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Saturday, January 23, 2016
Elbow UCL Rehab for weightlifters-what you need to know
It all comes down to the triceps and wrist wraps--- Below is information that has really helped me with my UCL
recovery. You can use the information in the article to have an informed conversation
with your doctor before starting a rehab program for an injured UCL. Afterall, I'm not a Doctor- I'm just a rocket scientist.
It is common for weightlifters to injure their Ulnar
Collateral Ligament in competition, due to hyperextension. This usually happens
when attempting to save a lift backward.
Many of the doctors who work on UCLs come from a
baseball paradigm and associate it with “Tommy John”, the
famous baseball pitcher who had the first ever surgery for a UCL injury in
1974.In other words, for the average
orthopedist, most of the UCL tears they will see are from baseball
pitchers and will not have a lot of experience tailoring their treatments to weightlifters.
Although it is the same ligament
that weightlifters injure, weightlifters are using this ligament in a different
manner. In baseball, a pitcher uses the UCL almost like a
rubber-band in a slingshot. They load it up with tension, then release it.In weightlifting, lifters utilize the UCL for
stability in the backwards and forwards direction (in front of and behind the
head).In effect, the treatments for UCL
tears need to be more sport specific especially as you enter the phase of the
athlete returning to competition.
From personal experience,I have found that the average American physical therapist focuses
entirely too much on the biceps and the extensors of the forearm when rehabbing
a UCL injury. When really, triceps and the flexors, I found, are at least as
important, if not more, for weightlifter stability (they are antagonistic
muscles afterall!).Many therapists even
prioritize shoulder and scapular strengthening over the triceps as this relates
to throwing mechanisms due to their baseball centric world view.
Think about it- what happens when you are supporting a bar
overhead?Your arms are fully extended
with your forearm rotated such that the thumb is in line with your ear and your
wrists are fully bent backwards.Right?
So, what are your muscles doing:the
triceps and extensors are in extension, and there is a lot of load on the
flexors as your wrist is bent fully backward.
Perhaps, developed triceps, flexors, and extensors will help
relieve loading from the UCL. Developing these muscles, according to my French doctor as well as any bodybuilding expert, lots of repetitions with not to heavy a weight is key. Exercises like tricep pull downs are great. The goal is bulk, here (I know contrary to much of what we do in weightlifting).
Something else that can help --->Stabilization during lifting:
This is a pre-injury photo of me with 110kg. You can see me with obly ine of my leather wrist wraps on; the wrist without the wrist wrap is bent back much further.
In weightlifting, we are not permitted to wear elbow wraps.
However, the muscles of the forearm have two attachment points- one by the
elbow and one by the wrist.An
orthopedist in France (the same guy that told me to work more triceps ) pointed
out to me that wearing wrist wraps will stabilize one of the attachment points
of these muscle groups, and may be more effective than stabilizing at the elbow.
Physically, this makes sense as when I wear my Risto leather
wrist wraps, the amount my wrist can bend backward is restricted.This does two things: (1) it reduces loading
on the flexor tendons, which will change loading on the UCL, (2) the wrist wrap
is actually absorbing some of the load being transmitted from the extensors. It's got to relieve some of the hoop stresses in the forearm.
Overall, I feel more stable with leather wrist wraps and was able to
do overhead work sooner with them.
Here's a post recovery photo of me demo-ing the wrist wraps, note the better wrist angles, and you can even see my flexors bulging, illustrating how they play in securing the bar overhead.
If you get anything out of this article -- the message is work your triceps , forearm,and wear leather wrist wraps to aide your elbow.
Lifting in Kazakhstan, Temirtau, Ilyin's former gym
In Temirtau, Kazakhstan. Still, unable to do any overhead work from a ligament tear, I'm just rehabbing with pulls to retrain my muscles. Training next to me is the Youth and Junior team of Temirtau. Ilya Ilyin used to train in this facility as a junior. As well as a recent Junior World Champion, Maksim
Olympic Trials News Media on Risto Sports' Gwen and Ivan
This was the 2nd highest snatch in all of the USA for 2014 in official competition for women's 69kg weight class. The only athlete to snatch higher was Jenny Arthur with 98kg. At the time, she was lifting for USAW weightlifting club Risto Team.
