The Dip

Have you ever read something and thought, Wow I need to share this with someone?  That happened to me the other night….

The biggest thing that I have learned on this crazy journey of inventing The Pronator, is how much I really needed to learn.  I also quickly found out how difficult it can be bringing a product to market.  When you try to create something with hopes of truly helping other people, you make the motivation not about you but about all the people you could help!

The solution to the problem was to start reading!! There are so many talented and brilliant people out there that will share their knowledge if you take the time to read about it.  I make every effort to read at least 10 pages every night before I fall asleep.

The book that I am currently reading is called “The Dip” by Seth Godin.  If you have never read anything by Seth Godin, you need to start.  This book is all about the lull in life that makes most people quit; he calls it the Dip.  This happens with anything worth pursuing in life; our careers, relationships.

Think about professional sports, how great would it be if you could wake up and get paid millions of dollars to play a game you love!  The Dip happens when your friends are out at night and you are in the weight room getting better.  The Dip is when things get so tough that it is easier to quit than push through.

How do you know if a Dip is worth fighting through?   The answer is what lays on the other side.   If you can fight through the dip and come out as the best in the world, then keep fighting.  If not then time to re-evaluate.  Things get tough for a reason, either to challenge you to truly be the best or make you realize the hard truth…it’s not meant to be.  The really difficult things is figuring that out.

My wife and I made it through the Dip of dating to now be married for 5 amazing years and have 2 beautiful children.  The thousands of girls (maybe 3) before her were a cliff, we weren’t going to be the best for each other.  I knew my wife would be so we both stuck with it and invested in each other to make it through the hard times!

What about your job or your career?  Come in a little early or stay a little late, take that extra project and make a difference.  Putting in the hours now can lead to big things down the road.

The thing that really applied to me was Seth Godin’s quote on manufacturing:  “It is easy and fun to start building something in your garage. (true)  It’s difficult and expensive to buy an injection mold or ramp up for large-scale production.(so damn true)  The time and effort and cost of ramping up your operation create the Dip.  The Dip keeps the supply of stuff down and insulates those brave enough to invest in scaling their production.”

When you hit a road block that shakes you to the core and makes you want to quit, stop for a minute and think about what is on the other side.  You owe it to your future self to quit when there is a cliff and persevere when you have a chance at something truly special.  Nothing great in life is ever free.

So here’s to all of you out there fighting through your Dip with laser focus on coming out the other side as the Best in the World…I will see you on the other side!

What is your current Dip and how is going?  Shoot me an email or a quick message on facebook.

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Simple Exercises to Prevent Elbow Ligament Injuries

IMG_2949I was reading an interesting post by Dr. James Buffi, a bio-medical engineer that specialized in pitching mechanics.  (@drivelinebases)  The post talks technically about muscles and their function to protect ligament/bone structures.  This is a crucial relationship for our bodies.  I always like to think of this relationship like a radio tower.  They are made of steel, which is really strong, but they can be hundreds of feet tall.  Without support cables branching out the wind would blow them over.  This is how our bodies work, the muscle supports and protects our ligaments.

One of the things Dr. Buffi analyzes is the forearm flexor-pronator muscles.  These are the muscles that bend your wrist down (flexors) and turn your hand from palm up to palm down (pronators).   In the past couple years there has been several studies that show the positive relationship of these muscles to elbow stability. (see references below)

By keeping the flexor-pronator muscles strong you are increasing your body’s natural protective system for your elbow while throwing.  Increased elbow strength = increase elbow stability.  The force placed through your elbow during a 100 MPH fastball is incredible.

Here are a couple really simple exercises to build flexor and pronator strength:

Lets start easy with wrist flexion:

Place your arm on a stable surface, with your palm up and hand over the edge of the surface. Holding a dumbbell, move your hand from the extended to flexed position.   
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Here is another simple exercise to build grip strength.  Our flexors are largely responsible for grip strength.  These can be done with a grip strengthener.grip strengther

 

There are not many good ways to build Pronation strength so lets makes things more interesting by using The Pronator!

Pronation/Supination with a Dumbbell: Start with arm supported and wrist off the edge of a surface. While holding The Pronator, rotate your hand palm up to palm down. Repeat this motion for chosen repetitions.

To increase bicep activation during this motion, try it with your arm unsupported:

In the article Dr. Buffi talks about concentric and eccentric strength.  These are two very different activation patterns that our muscles utilize.  To increase your chances of preventing injury it is important that you challenge a muscle with both types.  The only way to do this through a full range is with resistance bands.

