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.

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:

Ts:
– 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.
Ws:
– 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.

LEARN MORE ABOUT THE KINETIC CHAIN IN OVERHEAD ATHLETES HERE

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

  • 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.

Halo

  • 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 Kinetic Chain in Overhead Sports: A Linked System

This article aims to provide valuable insights and practical knowledge to athletes and coaches involved in overhead sports. By understanding the body as a linked system, you can optimize performance and minimize the risk of injuries.

Introduction

In overhead sports, such as throwing, serving, or pitching, athletes and coaches are seeking ways to improve performance. Just as importantly, they are trying to reduce ever-present shoulder and arm injuries.

One crucial concept that holds the key to achieving these goals is understanding the body as a linked system.

Its the kinetic chain as a linked system that helps athletes develop roatational velocity in their shoulder and arm. This is critical in sports such as:

  • Baseball & Softball
  • Volleyball
  • Tennis
  • Cricket
  • Waterpolo
  • Team Handball
  • Javelin

By recognizing the interconnectedness of different parts of the body and how they work together, athletes and coaches can unlock their full potential and unleash optimal performance.

So, let’s delve into the fascinating world of the athletic body as a linked system.

The Kinetic Chain In Overhead Sports

Imagine a symphony orchestra performing a masterpiece. Each musician plays their part, contributing to the harmonious whole.

Similarly, the human body operates as a symphony of movement, with each joint and muscle group playing a specific role in generating and transferring force. This interconnected system is known as the kinetic chain.

In overhead sports, the kinetic chain is particularly crucial. Let’s take throwing a baseball as an example. It all starts with the lower body—your legs and hips generate power and initiate the movement.

The kinetic chain in overhead athletes produces high velocity through a summation of forces
In most overhead actions, the arm is only one of the last contributors to velocity. Its the lower body and torse that generate most of the power.

The energy then travels up through your core and transfers to your upper body, finally being released through your arm and hand.

Every joint, from your ankles and knees to your hips, spine, and shoulder, acts as a link in this chain, contributing to the seamless flow of energy.

To optimize performance and reduce injury risk, it’s essential to understand the specific kinetic chain in overhead sports.

By identifying the sequential activation of muscle groups and the critical role of core stability, athletes and coaches can develop targeted training strategies that maximize performance while minimizing stress on individual joints.

Myofascial Lines: The Connective Tissue Web

Beyond the joints and muscles, another essential component of the body’s linked system is the fascia—a complex web of connective tissue that envelops and supports our muscles and organs.

Myofascial lines are the pathways that create the kinetic chain in overhead athletes. They connect multiple joints and muscle groups, allowing for the transmission of forces and energy throughout the body.

Imagine a spider’s web—the tension and interconnectedness between its threads.

Similarly, myofascial lines provide tensional networks within the body, capable of storing and releasing elastic energy during overhead movements. This mechanism is crucial for generating power and optimizing movement efficiency.

The legs created rive and the myofascial lines store elastic energy

In the context of throwing, the myofascial lines act like springs, stretching and storing elastic energy as you load and cock your arm back.

The myofascial lines transfer this stored energy.. When released,it creates a whip-like effect that adds velocity and power to your throw.

The stored elastic energy in several large myofascial chains is released to create velocity

Proper utilization of the myofascial lines can also help with deceleration, reducing stress on specific joints during the follow-through phase of an overhead motion. Remember, the summation of forces starts with large muscle groups. However, the arm and shoulder only have small muscles to decelerate.

Myofascial lines in deceleration
The large eccentric forces required for decelerating the arm after release are linked through several differnt myofascial chains.

To harness the benefits of myofascial lines, athletes and coaches can incorporate specific exercises and techniques into their training routines.

Dynamic stretching, foam rolling, and mobility drills that target the myofascial lines can enhance their flexibility and elasticity, improving performance and reducing the risk of injuries.

The Joint-by-Joint Approach: Balancing Mobility and Stability

A key principle in understanding the body as a linked system is the joint-by-joint approach. This approach recognizes that different joints have varying needs for mobility and stability to perform optimally. It’s like a delicate dance between providing enough freedom of movement in some joints while ensuring stability and control in others.

