Baseball and Softball school programs are finishing up and Summer Ball will be starting soon. How does the Overhead Athlete maintain a strong throwing shoulder and prevent injury?
It’s not uncommon for throwing accuracy and velocity to drop as the shoulder gets fatigued and training effects has been lost later in the season. Training effects are not limited to the shoulder; ie. leg, hip and spine strength, but today, we are going to focus on maintaining scapular strength and upward rotation.
For our athletes and clients, we work shoulder care into our everyday training. This includes mobility and stability work, strength and education. Each athlete is different and we work to identify strengths, weaknesses and movement competency, so we can train effectively and efficiently.
“By now, we are aware of the importance of wall slide variations, back to wall shoulder flexion, and trap raises. However, the message of consistency with these exercises EVERY DAY during the season cannot be overstated. This is akin to brushing your teeth. A habit needs to be established and it then needs to be repeated.” (1)
Band work is one tool in our kit of exercises to maintain shoulder health. Check out our YouTube collection of tubing exercises. Once an athlete has established a good base of strength and scapular movement at the shoulder, we can work the joint with different equipment and in different planes (body positions).
It’s important to note that you do not need a lot of resistance with this exercise. More importantly, you don’t want to fatigue the joint with too much volume (sets & reps), this prevents” faulty compensation patterns leading to superior migration of the humeral head”. (2)
Any exercises should be done with good posture. Chest lifted, chin in, core engaged and shoulders set (not pinched, but no upper trap activation in resting position or rounded at shoulders). (3) Initially, we do bilateral movements to learn the motor pattern while working through the shoulder and scapular movement. Athletes should be assessed throughout their playing season so that adjustments can be made as necessary.