days after a heavy workout, and it comes from the eccentric phase of exercises like squats, deadlifts and lunges. Louie uses the sled to add volume to his lifters regimen without adding to their post workout soreness, or sometimes after heavy lifting days when his lifters are experiencing a high level of DOMS.
How its done
The Push portion of the exercise is done in a forward trunk lean, hands holding the vertical poles with locked out arms, and a tight core. The patient powerwalks forward with slightly larger than normal strides, landing on the heel and keeping the foot flat through the movement. The activity should be felt in the gluts and hamstrings, which are often underdeveloped in most people, healthy or injured.
The Pull portion of the exercise is performed by attaching a band or rope to the sled. While holding the band the arms should again be locked out, but this time the entire body is straight with a posterior lean (think waterskiing). The patient this time walks backward with smaller and quicker than normal steps. After 10 yards or so there should be a nice burn in the quads.
I called this an accessory exercise because its not a stand alone task and should be additional to your core lower extremity rehab exercise regimen. Its not going to build superhuman strength but its a great way to add volume and variety to your patients rehab routine. Additionally, there is minimal vertical knee loading with this exercise, which means that it can be included for patients with knee issues that are irritated by closed chain knee flexion. There are a few variations of body positioning for this exercise and different sleds types can accomplish the same outcomes, but if done as described safety will be optimized.