Oscar Figueroa,Olympic Silver Medalist, World medalist 2009
Pictured at Salitre with Oscar Figueroa in center.
A picture is a Thousand words. You and I know it. I am sitting in a room surrounded by the great, modern day luminaries of weightlifting....
Carlos Andica training with Coach Ivan
Arnold, Carlos & Joni Andica
Right before Coach Ivan consulted Carlos for the 2011 Pan AM Games, where he broke a Pan AM record. These guys were unofficially competing for Risto Team at the 2011 Arnold.
Russian boots, classic weightlifting shoes with modern shoe technology. Exquisite full leather upper, wood heel, rawhide forefoot, natural rubber outsole. One of a kind.
Documenting history of singlets
USAW national team member in Risto Singlet
Ivan in the Warm-up room with the Andica Brothers
Leidy Solis- PAN AM Champion 2009
Leidy in winning form, she's wearing risto weightlifting shoes. Congratulations Leidy!
Exceeding expectations -Archive
Classic weightliftng shoe design with modern accents. These were produced by Risto Sports
Coach Jonny Pan AM champ
Afternoon coach, doing pwr cleans while his lifters finish up
More on Facebook
Shoeporn-Custom Weightlifting shoe history
Documenting shoe history
first commercial shoe marketed to youth sizes
Bucharest Training Center
Ramanian Coach Doru, Ivan, Romanian Lifter Eiza
Nikolai Stoichkov- JR Bulgarian Lifter, son of Zdravco Stoichkov
Training with a pair of Botev shoes. These shoes take a beating of 18000 to 20000 reps per year and heavy loads 90-100% - Also known as the Bulgarian system.
Future Champion- Tough lifters wear pink!
Gwendolyn Rojas getting ready to snatch 60kgs at 20kg bodyweight and 4 years old.
Stoichkov in Action
Coach Stoichkov adjusting my starting position.
Ivan giving training advice in Frankfurt Oder
Here Ivan, as a coach, is giving lifting advice to German Junior lifters at the Olympic Training Center in Frankfurt Oder, Germany. Yes, Ivan is fluent in German and is speaking German to the lifters.
Working out with the Champs
Gwen squatting wth Georgiev, Peschalov, and new lifter in background
Training in Bulgaria - Gwen and Coach Zdravco Stoichov
Stoichov is coach of Peschalov, Georgiev, etc. Also of key interest: Similar to USA lifters missing out on their chance to medal at the 1980 Olympics , at the time of the boycotted '84 Olympic Games, Stoichkov outlifted the LA Games Gold Medalist at the Friendship Games/ Druzhba Games. The Druzhba Games were held in 1984 by Eastern bloc countries not participating in LA.
Ivan with Nikolai Gergov, Bulgarian Wrestling Champion
Ivan with the Greco wrestling world champ, Nikolai Gergov, after their workout. I still think its uncanny how elite athletes from multiple sports would just show up at Slavia for a workout (....and atleast one ask for lifting advice). Again, overall, Bulgarian athletes were humble or, rather, didn't "have an attitude" in the gym.
Gewichtheben - training at the German Olympic training center in Frankfurt am der Oder
Me with the German Junior Team and Coach/German Olympian Lars Betker
Documenting shoe history: Coach Burgener Shoe
A wonderfully patriotic, Americana themed shoe and T-shirt. GO USA!!!
Gwen posing with Peschalov
Stoichkov during competitive years
Vintage photo of Stoichkov winning international Championship
Rumy, Bulgarian lifter
Rumy,75kg lifter, stops by for a light workout in Slavia, Bulgaria
Botev stops by Slavia
Gwen, Stefan Botev (multi-time Olympic Medalist and world champion), and Ivan
Gwen with Power Clean/slpit jerk with 80kg
First workout in Slavia.
