Injury Risk From Returning To Sports Too Fast

return to sports after covid injury risks

Detraining during injury and a quick return will increase injury risk

The injury risk while returning to sports after time off is greater than most coaches realize.

That time off may be anything from offseasons, in-season holidays, or unfortunately injury.

Preventing injuries has to be one of the highest priorities for coaches, teams, and organizations as athletes return to sports after time off. 

What’s the point of getting back to practice, if our athletes are getting hurt and missing sport anyway?

The detraining they have gone through means the athlete’s returning aren’t the same ones who left.  Their physical capacities will be different.

So how do we know if they will be at risk?

Return To Sport Lessons For Elite Sports

We know athletes’ have increased risks when returning after significant injury or surgery.  And we aren’t talking about just reinjuring the same body part, but the increased risk of other injuries since they haven’t been training.

We also can look at data from years in pro sports with shorter seasons and lockouts.  Consistently the number of injuries is much higher when the athletes return.

One of the risk factors in all these scenarios is the accumulation of fatigue.  As athletes fatigue, their injury risks increase.  The athletes coming off lockdown restrictions will fatigue faster.  They aren’t in the same shape to train and have a lower ability to recover.

If athletes have been consistently trying to maintain at least 25% of their normal training volume, consider how detrained they are over just 8 weeks.

Even if you ramp up training over the weeks at 40%, 60%, 80% and 100% the gap will be large and increase their risk of injury.

This also reinforces a key point about rehab and training during injury; maintain as much as possible. By keeping more training volume while injured you’re going to bounce back faster.

Stress As A Stimulus

Another factor in the injury risk returning to sports is how quickly they ramp up training again.

Practice, training, and competitions are a stimulus and stress for the athlete’s body.  We want some stimulus, so they adapt, putting some savings back in that bank account.  This is the increase in their readiness.  That’s the overall level of their abilities from training.

However, that same stimulus, when taken too far, overloads the athlete beyond their ability to adapt.  This level of stress can lead to immediate fatigue, which increases injury risk.  Remember, the athletes will likely have a diminished ability to recover as fast.  Both within a single practice session and between sessions.

When the stress overload is too high, it also damages tissues.  That damage may be a small injury that adds up to those chronic, overuse injuries.  It could also manifest as acute muscle strains and tendon sprains.

The Acute To Chronic Workload Ratio In Return To Sports

In elite sports, a lot of research and effort have gone into understanding how changes in training workload influence injury risk.  The general consensus is that if the volume of training drops too much, athletes detrain. Then their injury risk can go up.   If it increases too fast, then injury risks increase

For those planning the return to sport, this is an essential concept.

Chronic Training Load

Consider two measures of the training workload.  The first we call chronic workload.  This is the average workload that has been happening over time.  Often we look at the average of the last eight weeks, with some extra importance in the most recent weeks.

This should make intuitive sense for a coach.  The work, an athlete, has been doing in training over several weeks is what they can tolerate.  It’s what the athlete has adapted to.   Some practices are intense and some less severe, but it’s the average accumulated workload that they have adapted to.

Think about what this means for athletes right now.  They are getting drastically less workload.  Even if they are putting in their best efforts, they are getting far less than the total they were getting from practice, training, and competition before.

The workload is also relatively specific to the type and intensity of the work.  The workload from 60 minutes of high-intensity practice or games, is much different than 60 minutes of bodyweight training and modified conditioning programs.

So as each week of sports lockdown progresses, the athlete’s average for the last eight weeks is dropping.  Their chronic workload number is going down.  

Acute Training Load

On the other hand, acute training workload is what they are going through now.  This is typically looked at as the last 5-7 days.  Some days may be harder, others more relaxed, but the average is what the athlete’s bodies are working to recover from and adapt to.

The relationship to injury comes in when we see a significant gap in the acute and chronic training load.  This relationship is called the acute to chronic workload ratio (ACWR). 

ACWR – Acute:Chronic Workload Ratio

The average acute training load (last 5-7 days) divided by the average chronic training load (last 6-8 weeks).

CHRONIC Workload = 100 units

ACUTE Workload = 110 units (a 10% increase this week)

ACWR = 1.1

Any time there is an increase in the training load, we see the acute: chronic greater than 1.  Although the exact number varies by sport and finer details of workload, we still know when that number gets too big we have a problem.

Coaches have been pushing athletes for decades to train more and train harder, so they adapt. A jump in the training load itself won’t automatically increase injury risk.

On the other hand, it’s not hard to understand that if you keep doubling the amount of training every week, at some point, they are going to break down.

This graph is from Tim Gabbett, The training—injury prevention paradox: should athletes be training smarter and harder?, British Journal of Sports Medicine, 2016.

While the precise ratio may be debatable, the concept isn’t. Interestingly, lowering training too much also started to increase injury risk. With an injury athletes often end up far off the left side of this graph.

Recent research in pro sports has explored this ratio.  A few years ago, there was a big push based on some excellent research that a ratio of around 1.5 increased injury risk.  

The exact number is not what we are worried about per se because the athlete’s age and level and the sport have an impact. What does matter is the basic premise; increasing workload too quickly leads to elevated injury risk.

Coaches, if you return athletes to practice without a progressive plan, and follow your normal approach, you might be putting your athletes in harm’s way.

Athletes will have a greater injury risk when returning to sports

Most athletes are looking to get back into training and competition quickly.

However, in doing so, we must recognize and plan for the unique situation we are in as coaches, and organizations.

So be proactive. If you’re not back to practice yet, get your athletes some help and programming that addresses their specific needs when they return.

Get with a knowledgeable sports performance professional who can help you put a plan together to ramp back up as quickly as possible.

The vital point for sports coaches is that if you increase the training load too fast, the injury risk returning to sports goes up.

Sauna Protocols for Your Best Performance

In the pursuit of peak performance, we should first focus on diet, exercise, and sleep. But deliberate heat exposure, specifically through sauna use, may help us achieve our goals. Its another powerful tool we can use.

Sauna use has been linked to a myriad of health benefits, from boosting growth hormone levels to enhancing endurance and promoting overall wellness.

So, in this article, we’ll explore specific sauna protocols for different goals, drawing on insights from recent research on sauna use and the effects.

Sauna Protocols for Heat Acclimation & Endurance

With the 2022 FIFA World Cup being played in the heat of Qatar and the predictions for a very hot 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the sports science community was interested in heat acclimation. Because of this, research increased on sauna for heat acclimation.

Passive heat acclimation through sauna use can help improve performance in both hot and temperate weather. Three weeks of consistent sauna use can give a slight boost to endurance performance.

Protocol: Spend 15-30 minutes in the sauna as close to after training as possible, followed by 5 minutes of passive rest or a shower. Repeat this for 1-2 rounds, 3-4 times a week for 3 weeks, aiming for a total of 30 minutes.

Scientific Evidence: There is a growing body of good evidence (1,2,3,4,18) . Studies have demonstrated that passive heat acclimation through sauna use can improve performance in both hot and temperate climates.

Explanation: Heat acclimation increases plasma volume and blood flow to the heart and muscles, improving cardiovascular efficiency and reducing the strain on the body during physical activity. Internal temperature regulation is related to fatigue and managing this may delay fatigue during any prolonged activity.

