Lifting Considerations for Athletes in “Overhead Sports”

December 28, 2010

Must See Sports Injuries Videos

Every year, coaches tell me one of their top concerns is making sure their athletes stay injury-free. Athletes who compete in “overhead sports”—those that use overhead movements during gameplay, like baseball, softball, volleyball and tennis—must work particularly hard to prevent injury in the vulnerable shoulder region.

As a sports performance professional at the collegiate level, I have my athletes perform prehab as opposed to rehab work. By performing prehab exercises, we try to prevent lower- and upper-body injuries and thus the need for rehab.

With my softball and tennis teams, I begin each workout with prehab shoulder exercises that are both multi-directional and multi-planar, meaning they work all surrounding musculature. These exercises use minimal weight, and the athletes can move with ease.

When training these “overhead sports,” I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. It’s important for my athletes to realize that even though they play an overhead sport, their power and strength are still generated from the ground up. Lower body and core strength give athletes the necessary tools to execute overhead movements. We do many single-leg and -arm exercises, which develop needed strength and stability, but also help prevent injury.

For tennis and softball, some of my recommended exercises are:

Single-Leg DB Lunges: Keep foot on bench, chest up and knee facing ground

Single-Leg Box Squat: With one leg lifted off ground, sit back to box, then drive up with single leg

One-Arm DB Walk and Press: Walk the length of the weight room pressing DBs with every other step

One-Arm DB Bench with Feet in Air: Keep feet in air and place free hand on hip, not on bench

Ben Fleming
- Ben Fleming is an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the University of Central Florida. In addition to assisting with the Knights’ football program, he...
Ben Fleming
- Ben Fleming is an assistant strength and conditioning coach for the University of Central Florida. In addition to assisting with the Knights’ football program, he...
Must See
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 4,911,355
Derrick Rose Explains How He Stays Positive
Views: 6,060,319
Dwyane Wade Leads by Example
Views: 6,816,610

Featured Videos

Abby Wambach's Med Ball Core Workout Views: 187,099
Kevin Love's Cone Hop Basketball Shooting Drill Views: 81,330
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 5: Fundamentals Training Views: 227,291
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Charging Ground Balls With Skip Schumaker
Views: 29,852
Yoga for Athletes: Crow Pose
Views: 3,539,390
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,865,925
Evan Longoria's Hitting Drills
Views: 9,798,784
Johny Hendricks Workout Overview
Views: 822,569

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

The 8 Most Dangerous Exercises for Your Shoulders

6 Steps for Recovering From a Season-Ending Injury

Connective Tissue: The Key to Preventing ACL Injuries

3 Ways to Prevent the Most Common Hockey Injury

Pectoral Tendon Ruptures and Injury Prevention

STUDY: Imaginary Exercise Helps You Recover Faster From Injury

Sports Hernias: What You Need to Know

2 Ways to Fix Anterior Pelvic Tilt

How to Train With Running Blisters

Prevent ACL Injuries With This Hamstring-Focused Workout

Eliminate Elbow Pain with These 3 Methods

How to Treat Piriformis Syndrome

5 Tips to Intelligently Train Through Lower Back Pain

Basketball Players: Prevent Ankle Sprains With These 3 Exercises

4 Sports Massage Techniques to Relieve Tight Muscles

How to Keep Your Feet Healthy On and Off the Field

6 Ways to Prevent Common Sports Injuries

Predicting the Impact of DeMarco Murray's Hand Injury

5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Muscle Injuries

5 Bodyweight Exercises to Prevent Baseball Injuries

How to Prevent Baseball Injuries During the Off-Season

How to Prevent Injuries With 3 Yoga Poses

The Secret Weapon Powering Stephen Curry's Resurgence

Achilles Tendon Ruptures: Prevention and Recovery

6 Simple Tips to Prevent Knee Injuries

4 Strategies to Prevent Tommy John Surgery

7 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Quarterbacks: 4 Tips to Keep Your Throwing Shoulder Healthy

Bulletproof Your Body with 5 Easy Injury Prevention Exercises

The Future of Sports Injury Rehabilitation

10 Ways to Fix Back Pain

Coaches: Prevent Injuries With the Recovery Management Tool

What You Need to Know About Tiger Woods' Back Injury

8 of the Most Ridiculous Off-Field Athlete Injuries of All Time

Impressive Advances in ACL Rehab

Outsmart Injury With These 4 Predictive Tests

Evan Gattis's Protection-Enhanced Catcher's Helmet

5 Exercises to Prevent ACL Tears

Megan Rapinoe

Tips for Working Out With a Hand or Arm Injury

Avoid Low-Back Pain With These 7 In-Season Exercises

3 Steps to Prevent Soccer ACL Injuries

Why Strengthening This Muscle May Fix Knee Pain