Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Give your Lats a break!

View from the deck monday am at the 50 M pool. 49 degrees air. water 67...you can sort of see the steam coming off the water...woohoo...only 2 more outdoor swims. So sad.

I couldnt decide on a few topics to post on...but this one seems to have won. I think next time i should post on hips and perhaps glute imbalances and thrusts and why it isnt really a thrust but more of a tuck and what that has to do with hip and groin pain. See that thinking above makes perfect sense to me, but likely you think i am just delirious.

And to make my delirium worse... the US OPEN has started. Who can resist writing about The Fed and whether he can win again in NYC? I think his posture below says he can!

So even if you cant quite see this image it is an image of some of my favorite muscles.
Your Serratus Anterior. You also have a Serratus Posterior as well. I think often the soreness we have after swimming is mistakenly blamed on our Lats. I hear that alot "OH I LOST MY LATS" or "My lats are killing me." Sure they may be but your lats, compared to your little finger muscles ( SA) are HUGE.

Just for fun...your SA's job is to hold your scapula's ( chicken wing) medial border close to your rib cage. It also helps to protract ( move outwards from the center of your back) your scapula. In more layman's terms it keeps your shoulder blades from winging on your ribcage. I call them the finger muscles bc you can feel them along your lateral ribs (rib 1-9 to be exact..rib 1 is superior, near your clavicle so work down from there) and when they are sore you can massage them very easily. You also may feel some soreness where they insert on the middle border of your shoulder blade. IF you are swimming with any sort of scapular control ( we hope you are!) this baby is working to keep your shoudler blade taut in and in place!

Lats..well....if blogger lets me get the image onthat i want ( thus far blogger isnt in compliance) It is more obvious that your Lats are BIG muscles. Like steak muscles. As opposed to the little SA muscles that line your ribs. The Lats ( along with your middle and lower traps) are critical to your swim stroke also but have a ga zillion origins, such as...
spinous process of the last 6 Thoracic Vertebrae ( who knows how many T vertebrae you have? Damie, dont answer) the last 3-4 ribs, inferior angle of the shoulder blade, the external lip of the Iliac Crest ( yes that is your Pelvis folks) and then inserts on the humerus...on the front of your arm. Whoa that is a big muscle!

So the fact that the lats attach to the pelvis mean they also assist in tilting the pelvis forward and sideways ( ie flip turns) the lats also medially rotate / Adduct / Extend the shoulder joint. This is where we feel it most as your hand enters the water ( medial rotation) and you proceed to bring your hand towards center of your body-adduct ( ie relative to flalling your arms to the side) and finish your stroke...( extend) with the help of your triceps.

Most of us feel that soreness right around our arm pit and maybe even on the front of your arm where this mm inserts on your humerus. In addition your teres minor, supraspinatus/infraspinatus, ( not to leave out the subscapularis) all rotator cuff muscles that are the tiny sized friends of your Serratus, MAY be talking to you more than your Lats, as they are small and have the big job of keeping your humerus stable in the Glenoid fossa while you are on your 20th x 100 yard set and your arms are falling off. Or whatever crazy set your coach has you doing:)

So my PSA for today. Dont just blame your LATs! They have accomplices! The larger team of your Serratus Anterior and the Rotator Cuff that may be making you sore. And what to do?
I use my foam roller on my arms/under my arms and also my trigger point ball against the wall to work on these insertions especially on my humerus ( long arm bone). And since we spend time icing our lower body, what about that upper body? A little ice goes a long way on those shoulders!


Damie said...

you know I love the PT post! Good one!

Charisa said...

AWesome! I almost didn't make it past the sentence where you said it was 49. SERIOUSLY?! Do you live on the north pole!? That is COLD!!!!

Angela and David Kidd said...

You are too smart for me. I could never tell you what muscles do what. I just know when they hurt.