The overhead athlete’s shoulder must be strong, flexible, and enduring for optimal performance. Shoulder exercises for the throwing athlete must reflect the specific functional demands required both for injury prevention and rehabilitation. Head Athletic Trainer for the Boston Red Sox, Mike Reinold, DPT, ATC, CSCS, published a “current concepts” paper on preventive and rehabilitative exercises for overhead throwing athletes.
Dr. Reinold and his colleagues outlined 6 principles of injury prevention and treatment programs:
1. Maintain range of motion
2. Maintain strength of the glenohumeral and scapulothoracic musculature
3. Emphasize dynamic stabilization and neuromuscular control
4. Core and lower body training
5. Off-season preparation
6. In-season maintenance
In addition, the authors outlined a rehabilitation progression for shoulder conditions including impingement, instability, and rotator cuff tendonitis. They recommend the use of products such as elastic tubing, exercise balls, soft weights, and band loops throughout the program. By understanding the demands on the throwing shoulder, rehabilitation professionals can improve their clinical decision-making and progressive exercise prescription. For more information on the overhead throwing shoulder, I recommend Dr. Reinold’s book co-written with Kevin Wilk PT and James Andrews MD, The Athlete’s Shoulder. The Thera-Band family of resistance exercise products is an important part of any preventive or rehabilitative exercise program for overhead throwing athletes.
REFERENCE: Reinold MM, Gill TJ, Wilk KE, Andrews JR. 2010. Current Concepts in the Evaluation and Treatment of the Shoulder in Overhead Throwing Athletes, Part 2: Injury Prevention and Treatment. Sports Health. 2:101.