Sauna Protocols for Wellness & Longevity

Chronic sauna use has been linked to decreased cardiovascular risk and all-cause mortality. Therefore, it has significant potential to increase health and wellness. The benefits increase with more sessions per week.

Protocol: Spend 12-20 minutes in the sauna, followed by 5-10 minutes in a shower or cold plunge. Repeat this for 1-3 rounds, 2-4 times a week, aiming to accumulate at least 1 hour per week.

Scientific Evidence: There is strong evidence for these benefits with very large and long term studies. Chronic sauna use has been associated with decreased cardiovascular risk and all-cause mortality (5,6,7,8,9)

Explanation: Regular sauna use can improve cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure and arterial stiffness, and increasing heart rate variability. These effects, combined with the stress-reducing properties of sauna use, can contribute to overall wellness and longevity.

Sauna Protocols for Muscle Soreness, Mental Health & Mood

Sauna exposure can decrease muscle soreness and reduce stress as indicated by Heart Rate Variability (HRV). Users also report higher mood and relaxation after sauna sessions.

Protocol: Spend 12-20 minutes in the sauna, followed by 5-10 minutes in a shower or cold plunge. Repeat this for 1-2 rounds as needed.

Scientific Evidence: There is a growing body of research for a variety of benefits (Sauna exposure can reduce physical stress and improve recovery (10, 12, 13, 14, 15) and improve mood and cognitive function (11,16, 17).

Explanation: The heat from the sauna can help to relax tight muscles and relieve soreness. Additionally, the relaxing environment of the sauna can help to reduce stress and improve mood.

Sauna Protocols for Growth Hormone Boost

Sauna sessions can provide an immediate boost to growth hormone levels, which is particularly beneficial when healing an injury or during a hard training phase. However, the effects decrease with repeat use, so it’s best to use this protocol periodically.

Protocol: 25-30 minutes in the sauna, followed by 5-10 minutes of passive rest or a shower. Repeat this for 2-4 rounds occasionally, aiming for a total of 1-2 hours.

Scientific Evidence: The evidence is limited currently. Some research has shown that sauna use can lead to an immediate increase in growth hormone levels (19,20,21).

Explanation: The heat stress from the sauna stimulates the pituitary gland to release growth hormone, which aids in tissue repair and growth. This can be particularly beneficial during periods of intense training or injury recovery.

Additional Sauna Protocol Tips

Health Concerns

Remember, if you have health conditions or concerns, consult a health professional to see if sauna use is appropriate for you. Males trying to conceive should generally avoid sauna use and those with cardiac health issues or pregnant should consult their physician (21).


Hydration is key when using the sauna. As you sweat, your body loses water and essential electrolytes.

To replenish these losses, it’s recommended to drink at least 16 ounces of water for every 10 minutes you spend in the sauna. Remember to hydrate well before and after your sauna session.


Your body temperature naturally fluctuates throughout the day in line with your circadian rhythm. To align with your body’s natural cooling phase, consider using the sauna during the afternoon or evening. This “post-cooling sauna effect” can aid in promoting restful sleep at night.

Physiological Costs of Sauna Use

Sauna use is a form of positive stress on the body, known as hormesis. While it can lead to various benefits, it’s important to remember that it is still a form of stress and has a cost (22, 23).

That means your overall training plan needs to account for this added stress. After a sauna session, your body needs time to recover and return to its normal state so avoid use at least 48 hours before competition.

Sauna Protocols Can Be A Powerful Tool

In conclusion, deliberate heat exposure through sauna use can be a powerful tool in your health and performance arsenal.

By understanding and applying the right protocols, you can harness the benefits of the sauna to meet your specific goals. As always, remember to listen to your body, stay hydrated, and enjoy the heat!


Sauna use can provide a range of health benefits, including boosting growth hormone levels, enhancing endurance, and promoting overall wellness. Specific protocols can be used to achieve different goals:

  • Growth Hormone Boost: 25-30 minutes in the sauna, followed by 5-10 minutes of passive rest or a shower. Repeat this for 2-4 rounds occasionally.
  • Heat Acclimation & Endurance: 15-30 minutes in the sauna after training, followed by 5 minutes of passive rest or a shower. Repeat this for 1-2 rounds, 3-4 times a week for 3 weeks.
  • Wellness & Longevity: 12-20 minutes in the sauna, followed by 5-10 minutes in a shower or cold plunge. Repeat this for 1-3 rounds, 2-4 times a week.
  • Muscle Soreness, Mental Health & Mood: 12-20 minutes in the sauna, followed by 5-10 minutes in a shower or cold plunge. Repeat this for 1-2 rounds as needed.
  • Physiological Load: Sauna use imparts a cost. Therefore, it should be considered in the overall training load.  It should also be avoided at least 48 hours before competition.

Remember to consult a health professional before starting any new health regimen, stay hydrated, and enjoy the heat!

