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Why do places hurt from throwing and why should you not stretch?

Frisbeegolf as a sport is a very welcome addition to our society. During one full-scale lap, a person usually walks about 2-6 km. Of course, this all happens outside and in some cases, depending on the person's basic condition, also works as a workout.

All Finns spend up to about 8.5 hours of their waking hours passively, i.e. sitting or lying down (Husu et al. 2018). I was absolutely stunned when I saw this figure, and it's no wonder that in light of this, our activity should be increased. Frisbee golf is one good way to do this. 


Why do places get sore - different pain states and causes

In the circle of friends and on some forums, you quite often come across conversations where people talk about various pain states in Frisbee golf. This can mean, for example, that in some movement or throw, the shoulder or elbow hurts so much that you cannot use that throw in practice. In this paragraph, I will talk a bit about what I think are the most common causes and factors that predispose to injuries and the development of pain conditions in frisbee golf or indeed in many other forms of exercise.


1. One-sided movement and poor mobility/movement restrictions

As already stated in the introductory paragraph, a large part of people spend their days very passively. When we start moving again and again, it always comes as a bit of a shock to the body. When the body is not used to plenty of exercise and general movement, it cannot withstand strenuous or tearing exercise as well.


The one-sidedness of movement, especially among the adult population, has also made many bodies a little stiff. As you grow older, mobility slowly starts to disappear, but the reason is not only age. A bigger reason for this is that we don't use extreme ranges of motion often enough, which would allow us to maintain a more mobile body. More about mobility and stretching in the next paragraph!


When we push our own body in frisbee golf and possibly challenge range of motion in some cases, it is no wonder that places get sore if we are not used to using wide range of motion.


2. Weak muscle condition, muscle balance and/or weakness of supporting muscles

Those who have followed good frisbee golfers have surely noticed that during the knuckle and palm throw, a huge number of things happen in the body in a very fast time. Of course, the greatest strain during throwing occurs in the area of the shoulder, shoulder and elbow of the throwing hand. When trying to make the throw as whip-like as possible, it momentarily causes a huge amount of strain and pressure on the joints I just mentioned. The slow-motion videos show how our limbs move in very unnatural positions from time to time. This brings us to exactly why the supporting muscles should be in extremely good condition.


Let's continue to use the shoulder and shoulder area as an example. By strengthening the muscles in this area with physical training, you will also strengthen the tendons and other tissues along with the muscles. When you go to throw, the muscles of the shoulder and shoulder area know how to tense appropriately during the throw, while protecting the joints from crushing into unnatural and dangerous positions. I claim that this is one of the biggest sources of shoulder and elbow pain in frisbee golfers, as only a few have the muscle support in that area at the required level for throwing.


Perhaps the most common problem area was used as an example, but the same is also true for the back and knee area. Exercising the core body, especially in the direction of the deep muscles and rotations, and for the legs, the front, rear and gluteal muscles provide good support when the front leg is hit on the throwing platform.


3. Current or previous injuries, excessive playing

It is good to remember that each of us is different and has experienced all kinds of things in our lives. Previous injuries and injuries may well have left their mark on our body and they may well cause pain in frisbee golf as well. Injuries and surgeries always leave behind, for example, scar tissue in the area of the injury, which often causes pain when stressed. It is also possible that the player currently has wear and tear or a starting injury in some part of the body, and of course this most often causes pain and limits playing.


Your own amount of playing must also be taken into consideration. If you haven't moved a lot lately, it's worth keeping hobbies and games within reasonable limits at first. In sports, a +10% weekly load increase is often used in the rehabilitation of an injury. This way, the body has time to get used to and adapt slowly and new ailments or excessive training are avoided all of a sudden. Along with playing, you should include other exercise and physical training. This way, the body can better withstand throwing again, and who knows, maybe you'll get more bangs for throwing!


Why say goodbye to passive stretching?

Sometimes in life it's okay to admit you're wrong and let go of old beliefs. When it comes to stretching, this is exactly what it's all about, both for me and for sure for many others. At school, in the media, at the doctor, actually everywhere, stretching has been offered as a way to improve mobility. However, studies of the last decade have shown that passive stretching does not make you a flexible or mobile person. This has also been noticed by, among others, professional gymnasts, who almost never use passive stretching as part of their training today.


Why so?

 Everyone's body is different and some people's bodies are naturally more mobile, while others are more rigid. Like almost all sports, frisbee golf also requires mobility. The mobility that is required in sports is almost always such that the person has to produce force to get to this position and possibly even produce force in that extreme position.


The human nervous system regulates and protects the movement of the human body. If it feels a movement is safe, it gives more range of motion without restricting it. This is where the problem with passive stretching comes into play. When stretching, we try to get more movement by relaxing. However, mobility does not transfer to sports and physical activity because we cannot perform sports with this same idea - by relaxing as relaxed as possible and thus getting more movement. It's good to be aware of this, because even today you see and hear comments about "stretch" too often. If the topic interests you more, I recommend, for example, listening to the Sirkus 2.0 podcast in Finnish on Spotify or reading the latest research information in this field.


Instead of what?

 The fact that passive stretching does not benefit the mobility of sports and exercise does not mean that you should find gloves on the counter. Not at all. The mobility that is needed in the sport can be best trained by using daily/weekly movements as versatile as possible. What does this mean in practice? Simple examples are squatting or squatting, various animal walks, reaching up and turning up, down and to the sides, etc. For example, you can try to open a door handle with your foot from time to time or pick up/put down an object from behind your back without turning towards it. In today's everyday life, everything has been made so easy that we don't necessarily need to use these movements. The examples mentioned above are very easy and simple examples that almost everyone should be able to do. Surprisingly often, however, they are not self-evident, but the one-sidedness of movement that has come with age has strengthened us.


If I had to summarize this matter of practicing mobility, I would say it something like this:

"Our body needs movement without performance techniques or predetermined movements. Use your body parts at the limits of their range of motion so that you have to generate force to get there and out of there. With this kind of mobility training, we teach the nervous system to allow more and more mobility in our body."


Good examples of side sports for mobility and body control:

- gymnastics (stiletto gymnastics) - continuous straining of power output and range of motion

- Wall climbing - produce strength in extreme positions, reaching in different directions

- Dance - improvise your own choreography and strike new movements or dimensions from the body

- Parkour - parkour combines power output, mobility and speed. In addition, you have to come up with different creative solutions to overcome the obstacles


The topic will certainly arouse discussion and emotions, but I hope that this article will be helpful to many of you readers. I myself practiced static / passive stretching every day for three years, but the only benefits from this were calming down and feeling relaxed in the evenings (which I can get in other ways, of course). 


Thanks to all readers, first time!