by Bryan Cahill
Like my 2003 Buell Lightning motorcycle, I still have some good days in me, but I need a lot of maintenance and occasionally, the replacement of an expensive part.
Whether you’re like me and have put in a few miles or you’re more like a late-model Honda CBR, you still need constant maintenance to stay at peak performance.
As I wrote in the 2022 Winter edition of Production Sound & Video, jobs that require raised arms such as boom operating may cause the development of thoracic outlet syndrome or TOS. Symptoms of TOS include pain or weakness in the shoulder and arm, tingling or discomfort in the fingers and arms that tire quickly.
Luke Kelly of Elemental Movement Personal Training recommends a few stretches that can be of benefit to all but especially Boom Operators and performed on or near set as quickly as going to get a cup of coffee. I perform them daily.
First is the thoracic extension:
Hands placed on a wall, a little wider than shoulder width. Think of squeezing your shoulder blades together at the bottom, raising the back of your hand upward and trying to sink your sternum to the wall.
Next is the pec minor stretch:
Stand with one arm against a door frame; start with your shoulder at about a 90-degree angle, now turn your body away from that arm, even turning your toes to face the opposite direction if needed. Repeat with the other arm.
And finally, the scalene stretch:
Open the palms so that they face forward, extend fingertips toward the ground firmly, look over one shoulder and breath. Repeat for the other side.
Additionally, you can add this related technique.
This time one shoulder will raise up toward the ear, and the ear will attempt to meet it. From here, leading from the chin, we turn our head to face the opposite direction of the raised shoulder.
Like regularly changing the oil on my bike, keeping the chain lubed and checking the tires, these stretches can help performance and might help prolong your career.