Size perspective for youtube video
In Beijing, junior lifter
Ivan and Eric, the speedskater
After a hard work out, Ivan and Eric go summertime cycling in Maine. Eric is a competitive Speedskater and a proud owner of weightlifting shoes. Ahhh ...nothing like summers in Maine!!
World and European Champion, 62kg. Rooting for him to medal in the 2008 Olympic Games!
Hanging out with Weighlifting heroes
Peschalov, Stoichov, self, and husband
Old Stuff - shoe porn
Peschalov and Coach
Peschalov trained with Stoichkov leading up to his Gold medal win in 2000 Olympic Games
Training in Kennedy, Bogota
Euvgeni Popov, Stoichov, and Gwen
Popov - 1980's Bulgarian weightlifting team, also accomplished power lifter and strongman competitor.
Beijing - Gongti Area
Gwen lifting at second training location in Beijing near Workers Stadium, Gongti
Sylvia, Bulgarian Junior lifter, wearing Botev shoes
Schoolage Champ, one of Stoichov's newer lifters. Sylvia also trains in Botev shoes. Her pair is also several years old and has lasted over 18K reps per year!
Romania - Training Center in Bucharest
Me trining with Romanian lifters in Bucharest. Former USAW National Coach, Dragomir Ciroslan, had once lifted in this gym.
Wrestling World Champion (Greco) Nikolay Gergov working out in Slavia (BG), me in background
Nikolay Gergov is a Bulgarian Wrestling World Champion - Greco Roman 66kg category. Nikolai is already naemd to the 2008 Bulgarian Olympic Team. He is also competing at a meet at the Colorado Springs US OTC later this month (FEB 08). Anyhow, Nikolai just stops by for a workout in Slavia. He saw Ivan and I working out and asked Ivan for some technique coaching.
Gwen with Chinese coach of junior team at Chaoyang Ti Yu Chang (Beijing)
The coach pictured with me had won a gold medal in the snatch lifting against Karolina Lundhal (world champion) at the 1998 Worlds in Finland in 75Kg class.
Lifters in Bucharest
Ivan with Coach Chiu, gongti area Beijing
After discussion of Chinese pull technique. Chiu is a former Junior World Champion.
Good Leather Smells good
Really, this was a Candid photo..."wow, this smells good"
Ivan Lifting in China - 2006
Chinese training center, Chao Yang Ti Yu Chang in Beijing, a JR team pictured in background
Choayang Ti Yu Chang - Ivan with chinese junior lifters
Abigail Guererro, Almerimar, Spain 2004
In forefront, Abigail , who has been on the Spanish National Team, with teammates in background.
Me with Blessed Udoh, in Spain (DEC 2004)
Blessed won the silver medal in 48kg at the 2001 World Championships representing Nigeria. She also trained in Bulgaria for the 2004 Olympics. Sadly to report that she died in Nigeria, last year.
Gwen lifting at Chaoyang Ti Yu Chang - Beijing,
In Beijing, Chinese Juniors in background. Great kids, good sense of humor, listened to their formal coaches
Spain- Ivan and Miguel Borrazas
Our good friend Miguel has coached Spain's national team.
Ivan with Coach Ediberto Barbosa, fmr Col natl team
Mock Competition in Bogota
Gwen out snatches the challenger
Rick Bucinell, breaking master world record
Ivan arm wrestling Peschalov
My husband "attempting" to arm wrestle Peschalov with his good arm. Ivan remarked "Wow, he's strong..he was really trying to arm wrestle me" ..no kidding ....ha ha ha
Me on Team USA which was sponsored by Risto Sports, 2010 University World Championships
Me lifting for Team USA. We won 15 medals, Ivan was Assistant Coach to Team USA. We had no official uniforms-- until, THANKFULLY, Risto Sports donated gear such as USA polos and t-shirts, so we could at least match in some semblance of a uniform. The team got to represent our country well!
Tanya Morillas - 2004 in Spain
Training session at Almerimar. Subsequently, Tanya has been on Spanish national teams.