I have recently started throwing flat ground bullpens in preperation for the season. After I throw my tricep is always sore, I am throwing harder then I ever have. I was wondering if the Triceps play a keyrole in velocity, harder throwers often have very well developed triceps such as these:
However, it may also be fair to say that vagueness and distortion works both ways. If “posterior shoulder injury” covers a multitude of muscle injuries,including triceps injuries, then triceps injuries are likely to be under-reported among pitchers.
Extension can happen due to centrifugal force and deceleration of a rotating upper torso. I don’t believe it’s an absolute that the triceps is used to accomplish this. I do believe that higher arm slots may benefit from it being actively used though.
But what sort of contraction is the triceps performing? Concentric (actively extending shoulder during internal rotation) or isometric (stabilizing action)? Or is it the long head merely contracting in a reactive manner from being stretched during external rotation and subsequently shortening during internal rotation??[/quote]
[quote=“Priceless”]I have recently started throwing flat ground bullpens in preperation for the season. After I throw my tricep is always sore, I am throwing harder then I ever have. I was wondering if the Triceps play a keyrole in velocity, harder throwers often have very well developed triceps such as these:
This is actually a picture of a flaccid, inactive Tricep.
The extension of the elbow happens due to the rapid deceleration of the rotation of the shoulders. The elbow extends as a result of conservation of momentum.
A study was performed in the Journal of Sports Science and Medicine where a nerve block was placed on the triceps muscle and it was determined that the tricep muscle group, in general does little to generate velocity but rather allows the arm to get in the proper position (90 degree flexion) for maximum torque.
“In an investigation of the role of the triceps musculature during throwing, Roberts reported on the preliminary work of Dobbins who performed a radial nerve block (thereby rendering the triceps brachii and wrist and finger extensors inactive) and compared the kinematics of the throws performed prior and subsequent (Roberts, 1971). Dobbins found that the timing of the onset of elbow extension was unchanged after the radial nerve block, however prior to extending the elbow ‘collapsed’ into a maximum elbow flexion of 145° (from the pre-nerve block maximum of 90°). On the sixth throwing trial after the nerve block was performed, the subject was able to throw in excess of 80% of his original velocity despite the absence of active triceps (and wrist extensor) contribution. This work would suggest that part of the role of the triceps musculature is to maintain elbow flexion such that the moment of inertia of the rotating upper arm is maximized (at 90° elbow flexion).”
I believe that most pain/soreness in the tricep area, in general, is tendonitis related and not muscular.
In excess of 80%… well was he trying to throw 100%? This study seems inconclusive to me. If he was trying to throw 100% and it was only coming out 85%, then there would be some correlation between velocity and the tricep, correct? This study is too vague and general.
The assertion that a throwing athlete’s triceps are ‘flaccid’, arrived at by examination of a photograph, is totally unwarranted foolishness.
RBish provided an interesting study that clearly suggests the primary role of triceps brachii is not necessarily in velocity generation, although Hammer correctly points out that we perhaps should not be counting angels dancing on the head of a pin…after all, most of us would by all means not willingly disable our triceps or any other muscule group if it meant sacrificing 10 - 20% of our velocity, now would we?
However, it has been known for a long time that the triceps have an important role for throwing athletes. “Dynamic stabilization to prevent extension overload” [see below]. What do you think that means?
Could it be an important part of the deceleration process for a throwing athlete?
J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 1993 Jun;17(6):274-8.Links
Biomechanics of the elbow during baseball pitching.Werner SL, Fleisig GS, Dillman CJ, Andrews JR.
Biomechanics Lab, Penn State University, University Park.
By understanding pitching biomechanics, therapists can develop better preventive and rehabilitative programs for pitchers. The purpose of this study was to quantify and explain the joint motions, loads, and muscle activity that occur at the elbow during baseball pitching. Seven healthy, adult pitchers were examined with synchronized high-speed video digitization and surface electromyography. Elbow extension before ball release corresponded with a decrease in biceps activity and an increase in triceps activity. A varus torque of 120 Nm, acting to resist valgus stress, occurred near the time of maximum shoulder external rotation. Previous cadaveric research showed that the ulnar collateral ligament by itself cannot withstand a valgus load of this magnitude. Triceps, wrist flexorpronator, and anconeus activity during peak valgus stress suggests that these muscles may act as dynamic stabilizers to assist the ulnar collateral ligament in preventing valgus extension overload.
I was maybe not clear enough. The loss in velocity correlated to an inability to get the arm to optimum elbow flexion (90 degrees) losing as much as 55 degrees. The Tricep muscle group itself does not seem to create velocity. But I would agree this is not a conclusive finding.
Here is the text from the study if anyone is interested:
My point is that I do not think the stress necessary for the tricep to perform this “stabilizing” activity is enough to cause muscular problems. Like I said, I think most tricep problems are more than likely tendon related.
Since you said you recently started throwing bullpens, I would guess your triceps soreness is a temporary issue that you will be able to work through. Just make sure you’re not overdoing the bullpens. If you want to reduce your work load, then that would be ok. Either way, if the soreness persists after a couple weeks, then you should probably get checked out.
Of course, if you were having pain in an adjacent joint, then that would be a different story and you should definitely get checked out.
Since you said you recently started throwing bullpens, I would guess your triceps soreness is a temporary issue that you will be able to work through. Just make sure you’re not overdoing the bullpens. If you ant to reduce your work load, then that would be ok. Either way, if the soreness persists after a couple weeks, then you should probably get checked out.
Of course, if you were having pain in an adjacent joint, then that would be a different story and you should definitely get checked out.[/quote]
I just threw my first heavy flat ground bullpen today, around 50 pitches, I think I will rest for about three days until I throw again or do any simulations of my motion(towel drill, sock drill)