  1. M. Perez-Quintero, et. al., Three weeks of passive and intervallic heat at high temperatures (100±2 °C) in a sauna improve acclimation to external heat (42±2 °C) in untrained males, Journal of Thermal Biology, Volume 96, 2021.
  2. Pokora I, et. al, The Effect of Medium-Term Sauna-Based Heat Acclimation (MPHA) on Thermophysiological and Plasma Volume Responses to Exercise Performed under Temperate Conditions in Elite Cross-Country Skiers. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2021 Jun 27;18(13):6906
  3. Bartolomé I, et. al., 3-Week passive acclimation to extreme environmental heat (100± 3 °C) in dry sauna increases physical and physiological performance among young semi-professional football players. J Therm Biol. 2021 Aug;100:103048
  4. Heathcote Storme L., Passive Heating: Reviewing Practical Heat Acclimation Strategies for Endurance Athletes, Frontiers in Physiology, VOLUME 9, 2018
  5. Rhonda P. Patrick, Teresa L. Johnson, Sauna use as a lifestyle practice to extend healthspan, Experimental Gerontology, Volume 154, 2021
  6.  Hugo Gravel, et. al., Acute Vascular Benefits of Finnish Sauna Bathing in Patients With Stable Coronary Artery Disease, Canadian Journal of Cardiology, Volume 37, Issue 3, 2021
  7. Laukkanen, T., Kunutsor, S.K., Khan, H. et al. Sauna bathing is associated with reduced cardiovascular mortality and improves risk prediction in men and women: a prospective cohort study. BMC Med 16, 219 (2018)
  8. Laukkanen T, Khan H, Zaccardi F, Laukkanen JA. Association Between Sauna Bathing and Fatal Cardiovascular and All-Cause Mortality Events. JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(4):542–548.
  9. Setor K. Kunutsor, Hassan Khan, Tanjaniina Laukkanen & Jari A. Laukkanen Joint associations of sauna bathing and cardiorespiratory fitness on cardiovascular and all-cause mortality risk: a long-term prospective cohort study, Annals of Medicine, 50:2, 139-
  10. Paweł Sutkowy, Alina Woźniak, Tomasz Boraczyński, Celestyna Mila-Kierzenkowska & MichałBoraczyński (2014) The effect of a single Finnish sauna bath after aerobic exercise on the oxidative status in healthy men, Scandinavian Journal of Clinical and Laborat
  11. Margarita Cernych, Andrius Satas & Marius Brazaitis (2018) Post-sauna recovery enhances brain neural network relaxation and improves cognitive economy in oddball tasks, International Journal of Hyperthermia, 35:1, 375-382,
  12. Ahokas EK, Ihalainen JK, Hanstock HG, Savolainen E, Kyröläinen H. A post-exercise infrared sauna session improves recovery of neuromuscular performance and muscle soreness after resistance exercise training. Biol Sport. 2023 Jul;40(3):681-689
  13. Mero A, Tornberg J, Mäntykoski M, Puurtinen R. Effects of far-infrared sauna bathing on recovery from strength and endurance training sessions in men. Springerplus. 2015 Jul 7;4:321
  14. Ahokas EK, Ihalainen JK, Hanstock HG, Savolainen E, Kyröläinen H. A post-exercise infrared sauna session improves recovery of neuromuscular performance and muscle soreness after resistance exercise training. Biol Sport. 2023 Jul;40(3):681-689
  15. Ihsan Mohammed , et. al., Skeletal Muscle Signaling Following Whole-Body and Localized Heat Exposure in Humans, Frontiers in Physiology, VOLUME 11, 2020
  16. Chang M, Ibaraki T, Naruse Y, Imamura Y. A study on neural changes induced by sauna bathing: Neural basis of the “totonou” state. PLoS One. 2023 Nov 27;18(11)
  17. Laatikainen, T., Salminen, K., Kohvakka, A. et al. Response of plasma endorphins, prolactin and catecholamines in women to intense heat in a sauna. Europ. J. Appl. Physiol. 57, 98–102 (1988)
  18. Kirby NV, Lucas SJE, Armstrong OJ, Weaver SR, Lucas RAI. Intermittent post-exercise sauna bathing improves markers of exercise capacity in hot and temperate conditions in trained middle-distance runners. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2021 Feb;121(2):621-635
  19. Foued Ftaiti F. et. al., Effect of hyperthermia and physical activity on circulating growth hormone. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism. 2008 33(5): 880-887
  20. Leppäluoto J, Huttunen P, Hirvonen J, Väänänen A, Tuominen M, Vuori J. Endocrine effects of repeated sauna bathing. Acta Physiol Scand. 1986 Nov;128(3):467-70
  21. Ilpo T. Huhtaniemi, Jari A. Laukkanen, Endocrine effects of sauna bath, Current Opinion in Endocrine and Metabolic Research, Volume 11:15-20, 2020.
  22. Rissanen JA, Häkkinen A, Laukkanen J, Kraemer WJ, Häkkinen K. Acute Neuromuscular and Hormonal Responses to Different Exercise Loadings Followed by a Sauna. J Strength Cond Res. 2020 Feb;34(2):313-322
  23. Skorski S, Schimpchen J, Pfeiffer M, Ferrauti A, Kellmann M, Meyer T. Effects of Postexercise Sauna Bathing on Recovery of Swim Performance. Int J Sports Physiol Perform. 2019 Dec 22;15(7):934-94

5 Keys To Using Anti-Inflammatories for Muscle & Tendon Injuries

We never want to see our clients hurt, but if you lead and active and fit lifestyle for decades, some injuries will probably creep in. This guest post from Vive Recovery Studio addresses keys to using anti-inflammatory medications for muscle & tendon injuries.

When faced with an injury, utilizing NSAIDs (learn about using NSAIDS here) can play a crucial role in your recovery journey. They are an effective pain reliever and anti-inflammatory for muscle and tendon injuries.

These medications are a powerful tool in managing pain and reducing inflammation, ultimately allowing you to move more comfortably and participate in your rehabilitation exercises.

However, it’s essential to use anti-Inflammatories for muscle & tendon injuries as directed, seek guidance from healthcare professionals, and place a strong emphasis on your overall well-being.

How Inflammation Can Impeded Healing

Prolonged or excessive inflammation can impede the healing process and the return to normal function.

When inflammation persists, it continues to release damaging chemicals that harm healthy tissue, extending pain and hindering the body’s natural repair mechanisms.

Additionally, chronic inflammation can lead to the formation of scar tissue, limiting flexibility and mobility.

Properly managing inflammation, which may include the responsible use of NSAIDs, helps strike a balance that supports efficient healing and a faster return to regular activities.

Get Back To The Activities You Love

When used responsibly, NSAIDs can empower you to make a swift and successful return to the activities you’re passionate about.

Incorporating them into your rehabilitation plan can be a game-changer, ensuring that you’re back on track to doing what you love in no time.

Using Anti-Inflammatories for Muscle & Tendon Injuries

Is Icing Injuries Good or Bad: Debunking the Cold Therapy Conundrum

Guest Post from: Vive Recovery Studio

Is icing really the cool solution for your injury? Let’s break it down for competitive athletes and recreational adult athletes who are grappling with pain or injury and questioning whether icing injuries is good or bad? The answer may surprise you.

The Icing Dilemma: Two Perspectives

Is icing injuries good or bad

Contrary to the pro-icing camp, another perspective emphasizes the importance of allowing the body’s natural healing process to unfold without interference. This viewpoint argues that ice disrupts the natural inflammatory stages necessary for optimal tissue healing.

The Argument For Icing: Quick Relief and Continuity

One school of thought advocates for icing injuries as a means to reduce pain and excessive inflammation. The ice allows athletes to continue their sports or therapeutic activities.

Proponents argue that the immediate application of ice can provide immediate relief, numbing the affected area and enabling athletes to push through discomfort. They believe that by constricting blood vessels, ice helps control swelling and prevents further damage.

Ken Vick, a high-performance director in elite sports, explains, “We do know that ice won’t speed up the healing of injuries. In fact, it probably slows healing down. However, it can be an effective tool for managing pain and inflammation in the acute stage of an injury. It gives athletes a chance to get in the game sooner or so they can do the rehab work to get back.”

The Argument Against Icing: Trusting the Body’s Healing Process

Supporters contend that inflammation is a vital part of the body’s innate response, bringing crucial nutrients and cells to the injured site for repair.

Dr. Gabe Mirkin, the physician who popularized the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) protocol, has revised his stance on using ice for injuries. He stated, “Coaches have used my ‘R.I.C.E.’ guideline for decades, but now it appears that both ice and complete rest may delay healing, instead of helping.”

The Reality: Context is Key

Now, before we plunge into the icy depths or entirely abandon the frosty ritual, it’s essential to understand the broader context. The decision to ice or not to ice hinges on individual circumstances, goals, and the nature of the injury itself. Let’s shed light on this nuanced reality.

Goal-Driven Approach: What Do You Seek?

When considering whether to ice an injury, it’s essential to identify your primary goal. If your utmost priority is to reduce pain and inflammation swiftly, allowing you to continue training or participating in competitions, then ice might offer a viable solution. This approach prioritizes immediate activity over optimal tissue healing.