Think of the joint-by-joint approach as a blueprint for optimizing movement.

Kinetic chains in overhead sports

Mobility & Stability Needs In Overhead Athletes

When we look at the kinetic chain in overhead sports certain joints have a bias towards needing mobility. The shoulders, thoracic spine, and hips, require a greater range of motion to generate power and provide mobility.

On the other hand, joints like the elbow, scapular-thoracic, and lumbar spine have a bias towards stability to prevent excessive movement and maintain proper alignment.

When any joint within the kinetic chain lacks the appropriate level of mobility or stability, it can lead to compensations and increased stress on neighboring joints.

For example, limited hip mobility may result in excessive stress on the lumbar spine during a throwing motion. Conversely, insufficient stability in the scapular muscles can lead to increased strain on the rotator cuff muscles.

By understanding the joint-by-joint approach, athletes and coaches can identify and address limitations or imbalances in specific joints. This involves a comprehensive assessment of each joint’s mobility, stability, and movement patterns. Based on the assessment findings, targeted interventions can be implemented to restore balance and optimize joint function.

For instance, if an athlete demonstrates restricted ankle mobility, exercises and stretches that improve ankle range of motion can be incorporated into their training program.

Additionally, incorporating strength and stability exercises for the shoulder joint can enhance its ability to withstand the demands of overhead movements.

The joint-by-joint approach provides a framework for designing individualized training programs that address the unique needs of each athlete. By promoting optimal mobility and stability in all relevant joints, athletes can move efficiently, generate power effectively, and minimize the risk of injuries.

Conclusion

Understanding the kinetic chain in overhead sports is paramount for optimizing performance and reducing the risk of injuries.

By recognizing the intricate interplay of the kinetic chain, myofascial lines, and the joint-by-joint approach, you can unlock your full potential and excel in your chosen sport.

Remember, the body is not just a collection of isolated parts; it operates as a dynamic and interconnected system. If you move beyond isolated strengthening, you can enhance your performance and maintain a healthy, resilient body.

To implement these concepts effectively, seek guidance from qualified professionals such as Velocity’s performance coaches and sports rehab specialists. They provide tailored training programs, assessment techniques, and interventions to help you optimize your body’s linked system for overhead sports.

So, embrace the idea of the body as a linked system, and unlock your true potential as an overhead athlete. With knowledge, training, and a holistic approach, you can soar to new heights and achieve your athletic goals while keeping injuries at bay.

Unlocking Tennis Performance: The Power of Tennis-Specific Training

At Velocity Sports Performance, we understand why you may be seeking tennis-specific training. We also understand the unique challenges that tennis players face when it comes to improving their game.

One common mistake we often see is players spending so much time on the court without incorporating off-court training that can enhance overall athleticism. The allure of sport-specific training makes sense.

It’s time to find the right balance and unlock your true potential.

Tennis-Specific Training: Unleashing Your Full Potential

Let’s clear the air and define what “tennis-specific” really means. In simple terms, any training that results in improved tennis performance and helps prevent injuries is considered tennis-specific.

It goes beyond just playing tennis or mimicking on-court movements. Tennis-specific training aims to develop the specific adaptations required for the sport, while also addressing potential limitations and injury risks.

Positive Adaptations and Injury Prevention

Playing tennis leads to both positive and negative adaptations in our bodies. Positive adaptations include increased muscular development in specific areas, enhanced aerobic capacity, and improved endurance.

These adaptations directly contribute to better performance on the court.

However, there can also be negative adaptations that can increase the risk of injuries. One of the reasons is that tennis training leads to loading the same repetitive motions. It also doesn’t overload your body beyond the level of the sport.

These negative adaptations include things such as decreased range of motion in certain joints or excessive wear and tear leading to inflammation in specific tendons.

Minimizing Limitations and Maximizing Potential

To minimize negative adaptations and enhance performance, it’s crucial to incorporate different types of physical development exercises throughout your training year. By incorporating a range of exercises with different degrees of specificity we can create adaptation while also minimizing overuse.

