Conditioned to Fish
I spent the better part of my youth, teenage, and early adult years playing baseball at a highly competitive level. Pitcher was my primary position and early on in my career I learned the importance of a proper strength and conditioning program to help propel me through long outings on the mound. Conditioning the stabilizer muscles that surround the elbow and shoulder proved critical to prevent injury, prolong fatigue, and achieve quicker recovery become part of my every day life even during the off season. At a relatively early age I learned of Jobe exercises that were developed by renowned Orthopedist and Los Angeles Dodgers team Physician Frank Jobe. The exercises that he developed were meant to protect against the stress experienced during repetitive overhand throws at high velocity and rehabilitate already injured shoulders and arms. As I was a starting pitcher for the vast majority of my career, and also was a positional player during the games that I did not pitch (3rd Base) my arm was never afforded a proper rest period to help repair – I eventually did run into several arm/shoulder related issues near the end of my career.
During my Junior year of College baseball it was discovered that I had sustained a slight tear in my rotator cuff, as well as some damage to my labrum in my right shoulder. Then just prior to my Senior year of college I tore the muscle that wraps around the inner side of the elbow , as well tore the Ulnar Collateral Ligament. Obviously, the combination of these sustained injuries prevented me from ever taking the mound again as a pitcher, but I continued to sustain a high amount of usage through baseball related, and general every day life activities.
Fast Forward a decade of severally lacking continued physical conditioning, and I now often find myself in a significant amount of pain and fatigue when fishing. Part of this is due to my lack of proficiency as a caster, but mostly is due to the styles of fishing that I find myself doing most often – some form of high stick nymphing or throwing giant streamers with heavy lines long distances.
Over the course of the past few years I have missed a number of days due to the injuries, or I simply tag along and row the boat (oddly enough rowing does not add any additional discomfort). So, this year I am taking a different approach and going back to re-conditioning the body’s mechanical parts that are involved in completing the casting and fishing motions. To do this I am going back to what I am most familiar with – Jobe exercises. Here is some information provided the book “Complete Conditioning for Baseball”, published by Human Kinetics:
- “The shoulder all together is a large very powerful muscle group. The shoulder assists in almost all upper body movements.”
- “Common imbalances to front deltoid and neglect to these small muscles is one of the major reasons for chronic and acute arm problems.”
- “These muscles are not isolated through conventional shoulder exercises. To maximize conditioning of this area specific exercises with light weights and tubing must be used. “
Here is an outline of basic Jobe exercises provided by WebBall:
- External Rotation at 0 Degree Abduction – Standing with involved elbow flexed at side, elbow at 90 degrees and involved arm across front of body. Grip tubing handle while the other end of tubing is fixed. Pull out with arm, keeping elbow at side. Return tubing slowly and controlled.
- Internal Rotation at 0 Degree Abduction – Standing with elbow at side fixed at 90 degrees and shoulder rotated out. Grip tubing handle while other end of tubing is fixed. Pull arm across body keeping elbow at side. Return tubing slowly and controlled.
- External Rotation at 90 Degree Abduction (Slow) – Stand with shoulder abducted 90 degrees and elbow flexed 90 degrees. Grip tubing handle while the other end is fixed straight ahead. Keeping shoulder abducted, rotate shoulder back keeping elbow at 90 degrees. Return tubing and hand to start position slowly and controlled.
- Internal Rotation at 90 Degree Abduction (Slow) – Stand with shoulder abducted to 90 degrees, externally rotated 90 degrees, and elbow flexed 90 degrees. Grip tubing handle with other end of tubingfixed straight behind. Keeping shoulder abducted, rotate shoulder forward, keeping elbow at 90 degrees. Return tubing and hand to start position slowlyand controlled.
- Diagonal Pattern (D1) Flexion – Gripping tubing handle in hand of involved arm, begin with arm out from side 45 degrees and palm facing backward. After turning palm forward, proceed to flex elbow and bring arm up and over uninvolved shoulder. Turn palm down and reverse to take arm to starting position. Exercise should be performed in controlled manner.
- Diagonal Pattern (D2) Flexion – Involved hand will grip tubing handle across body and against thigh of opposite side leg. Starting with palm down, rotate palm up to begin. Proceed to flex elbow and bring arm up and over involved shoulder with palm facing inward. Turn palm down and reverse to take arm to starting position. Exercise should be performed in a controlled manner.
- Diagonal Pattern (D2) Extension – Involved hand will grip tubing handle overhead and out to the side. Pull tubing down and across your body to the opposite side of leg. During the motion lead with your thumb.