On the other hand, if you have the luxury of time and rest, and your main objective is to achieve optimal tissue healing, then giving nature its course without relying heavily on ice might be the wiser choice. By allowing inflammation to progress naturally, you support the body’s intricate healing mechanisms, potentially leading to better long-term outcomes.

From his perspective working with athletes Vick advises, “Consider your goals and the demands of your sport or activities. If you need to be active in the short term, ice can provide temporary relief. However, if long-term tissue healing is paramount, be patient. Skip the ice and adopt a movement-based approach to let your body heal naturally.”


In cases of more significant injuries, such as Grade 2/3 sprains, strains, or fractures, it’s a good practice of using ice during the initial 2-3 days before transitioning to a rehabilitation phase without it. During this early stage, ice can play a beneficial role in reducing pain, swelling, and inflammation.

By applying ice intermittently for short periods, athletes can gain immediate relief and create a more favorable environment for the subsequent stages of rehabilitation.

However, after a few days the focus should shift towards active rehabilitation exercises and other modalities that promote tissue healing and functional recovery. This approach allows athletes to harness the benefits of ice during the acute phase while gradually shifting the focus to more dynamic and active interventions for long-term recovery.

Embracing a Balanced Perspective

While the debate over whether icing injuries is good or bad rages on, it’s crucial to keep perspective. Remember that sports medicine is a dynamic field, continuously evolving with new insights and research. As an athlete, you have the power to make informed decisions based on the best available evidence.

It’s important to seek guidance from qualified healthcare professionals who specialize in sports medicine. They can assess your injury’s unique characteristics, understand your goals, and provide personalized recommendations tailored to your needs.

And keep in mind that there are other strategies to reduce excessive or chronic inflammation. Pneumatic compression, red light therapy and dietary strategies can all be used as well without interfering with the healing process.

Remember the ultimate goal is to support your recovery and get back in the game stronger than before. So, stay informed, consult the experts, and listen to your body. By doing so, you’ll make the coolest decision for your injury journey.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only. and It not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare professional or sports medicine specialist for personalized recommendations.

Is Lifting Overhead Safe? It Depends.

No gym, now is a good time to workout doors

As a physical therapist specializing in sports rehabilitation, I often encounter questions and concerns regarding the safety and effectiveness of overhead shoulder exercises.

Today, I want to address these concerns and shed light on the importance of incorporating these exercises into your fitness routine. So let’s dive in!

The Power of Overhead Shoulder Exercises

Overhead lifting exercises, such as shoulder presses, pull-ups, and barbell snatches, have gained popularity among fitness enthusiasts and athletes alike. And for good reason!

They are fantastic for building muscle and strength in your shoulders, contributing to overall athletic performance.

Think about it – whether you’re reaching for something on a high shelf, loading your gear onto a roof rack, or hanging a picture frame, these daily activities often mimic the motion of an overhead press.

By incorporating overhead shoulder exercises, you can enhance your functional movement patterns and perform these activities with ease.

And its part of our design. Human shoulder complexes are designed to be able to function in a really big range of motion. That includes overhead.

Understanding the “It Depends” Factor

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: the notion that overhead exercises are inherently bad or should be avoided. They are not.

However, there’s more to it.

Whether overhead exercises are suitable for you depends on a variety of factors. I want to emphasize that I am not advocating for blindly performing these exercises despite pain or shoulder issues.

Therefore, to answer this question, we need to take a more pragmatic approach and consider the bigger picture.

Mobility Matters

First and foremost, you must have adequate overhead mobility. Can you fully raise your arm overhead without arching your back, shrugging, or experiencing any discomfort?

If not, it’s crucial to address any mobility limitations before attempting overhead exercises.

This lack of mobility may stem from various areas, including the shoulder joint, the scapula-thoracic joint, or the thoracic spine. While many people focus on the shoulder itself, often the scapular muscles and lats are bigger culprits.

Additionally, muscular imbalances can also contribute to limited overhead mobility.

Remember, if you can’t lift your arm overhead comfortably, it’s best to work on improving your mobility before diving into overhead presses.

Stability is Key

scapular control is essential for overhead lifting

Another critical factor is shoulder and spine stability. To handle the demands of overhead lifting, you need adequate stability in your shoulder girdle.

This stability is achieved through a strong foundation created by your upper back, scapular muscles, rotator cuff, and even your trunk and core.

Muscular imbalances and stability deficits are common issues that can impact the shoulder girdle, so it’s important to address these through appropriate exercises and training techniques.

Remember, the heavier the weight you lift, the more stability your shoulder girdle requires.

Mastering Load Management

In the pursuit of optimal shoulder health and performance, many enthusiasts overlook the importance of load management.

  • Intensity (weight)
  • volume (sets and repetitions)
  • frequency (how often)

Even with excellent mobility and stability, improper load management can lead to soreness and shoulder discomfort over time.

It’s crucial to find the right balance and avoid overwhelming your body’s capacity to recover. Remember, depending on your goals, you may not need to lift maximal loads to get the benefits.

Just like pitchers monitor their pitch counts to prevent overuse injuries, you must understand that pushing too hard or too frequently can hinder your long-term fitness and performance goals.

The Art of Exercise Modification and Scaling

When it comes to maintaining shoulder health in the long run, understanding exercise modification, regression, and scaling is paramount.

Understand, there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

Each individual may have unique limitations or restrictions that require adjustments. Fortunately, any functional movement pattern can be modified or scaled to achieve the same goal of building strength and improving fitness.

For example, if a barbell overhead press feels uncomfortable, consider using dumbbells or kettlebells instead to allow more freedom of movement. Additionally, the use of a landmine setup can be an excellent alternative when a full overhead position is not possible.

The key is to find overhead lifting variations or positions that work for you while minimizing stress on the shoulders.

Whether you’re dealing with mobility restrictions, recovering from an injury, or experiencing shoulder discomfort, modifying and scaling exercises can help you achieve success while reducing excessive tissue stress.

To ensure effective modifications, regressions, or scaling, it’s advisable to seek guidance from a knowledgeable healthcare professional or fitness expert who can tailor exercises to your specific needs.

Embracing a Mindset of Control

In conclusion, let’s revisit our initial question: Are overhead lifting exercises safe? The answer is a resounding yes.

However, we must acknowledge that individual circumstances and factors come into play. It’s essential to take ownership of our bodies and understand that the exercises themselves are not to blame.

Instead, poor mobility, stability, and training habits are the culprits behind potential issues. By addressing these areas and seeking professional guidance, you can take control of your body’s capabilities and unleash your full potential.

Remember, if you’re new to exercising or currently dealing with an injury, it’s always wise to consult a qualified healthcare provider who can offer personalized advice based on your unique situation.

So, embrace the benefits of overhead shoulder exercises, focus on improving mobility and stability, manage your training load wisely, and don’t hesitate to modify or scale exercises when needed.

With the right approach, you’ll be on your way to achieving optimal shoulder health, enhancing your athletic performance, and enjoying the benefits of a well-rounded fitness routine.

Rebuild, Remodel, and Restore to Get Rid of Elbow Pain

Guest post from Vive Recovery Studio.

