Prevent Softball Shoulder Injuries With a Shoulder Prehab Circuit

September 23, 2011

Throwing a softball overhand is one of the most unnatural motions in sports, so it’s critical to train your shoulders to withstand its rigors and strain. STACK taps into advice from top softball trainer Dunstan Kendrick, who has worked at D1 Sports Training in Knoxville, to shore up your shoulder strength and flexibility.

“[Shoulders] are complex, and their muscle fibers are [compact], so if you don’t give them time to rest [between sets], injuries will occur more quickly than you might see in other muscles,” says Kendrick, who trained 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist and NCAA career strikeout leader Monica Abbott.

To help avoid shoulder injuries, like rotator cuff tears, follow Kendrick’s brief circuit routine, below.

Front Deltoid Raise

  • Holding light plates in hands, assume athletic stance with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width; bend at waist until chest is parallel to floor
  • Bring elbows toward ceiling until upper arms are parallel to floor and in line with shoulders; bend arms to 90-degree angle
  • Externally rotate upper arms bringing backs of hands toward ceiling
  • Lower plates through same motion and repeat for specified reps

Sets/Time/Rest: 3x20 seconds with 60-second rest between sets
Coaching Points: Use 5- to 8-pound plates // Keep thumbs up // Palms will face body until plates are raised behind ears // Isolate target muscles and avoid using momentum

Medial Plate Raise

  • Holding plates in hands, stand straight in athletic stance with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width and arms at sides
  • Raise arms to shoulder level
  • Perform shrug
  • Lower arms to start position and repeat

Sets/Time/Rest: 3x20 seconds with 60-second rest between sets
Coaching Points: Do not raise plates higher than eye or ear level // Reach comfortable, personal peak point to avoid wasting motion

Rear Deltoid Raise

  • Holding plates in hands, assume athletic stance with feet slightly wider than shoulder-width; bend at waist so chest is parallel to ground and arms hang toward ground
  • Raise arms until parallel to ground
  • Lower arms to start position until plates almost touch; repeat

Sets/Time/Rest: 3x20 seconds with 60-second rest between sets
Coaching Points: Palms should face away from body throughout entire movement // Use controlled movements to feel muscles firing

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