Week 3 of the In-Season Restoration Series: Sliding Reverse Bear Crawls
Each off-season, baseball players have many similar imbalances and dysfunctions as they go into their training. While no two athletes are the same, this series will be aimed at in-season maintenance of functions and balances that are commonly lost over the course of a season.
This week we are covering Sliding Reverse Bear Crawls. First things first:
Why do we need Sliding Reverse Bear Crawls?
One of the most common dysfunctions we see with a baseball player going into an off-season is scapular depression and downward rotation. This is due to several factors. One of these factors is the latissimus dorsi (lat) (Hwai-Ting). The lat, in our experience with throwing athletes, commonly becomes overactive and creates a series of compensatory patterns for the thrower. As the lat takes over, the athlete has a more difficult time getting over head, because it is pulling the whole shoulder down. Consequently, the serratus anterior (upward rotator) gets less and less work, causing it to get weaker- decreasing upward rotation (Bagg). This allows the lat, upper trapezius and other movers to become overactive and strengthened. This is how our common dysfunction of scapular depression develops over the course of the season. You may also see some scapular winging as this develops (especially in youth athletes).
Why is the Sliding Reverse Bear Crawl an effective exercise?
Doing any crawl offers great benefits to our throwing athletes. For one, we get dynamic shoulder stability work through co-contractions of the rotator cuff. The serratus anterior activates as well as the athlete pushes the ground away from them. When we do the crawls backwards, we can really focus on driving the scapula into upward rotation, because as we push the ground away, we are actively going overhead. This strengthens the serratus anterior through upward rotation of the scapula.
Why the slides?
I add the slides on this to add more of a core challenge (anti-extension, anti-flexion and rotational) which I especially like immediately after a season as well as in-season. It also allows the athlete to focus on driving with the arms to gain that good upward rotation we are looking for without thinking about the movement of the lower half and possibly compensating with the lower half. It really is a great “bang for your buck” exercise that you can use in a warm-up or as a reinforcement exercise between sets.
How do I do it?
Watch the video! Keep the core tight, the butt high, the back flat and push the ground as far away from you as possible with every step.