Elbow tendons are common sites of overuse injury in many athletes and active individuals. Tendonitis of the medial and lateral tendons often goes by names like Tennis Elbow, Golfers Elbow, Little League elbow, and Swimmers elbow.

If you’re struggling with elbow pain, understanding the causes and effective strategies for recovery can make a world of difference.

The Injury

Elbow tendonitis, or more accurately tendonosis in some cases, occurs when the tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the elbow joint become inflamed or damaged due to repetitive stress.

This condition can be excruciating and debilitating, affecting not only athletes but anyone who engages in repetitive arm motions.

Golfers elbow and tennis elbow are common injuries affecting different elbow tendons.
Golfers elbow and tennis elbow are common injuries affecting different elbow tendons.

Medial Elbow Tendonitis (Golfer’s Elbow)

Medial elbow tendonitis, is commonly known as Golfer’s Elbow. It is a condition that primarily affects the tendons on the inner side of the elbow. Individuals engaging in activities requiring repetitive gripping, lifting, or swinging motions often experience this.

Golfers, as the name suggests, are particularly prone to this condition. That’s due to the repetitive stress of swinging a golf club. However, it can also affect people involved in weightlifting, construction work, or even those who spend long hours typing on a keyboard.

Golfer’s Elbow is characterized by pain and tenderness on the inner side of the elbow. Sometimes that pain radiates down the forearm. Gripping objects, and simple tasks like shaking hands or turning a doorknob can be painful.

Lateral Elbow Tendonitis (Tennis Elbow)

"Tennis" elbow is a common tendon injury in racket sports like tennis and pickleball
“Tennis” elbow is a common tendon injury in racket sports like tennis and pickleball, but it can also occur from other repetitive forearm and wrist motions.

Lateral elbow tendonitis, or Tennis Elbow, is a condition that affects the tendons on the outer side of the elbow. This type of injury is frequently associated with activities that involve repetitive gripping and wrist extension. Think of the racquet motion while playing tennis or pickleball.

However, it can also occur in people using hand tools, or even working on a computer for extended periods.

The pain is often exacerbated during activities that involve gripping or lifting, like swinging a tennis racket or carrying heavy objects.

Inner elbow pain is also called Pitcher’s elbow. While it primarily affects baseball pitchers, it can also affect other athletes who engage in overhead throwing motions, such as softball players and javelin throwers.

1. REBUILD Tendon and Kinetic Chain Strength

To alleviate elbow pain and prevent further injury, you must focus on rebuilding strength. Strength in the tendon and in the entire upper kinetic chain.

Strengthen It

Strengthening the tendon involves a three-phase approach:

  1. Isometric: This phase focuses on reducing pain and initiating the strengthening process. Isometric exercises involve static contractions that don’t cause the tendon to lengthen or shorten.
  2. Eccentric Strengthening: This step is crucial for improving tendon function and reducing pain. Eccentric exercises require the muscle to lengthen under load, helping to build tendon resilience.
  3. Rapidly: Incorporating quick reactive loads into your training regimen helps the tendon prepare for sports movements and enhances its elasticity.

Strengthen the Entire Upper Kinetic Chain to Get Rid of Elbow Pain

Remember that excessive stress on the elbow tendon can result from weaknesses or limitations in other parts of the upper body, such as the shoulder, neck, and scapular-thoracic joint. A holistic approach to getting rid of your elbow pain is strength training to distribute the load more evenly and reduce the strain on your elbow.

2. REMODEL the Tendon and Collagen Fibers

collagen and fibrosis
You can use these remodeling tactics help align and change composition of collagen fibers

Remodeling the damaged tendon and realigning collagen fibers are vital for long-term recovery. Here are some techniques to consider:

  • Eccentric Strengthening: As mentioned earlier, eccentric exercises are not only beneficial for strength but also serve as a stimulus for remodeling damaged tendon tissue.
  • Manual Therapy: Techniques like myofascial release, myofascial decompression cupping, and cross-friction massage can stimulate collagen fiber realignment and promote healing.
  • Nutrition: Incorporating collagen peptides and vitamin C into your diet can support the remodeling process by providing essential building blocks for connective tissue repair.
  • Red Light Therapy: This non-invasive treatment has shown effectiveness in reducing pain and improving function in superficial tendons like those in the elbow. Learn more about Red Light therapy.
  • Blood Flow Restriction: An emerging technology, blood flow restriction, can help stimulate cellular healing and trigger the release of growth hormone, aiding in tissue repair.

Restore Pliability of Tendon and Upper Kinetic Chain

Restoring tissue pliability is a critical aspect of recovery when dealing with elbow pain, especially for athletes and active individuals. It involves addressing the flexibility and adaptability of the muscles, tendons, and fascia in the upper kinetic chain, from the shoulder down to the hand. This process not only reduces excessive stress on the elbow but also enhances overall performance and reduces the risk of future injuries.

tissue work to restore pliability and remove limitations in the fascial slings
Manual tissue work can help restore pliability to tissue throughout the kinetic chain and reduce stress on the elbow tendons.

Here are some effective methods to restore tissue pliability and get rid of elbow pain:

  • Tissue Work: Manual therapy techniques like massage, myofascial release, and myofascial decompression cupping can target specific areas of tension, breaking up adhesions, and improving tissue elasticity.
  • Assisted Stretching: Working with a qualified sports or physical therapist can help you perform assisted stretching exercises that target the muscles and fascia of the upper kinetic chain. This can help improve flexibility and range of motion.
  • Self Myofascial Release: Use Self-myofascial release techniques such as foam rollers, lacrosse balls, or specialized massage at home. This targets trigger points and tight areas in the muscles and fascia. This can be particularly beneficial for maintaining tissue pliability between therapy sessions.

By incorporating these methods into your recovery routine, you can enhance the pliability of your upper kinetic chain, reduce excessive stress on the elbow, and enjoy improved performance and comfort in your sports and activities.

TL:DR to Get Rid of Elbow Pain

These proven strategies help improve tendon health and alleviate the pain associated with conditions like Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow.

The key is to take action early, before the tendon degenerates into a chronic problem.

By rebuilding tendon and kinetic chain strength, remodeling collagen fibers, and restoring the pliability of the upper kinetic chain, you can return to enjoying your sports and activities without the burden of persistent pain.

Don’t let elbow pain hold you back; take these steps to reclaim your active lifestyle.

The Role of Scapular Control in Preventing Shoulder Injuries

Scapular control for stability

Expert Advice for Parents and Coaches of Young Athletes and Athletes

Shoulder injuries can be a common concern in sports that involve repetitive overhead movements.

However, by understanding the importance of scapular control, you can significantly reduce the risk of shoulder injuries. In this article, we will explore the role of scapular control and provide valuable tips to help prevent shoulder injuries.

Why Scapular Control Matters

The shoulder is a complex joint that allows for a wide range of motion. However, this mobility also makes it susceptible to injury, especially during sports that involve repetitive overhead movements like swimming, tennis, baseball, and volleyball.

The scapula, or shoulder blade, plays a crucial role in shoulder function and stability. It acts as a foundation for proper shoulder movement and helps distribute forces during athletic activities. Maintaining proper scapular control ensures that the shoulder joint operates smoothly and efficiently.