I find the best way to do this is the exercise below.

Pronation/Supination Resistance band: For a full eccentric and concentric resisted motion, use a resistance band. Start with your arm supported and wrist off the edge of a surface. Rotate your hand away from the resistance band and return it slowly in a controlled manner.

Now do your exercises and keep your elbow safe!!

 

  1. Lin, F., et al., Muscle contribution to elbow joint valgus stability.Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 2007. 16(6): p. 795-802.
  2. Seiber, K., et al., The role of the elbow musculature, forearm rotation, and elbow flexion in elbow stability: an in vitro study.Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 2009. 18(2): p. 260-8.
  3. Udall, J.H., et al., Effects of flexor-pronator muscle loading on valgus stability of the elbow with an intact, stretched, and resected medial ulnar collateral ligament.Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery, 2009. 18(5): p. 773-778.
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Don’t ever underestimate places that you paid 150K

I don’t know about you but I spent more on my education than my first home.  As I know this is the case for many new Graduates out there, but it was worth every penny.

I would never trade the amazing experience and education that I received at Marquette University.  I attended School there from 2001 to 2007 and somehow earned my Human Biology Bachelor of Science and Doctorate of Physical Therapy degrees.

The Physical Therapy program was ranked 16th in the nation by US News and Reports the year I graduated.   No easy feat, that was accomplished by all the brilliance and hard-work the staff put into teaching every single day.  Did you ever have a teacher that made learning fun? The staff at Marquette was full of professor that took a seriously arduous curriculum and served it with a side of humor.  The educational foundation and friendships that I made in the 6 years at Marquette was the catalyst that allowed me to be where I am today.  I found my true passion for understanding the musculo-skeletal system and helping people live better lives.  I still think that Physical Therapy is a special profession.  Our job is to help people get back to doing the things they love, nothing more and nothing less.   So every penny of that 150K was well spent.

I had one professor in particular that would always point out smart ideas in the market, whether it was an invention or a savvy business model.  So naturally, when I started developing The Pronator I reach out to that professor.  This particular professor has an engineering degree, a PhD and his Doctorate of Physical Therapy…. needless to say he is a lot more intelligent than I am.  He helped me early on in the concept phase of The Pronator by coordinating a focus group with some of the current students.  From that focus group we talked and I donate prototypes for the students do an Independent Senior Projects.  This was a great opportunity for the students to develop and conduct the real research on a physical product.

I think this is something that most start-ups overlook.  There are so many colleges and tech schools looking for real world applications that there students can learn from.  This is a great situation for both parties.  The students get practical experience and the entrepreneurs gets unbiased research on their product.   I was excited to work with my Alma Mater on these projects and the cost to me was only a couple prototypes.

I really want to encourage people to give back and stay involved in the people or organizations that helped you develop into the person you are today.

And also if you have an idea look into your local Universities and Technical Colleges.  There are more opportunities there than you could ever imagine.  I promise.

Here is one of the powerpoints the student made: The Pronator-marquette study

 

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The Inaugural Post

One of the main reason I wanted to start a blog on my website is to share some of the amazing content that was created by other bloggers about The Pronator.  I needed a way to share links to a couple amazing videos that Mike Reinold and Erson Religioso posted about The Pronator.

The very first person to do a video review was Mike Reinold.  He was the Physical Therapist and Athletic Trainer for the Boston Red Sox’s.  Now he owns a private clinic and travels the country sharing his amazing wisdom with other therapist.   If you are looking for well researched exercises and treatment ideas, you need to spend some time on his website.

Please watch this video for his review.  He demonstrates one of the best exercises to use with The Pronator.  This exercises is hard to mimic with other devices.

The next amazing Physical Therapist to share The Pronator with the world was Erson Religioso.  He is an amazing clinician with a treatment philosophy that is unlike any other.  His approach to dysfunction is different from what most schools teach and is derived from clinic experience.   He also runs a great blog with inspirational content that is geared to manual Physical Therapist ( I am a fan) called The Manual Therapist: The Blog of the Eclectic Approach.

Here are some of the cool exercises that came up with:

 

Thank you for taking the time to read/watch my first blog post.   I am not sure where I will be going from here but check back or sign up to get future post.

Also if you have any suggestions for blog topics I would love to here them!!

Cheers,

JR

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