Stretch-Shortening Drills for the Upper Extremities: Theory and Clinical Application

  • Wilk K
  • Voight M
  • Keirns M
 et al. 
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Enhanced athletic performance emphasizes the muscle's ability to exert maximal force output in a minimal amount of time. Exaggerated maximal muscular force develops due to athletic movements producing a repeated series of stretch-shortening cycles. The stretch-shortening cycle occurs when elastic loading, through an eccentric muscular contraction, is followed by a burst of concentric muscular contraction. A form of exercise called plyometrics employs a quick, powerful movement involving a prestretch of the muscle, followed by a shortening, concentric muscular contraction, thus utilizing the stretch-shortening muscular cycle. The literature contains numerous references to plyometric training for the lower extremity, but there is a lack of information on the upper extremity plyometric program. Overhead activities, such as throwing, necessitate elastic loading to produce maximal, explosive, concentric muscular contractions. Plyometric exercise employs the concept of the stretch-shortening muscular cycle. The rehabilitation concept of specificity of training suggests plyometric exercise drills should be performed by the throwing athlete. This paper discusses the basic neurophysiological science and theoretical basis for plyometric exercise, and it describes an upper extremity stretch-shortening exercise program for the throwing athlete.

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  • Kevin E. Wilk

  • Michael L. Voight

  • Michael A. Keirns

  • Vern Gambetta

  • James R. Andrews

  • Charles J. Dillman

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