It is a foundation for proper movement and positions in overhead activities. If the shoulder blade is not rotating and elevating properly, there are consequences.

Overhead mechanics can be altered that impact performance and stress on the athlete’s body.

Compensations can occur in other body parts to get that arm overhead that contribute to impingement, tendonitis, and ligament strain.

scapular control is essential for overhead athletes

Weakness or dysfunction in the muscles that control the scapula can lead to imbalances and increased stress on the shoulder joint, increasing the risk of injury. This is why scapular control is essential for preventing shoulder injuries and optimizing athletic performance.

Understanding Scapular Control

Scapular control refers to the ability to move and stabilize the shoulder blade effectively. It involves the coordination of several muscles, including the trapezius, serratus anterior, and rhomboids. These muscles work together to control scapular movement, positioning, and stability during sports activities.

  • The trapezius muscle helps retract, rotate and elevate the scapula
  • Serratus anterior muscle plays a crucial role in protracting and stabilizing the scapula against the rib cage.
  • The rhomboids assist in retracting and stabilizing the scapula.
  • Levator scapulae helps to rotate and elevate the scapula.

When these muscles work harmoniously, the scapula moves smoothly, allowing for optimal shoulder function and reducing the risk of injury.

Scapular control for stability

However, if there is a muscle imbalance, weakness, or poor coordination, scapular dyskinesis can occur, leading to abnormal scapular movement patterns and an increased risk of shoulder injuries.

Tips for Improving Scapular Control

Now that we understand the importance of scapular control, let’s explore some practical tips to help improve scapular control and prevent shoulder injuries:

  1. Warm-Up and Stretching
    • Begin every practice session or game with a proper warm-up routine to prepare the muscles for activity.Perform mobility exercises that target the shoulder, thoracic spine, and hips promoting flexibility and range of motion.Include exercises that activate the rotator cuff, scapular muscles, and the core.
  2. Strengthening Exercises
    • Engage in specific exercises that target the muscles responsible for scapular control.
    • Include muscle that strengthen and integrate the scapular and shoulder muscles with the entire kinetic chain.
  1. Technique Awareness
    • Emphasize the importance of proper technique and form during sports activities.
    • Sport coaches should provide guidance on sport specific mechanics so the athlete moves efficiently and safely.
  2. Connected Training
    • Incorporate exercises that challenge the demands of the specific sport through the kinetic chain.
    • Engage in activities and exercises that challenge scapular control during whole body movements such as overhead kettlebell exercises and medicine ball throws.
  3. Consult with Professionals
    • If there are concerns about scapular control or the risk of shoulder injuries, seek guidance from sports medicine professionals or physical therapists.They can assess and provide personalized exercises and strategies to address any scapular control issues and reduce the risk of injury.

Strengthening Exercises

This article focuses on strengthening the scapular muscles and connecting them to the kinetic chain. So, while mobility work and other areas need strengthening for overall performance and health, we’ll keep this limited to a few key exercises.

Strengthening Scapular Muscles with Resistance Bands

Resistance bands are an effective tool for targeting the scapular muscles through exercises such as Ys, Ts, and Ws. Let’s explore how to perform these exercises using resistance bands:

– Hold the band with an overhand grip, arms extended in front of you.
– Begin by squeezing your shoulder blades together and pulling the band outwards, creating a T shape with your arms.
– Maintain the contraction in your scapular muscles and control the band as you return to the starting position.
– Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions.
Ys & As (Diagonals):
– Hold the band with an overhand grip in front of body, one arm diagonally up and the other down.
– Begin by squeezing your shoulder blades together diagonally and pulling the band outwards and upwards with one hand, and outwards and downwards with the other.
– Maintain the contraction in your scapular muscles and control the band as you return to the starting position.
– Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of each diagonal or alternate.
– Hold the band with an overhand grip in front of body on one hand with the elbow at 90 degrees, the other arm other down.
– Begin by externally rotating the shoulder moving the top hand up and out.
– At the same time squeeze the scapula and move the upper back.
– Maintain the contraction in your scapular muscles and control the band as you return to the starting position.
– Aim for 2-3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of each diagonal or alternate.

Exercise Tips

When performing these exercises, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Focus on maintaining proper form throughout the movements.
  • Engage the scapular muscles by retracting and depressing the shoulder blades (…don’t let your shoulder come up by your ears).
  • Control the resistance band as you move through each exercise, avoiding jerky or rapid motions.
  • Perform the exercises in a slow and controlled manner to maximize their effectiveness.
  • Start with a lighter resistance band and gradually increase the intensity as your strength improves.

Incorporating Ys, Ts, and Ws exercises with resistance bands into your training routine can effectively target and strengthen the scapular muscles, promoting better shoulder mechanics and reducing the risk of shoulder injuries.

Strengthening the Serratus Anterior

The serratus anterior is a crucial muscle for scapular control and stability, playing a vital role in preventing shoulder injuries and optimizing athletic performance. Let’s explore some effective exercises that specifically target the serratus anterior:

Facing the Wall Slides with Thoracic Extension

  • This variation of wall slides not only strengthens the serratus anterior but also promotes thoracic (upper back) extension, further improving scapular control and mobility.

  • Stand facing a wall with your feet about shoulder-width apart.

  • Place your hands on the wall at shoulder height, slightly wider than shoulder-width apart.Keeping your arms straight, slowly slide your hands up the wall while maintaining contact with your palms and fingers.

  • As you slide your hands up, focus on protracting your shoulder blades (bringing them away from the spine) and maintaining a gentle squeeze between your shoulder blades.

  • At the top of the movement, actively extend your upper back by arching slightly backward.

  • Return to the starting position by sliding your hands back down the wall, maintaining control throughout the movement.

  • Perform several repetitions of this exercise.

Scapular Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs)

  • Scapular Controlled Articular Rotations are excellent exercises for improving the mobility, stability, and strength of the serratus anterior and other scapular stabilizers.

  • Stand tall with your arms extended forward at shoulder height, palms facing down.

  • Slowly rotate your shoulders in a circular motion, focusing on maintaining control and feeling the activation in your serratus anterior.

  • Perform clockwise and counterclockwise rotations for several repetitions.

Straight Arm Pushups

  • Straight arm pushups, also known as scapular pushups, specifically target the serratus anterior and promote scapular stability.

  • Start in a high plank position with your hands directly under your shoulders, arms fully extended, and body in a straight line.

  • Slowly lower yourself toward the ground while maintaining a stable scapula and keeping your arms straight.

  • Push back up to the starting position, focusing on protracting your shoulder blades and feeling the engagement in your serratus anterior.

  • Repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Incorporate these exercises into your training routine will effectively target and strengthen the serratus anterior muscle, enhancing scapular control, stability, and reducing the risk of shoulder injuries.

Remember to perform the exercises with proper form and start with an appropriate intensity that challenges the

Connected Exercises Using a Kettlebell

In addition to the previously mentioned tips and exercises, incorporating kettlebell exercises can further enhance scapular control and shoulder stability. These are the most challenging because they coordinate more dynamic movements across more of the kinetic chain.


