Let’s begin to talk about the numerous groups of muscles that are specifically used when casting a rod and fly fishing. Just like golf, baseball, football or any other sport, the stronger and more balanced the involved muscles groups are that produce the desired motion the better off you are. We have already talked about aerobic conditioning, balance and leg strength: now for the muscles of your upper extremity, in particular, the shoulder girdle muscles. All of us have flexor and extensor muscles that make up the shoulder girdle. To put it simply, flexors are in the front of your body and extensors are in the back. Because the muscles as I have said are numerous I am going to address them in sections over the next few months. For future reference the muscles I am going to discuss are as follows. In this article the Extensor group
of the posterior shoulder girdle, namely the Trapezius, Rhomboids, Serratus and Levator Scapulae; i
n the next article the Flexor group
of the anterior shoulder girdle, namely, the Pectoralis Minor and Serratus.
Note: A separate discussion on the muscles of the shoulder joint proper is appropriate when we discuss the casting motion in particular and of course that will include the rotator cuff muscles. We then will finish with the muscles of the upper arm, forearm and wrist.
So let’s get started. We have all experienced the anglers crouch as I say, that anxious, fixated-on-the strike, bent over arms extended position while we are fly fishing. This posture, while keeping us dialed into the strike, most of the time causes our upper back to become fatigued, these muscles that I have already mentioned are the Trapezius, Rhomboids, Serratus and the Levator Scapulae. These muscles have a great deal to do with posture and can be strengthened in many ways.
To work on your Trapezius and Levator Scapulae a shoulder shrug is the main way done by lifting your shoulders to your ears and back down as well as rolling them forward and backward. You can also hold your hands above your head and reach for the ceiling. To work the Rhomboids and the Serratus with arms bent at the elbow and parallel to the floor reach or push forward then draw the elbows back and down. Pretend there is a soda can between your shoulder blades and try to squeeze it. Also place hands on a counter top with your feet back behind you and your body at an angle and with arms straight dip body into the counter top and then press away. It is a very small movement but effective. Remember to do one set of 15 repetitions for each movement 3 times a week.
In the last two articles I have given you exercises, most of them can be done with your own body weight. This will help facilitate you doing them and build foundation strength. I will be discussing the theory of Progressive Resistance which can be applied to all the exercises I have and will be giving to you in the future. I will discuss the many other forms of resistance that may be used as well as Core Exercises to round out “Fitness For Fly Fishing,” and it is my hope eventually that this will be the goal of all the members of CWA! Good luck ladies.