Kettlebells provide a unique training stimulus because of the “off-balance” design. Because of this, they challenge stability in the entire body, including the scapular muscles.

Here are some connected exercises using a kettlebell that can benefit athletes:

Turkish Get-Ups (TGU)

  • The Turkish Get-Up is a full-body exercise that promotes scapular stability and control throughout the movement.

  • Start by lying on your back while holding the kettlebell with a straight arm.

  • Gradually transition to a standing position while keeping the kettlebell overhead and maintaining a stable scapula.

  • Reverse the movement back to the starting position.


  • Windmills target the shoulder stabilizers and promote scapular control through rotational and lateral movements.

  • Start with the kettlebell in one hand, raised overhead.Keep the arm extended and slowly hinge at the hips, lowering the opposite hand toward the ground.

  • Maintain a stable scapula and a neutral spine throughout the movement.

  • Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side.


  • The Halo exercise targets the muscles surrounding the shoulder girdle, including the scapular stabilizers.

  • Start by holding the kettlebell upside down by the horns in front of your chest.

  • Slowly move the kettlebell in a circular motion around your head, keeping the scapula stable and engaged.

  • Perform the movement in both clockwise and counterclockwise directions.

Bottoms-Up Presses

  • Bottoms-Up Presses challenge scapular control and shoulder stability by holding the kettlebell upside down.

  • Start with the kettlebell in a bottoms-up position, gripping the handle with your palm facing upward.

  • Press the kettlebell overhead while maintaining a stable scapula and controlling the kettlebell’s instability.

  • Lower the kettlebell under control and repeat for the desired number of repetitions.

Incorporating these kettlebell exercises into your training routine can further improve scapular control, shoulder stability, and overall athletic performance.

However, it is crucial to ensure proper technique and start with an appropriate kettlebell weight that allows for proper form and control.

TL:DR Summary

Remember, scapular control plays a significant role in preventing shoulder injuries among young athletes.

You can improve this through;

  • Proper mechanics in sports (i.e. throwing, serving, hitting, and swimming strokes)
  • Strengthening the scapular stabilizing muscles
  • Build better function in the scapular muscles through kettlebell exercises that “connect” them to the torso and kinetic chain.

By implementing these tips and exercises, athletes can enhance their scapular control, reduce the risk of shoulder injuries, and optimize their performance on and off the field.

Preventing Shoulder Injuries in Overhead Sports: Capacity vs. Overload

Are you an athlete who loves sports like baseball, volleyball, or tennis? Are you a parent or coach of a young athlete involved in these overhead sports?

If so, it’s important to understand how to prevent shoulder injuries, as they are common in these activities. In this article, we will provide you with some valuable tips and insights to keep your shoulders healthy and strong.

Understanding the Causes of Shoulder Injuries

Shoulder injuries in overhead sports often occur due to a combination of factors. One crucial aspect is the capacity of the body to handle the demands placed on it.

When the forces generated during motion exceed what the body can handle, injuries can happen. Let’s dive into some key factors that contribute to shoulder injuries and how to address them.

Tissue Integrity: Keeping Your Ligaments and Muscles Strong

The strain on ligaments, like the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow, can be too great for them to handle. This strain often occurs during specific phases of motion, such as the cocking phase and deceleration.

To maintain tissue integrity, it’s important to work on strengthening the surrounding muscles and improving flexibility. This can help alleviate stress on the ligaments and reduce the risk of injury.

Increasing capacity can be as important as managing load

Strength and Endurance: Building a Solid Foundation

Proper mechanics rely on sufficient strength and endurance in the muscles involved in overhead movements. Lack of strength, especially in eccentric strength, can lead to inefficient energy transfer and increased stress on the shoulder.

Gradually building strength and endurance in key muscle groups is essential. This can be achieved through targeted exercises and regular training. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a strong and healthy shoulder!

Recovery: Giving Your Body the Rest It Needs

Fatigue plays a significant role in reducing force capacity and increasing injury risk. Inadequate recovery time between practices, matches, or pitching outings can be detrimental.

It’s crucial to prioritize sufficient rest and recovery to allow your body to heal and recharge.

Coaches and parents should ensure that athletes have appropriate rest periods between intense training sessions or competitions.

Avoiding “Too Much, Too Soon”: Gradual Progression is Key

In the world of sports, understanding the relationship between workload and injury risk is essential.

Athletes who abruptly increase their training load without allowing their bodies to adapt are more prone to overuse injuries. This is particularly true at the beginning of a season when there’s a rapid change in workload after a period of reduced activity.

Gradual progression, giving your body time to adjust and adapt, is crucial for injury prevention.

The Role of Scapular Stability

Imagine trying to shoot a cannon from an unstable canoe. It’s not going to work well, right? The same principle applies to your shoulder during overhead motions.

The scapula, or shoulder blade, acts as the stable platform for energy transfer from the lower body to the arm.

Weak scapular stabilizing muscles and dysfunctional scapular movement can negatively impact throwing mechanics and increase the risk of injury.

Building Scapular Control: The Foundation for Healthy Shoulders

Scapular control for stability

Strong scapular stabilizing muscles create a solid platform for the shoulder. This platform ensures that the scapula remains stable during throwing motions, allowing efficient energy transfer from the lower body to the arm.

Clinical studies have shown that many throwing athletes, from youth to professional levels, have weak scapular muscles and scapular dyskinesis (dysfunctional movement).

Strengthening these muscles through targeted exercises can enhance scapular control and reduce the risk of shoulder injuries.

The Importance of Eccentric Strength to Prevent Shoulder Injuries

Eccentric forces, particularly during the deceleration phase of overhead

athletic movements, play a crucial role in the overall performance and health of overhead athletes. Eccentric forces refer to the lengthening of muscles under tension, and they are responsible for controlling and decelerating the arm after a powerful throw or serve.

Insufficient eccentric strength can contribute to injuries in the following ways:

Micro Damage: Protecting Your Musculoskeletal System

Repetitive overhead movements place significant stress on the tendons, muscles, and ligaments involved in deceleration.

Over time, this can lead to the accumulation of micro-damage in these structures, surpassing the body’s repair capabilities.

This breakdown of tissues can increase the risk of injuries such as tendon tears or strains.

Tissue Pliability Changes: Maintaining Flexibility

Eccentric loading can cause changes in the pliability of tissues, especially tendons. Excessive eccentric forces can make tendons stiffer, compromising their ability to absorb and distribute forces effectively.

This stiffness can disrupt the natural load-bearing capacity of tendons, making them more susceptible to injury. To counteract this, maintaining flexibility through regular stretching and mobility exercises is crucial.

Range of Motion: Balancing Mobility and Stability

Repetitive eccentric loading can affect an athlete’s range of motion, particularly in the opposite direction of the eccentric forces.

For example, excessive eccentric loading during the deceleration phase can lead to a decrease in shoulder internal rotation or abduction range.

This limitation in range of motion can increase the risk of shoulder injuries. Incorporating exercises that promote both stability and mobility can help maintain a balanced and functional range of motion.

The Path to Injury Prevention

Preventing shoulder injuries in overhead sports requires a proactive approach. Here are some practical tips for athletes, parents, and coaches:

  1. Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to any warning signs, such as persistent pain or discomfort in the shoulder. If you experience any symptoms, consult with a sports medicine professional to address them early on.
  2. Gradual Progression: Avoid sudden spikes in training load or intensity. Gradually increase your workload and allow your body to adapt and recover. Consistency and patience are key.
  3. Strength and Conditioning: Incorporate strength and conditioning exercises into your training routine. Focus on developing overall strength, including eccentric strength, and improving muscle balance. Consult with a sports rehabilitation expert to design a program tailored to your needs.
  4. Proper Technique: Work with a qualified coach or trainer to ensure you are using correct mechanics and form during overhead movements. Proper technique minimizes stress on the shoulder and optimizes performance.
  5. Rest and Recovery: Prioritize rest days and recovery strategies such as adequate sleep, hydration, and nutrition. Your body needs time to repair and rebuild to stay resilient and injury-free.
  6. Scapular Stabilization Exercises: Incorporate exercises that target scapular stability into your training regimen. These exercises can help improve control and positioning of the scapula, optimizing energy transfer and reducing injury risk.

Remember, injury prevention is a shared responsibility. Athletes, parents, and coaches must work together to create a safe and supportive environment for overhead sports. By implementing these strategies and staying proactive, you can enjoy the game you love while keeping your shoulders healthy and strong.

The 5/3/1 Training Method: A Guide to Building Strength and Improving Human Performance

The 5/3/1 training method is a popular strength training program created by Jim Wendler that focuses on core lifts. In the case of April’s Human Performance Program its of squat, deadlift, and split-squat. The program is designed to help lifters increase their strength and improve their overall human performance.

Here are some key points to keep in mind:

How it works

  • The 5/3/1 method is based on a four-day training schedule, with each day focusing on one of the main lifts.
  • The lifter performs three sets of five reps on the first week, three sets of three reps on the second week, and one set of five, one set of three, and one set of one reps on the third week.
  • The fourth week is a deload week to allow the body to recover before starting a new cycle.
  • All weights are based on a lifter’s one-rep max (1-RM).
  • Accessory lifts are included but are not the main focus of the program.


  • Simple and effective: The 5/3/1 method is easy to follow and provides a steady increase in intensity that allows lifters to progress throughout each cycle.
  • Versatile: The program can be adapted to fit different fitness levels and goals.
  • Builds strength: The core lifts targeted in the program are key to developing overall strength and increasing performance in other activities.
  • Customizable: The program allows for customization and variation in accessory lifts to target individual weaknesses and improve overall performance.
  • Encourages consistency: The program emphasizes the importance of sticking to a consistent routine, which is crucial for long-term progress and results.

Tips for success

  • Start with conservative weights: It’s important to start with weights that are manageable to avoid injury and build a strong foundation.
  • Be patient: The 5/3/1 method is designed for slow and steady progress. It’s important to trust the process and avoid the temptation to rush or make changes too quickly.
  • Focus on form: Proper form is essential for safety and maximum benefit. Don’t sacrifice form for more weight or reps.
  • Track progress: Keep track of weights, reps, and progress throughout each cycle to ensure steady gains and make adjustments as needed.
  • Don’t neglect accessory lifts: Accessory lifts are important for targeting weaknesses and improving overall performance. Include them in your routine but don’t let them take away from the focus on the core lifts.

In conclusion, the 5/3/1 training method is a proven approach to building strength and improving human performance. Its simplicity and versatility make it a great choice for lifters of all levels and goals. With consistency, patience, and proper form, the 5/3/1 method can help you achieve your fitness goals and improve your overall health and performance.

Improving Tendon Health: The Importance of Collagen Peptides

As an expert in performance and human physiology, I have seen firsthand the debilitating effects of tendon injuries on athletes and fitness enthusiasts. Whether you’re a seasoned marathoner or a weekend warrior, healthy tendons are essential to achieving optimal performance and avoiding injury. Fortunately, there’s a simple and effective way to improve tendon health: collagen peptides.

What Are Tendons?

Before diving into the benefits of collagen peptides, it’s important to understand what tendons are and why they’re so crucial to overall health and performance. Tendons are fibrous connective tissues that attach muscles to bones. They’re responsible for transmitting the force generated by muscles to produce movement. Tendons are also critical in stabilizing joints and providing structural support to the body.

Why Do Tendon Injuries Happen?

Tendon injuries can occur for a variety of reasons, including overuse, trauma, and aging. Tendons have a limited blood supply, which means they receive less oxygen and nutrients than other tissues in the body. This makes them more susceptible to damage and slower to heal. Additionally, tendons are made up of collagen fibers that can become stiff and less pliable with age, further increasing the risk of injury.

How Can Collagen Peptides Improve Tendon Health?

Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, and it’s a key component of tendons. Collagen peptides are short chains of amino acids derived from collagen. They improve tendon health in several ways.

First, collagen peptides can stimulate the production of new collagen fibers in tendons. This helps to increase the strength and elasticity of tendons, making them more resistant to injury. In one study, athletes who consumed collagen peptides experienced a significant increase in collagen synthesis in their tendons, which translated to improved performance and reduced injury risk.

Second, collagen peptides can improve the quality of existing collagen fibers in tendons. Collagen fibers can become damaged and degraded over time, leading to decreased tendon function and an increased risk of injury. Collagen peptides help repair damaged collagen fibers, improving tendon function and reducing the risk of injury.

Third, collagen peptides can help reduce inflammation in tendons. Inflammation is a common cause of tendon pain and injury, and it can also slow down the healing process. Collagen peptides have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, reducing inflammation in tendons and promoting faster healing.

Rapid Loading and Strength Exercise to Improve Tendon Health

Collagen peptides can be a useful tool in improving tendon health, but they work even better when combined with specific exercises that target the tendons. Two such exercises are rapid loading and strength exercises.

Rapid loading involves applying a sudden and forceful load to a tendon, such as jumping or hopping exercises. This type of exercise can be particularly effective for improving tendon health because it stimulates the growth of new collagen fibers, which strengthen the tendon and improve its elasticity.

Strength exercise, on the other hand, involves gradually increasing the load on a tendon over time, such as with weightlifting exercises. This type of exercise can also be effective for improving tendon health because it increases the strength of the tendon and improves its ability to handle stress.

How to Incorporate Collagen Peptides into Your Diet

Collagen peptides are available as a dietary supplement and can be easily incorporated into your daily routine. Look for a high-quality collagen peptide supplement that is derived from grass-fed, pasture-raised animals and is free of artificial additives and preservatives.

It’s important to note that while collagen peptides can be an effective way to improve tendon health, they’re not a magic bullet. A healthy diet, regular exercise, and proper rest are all essential for maintaining healthy tendons and preventing injury.

TL;DR Collagen Peptides for Tendon Health

In summary, tendons are critical for overall health and performance, and collagen peptides are a simple and effective way to improve tendon health. Collagen peptides can stimulate the production of new collagen fibers, repair damaged collagen fibers, and reduce inflammation in tendons. By incorporating collagen peptides into your diet and taking other steps to maintain healthy tendons, you can reduce your risk of injury and achieve optimal performance.