Dynamic Correspondence in Exercise Selection

To help give some granularity, let’s delve into the concept of dynamic correspondence and its role in selecting the right exercises to elevate your tennis game.

Dynamic correspondence is all about choosing exercises that relate to the movement patterns, skills, force production, and energy systems used in tennis.

By tailoring your training to mimic the demands of the sport, you can maximize your performance potential on the court. Let’s explore the different types of exercises and their tennis-related examples.

dynamic correspondence in exercise selection

1) Competitive Exercises:

Competitive exercises are those that replicate the actual movements and skills you use during a tennis match. They aim to simulate game-like scenarios and help you develop the specific skills required for success on the court.

For example, engaging in practice matches, and participating in drills that focus on shot placement and strategy are competitive exercises. Performing agility exercises with quick direction changes and returning balls would be competitive exercises that closely mirror the challenges faced during actual gameplay.

Special developmental exercises use the specific movements of the sport. This is what most people think of as “tennis-specific training.”

2) Special Developmental Exercises:

Special developmental exercises focus on specific aspects of your tennis performance that need improvement. These exercises target particular skills, strengths, or attributes crucial for excelling in the sport.

This is what people tend to think of as tennis-specific training. Afterall it involves the specific patterns and movements of tennis. It looks like tennis!

For tennis, these exercises could involve mimicking tennis footwork with added resistance, or utilizing resistance bands to strengthen your hitting muscles for more powerful shots.

3) Specific Preparatory Exercises:

Specific preparatory exercises aim to prepare your body for the demands of tennis and on-court training. They focus on developing the physical qualities and movement patterns directly relevant to the sport. These exercises help you become more proficient in the fundamental movements and build muscle memory for better performance.

In terms of strength and power, it might be explosive lifts, plyometrics, or that reflect the duration, muscle groups, and rate of force development that you need in tennis.

Another example would be various rotation medicine ball exercises that specific prepare you for the kinetic chain linking you use in your tennis strokes.

4) General Exercises:

General exercises form the foundation of your training regimen and contribute to overall athletic development.

They focus on building strength, power, flexibility, balance, and coordination in a more general sense. They don’t directly replicate tennis-specific movements.

Examples of general exercises for tennis players include weightlifting exercises like squats, lunges, and push-ups, which improve overall strength and stability. Additionally, incorporating core exercises such as planks and medicine ball twists can enhance your balance and stability on the court.

By incorporating a combination of competitive, special developmental, specific preparatory, and general exercises into your training routine, you can optimize your tennis performance.

Being tennis-specific makes sense on the surface, but remember it may actually interfere with skill development and adds to the repetitive loading of joints and tendons

The Allure of Tennis-Specific Training

Tennis-specific exercises hold a certain allure for players seeking to enhance their performance on the court.

These exercises directly target the skills, movements, and adaptations specific to tennis, making them seem highly relevant and valuable.

However, the danger lies in overutilizing tennis-specific exercises without striking a balance with other types of training. While these exercises play a crucial role in developing sport-specific attributes, neglecting general exercises that enhance overall strength, mobility, and conditioning can hinder an athlete’s progress.

Specialized Training: Elevating Your Performance

In some cases, players may face limitations in executing certain tennis drills due to a lack of first-step abilities or specific physical qualities.

This is where specialized training becomes essential. It bridges the gap between physical abilities and tennis-specific training, ensuring a well-rounded and effective training regimen.

Specialized training focuses on exercises that address underlying physical qualities needed for tennis. Rather than just general fitness or strength, it’s things like training for improving lower-body force development or increasing upper-body velocity-specific joint stability.

The Role of General Training

While specialized and tennis-specific training are both crucial, we must not overlook the importance of general training.

General training includes strength training, global mobility exercises, speed and acceleration development, and more.

Although these activities may not directly replicate on-court movements, they contribute to overall fitness, augment specialized training, and restore essential movement qualities that may diminish during intensive tennis training.

Finding the Right Balance

At Velocity Sports Performance, we believe in a comprehensive approach that incorporates all three types of training: general, specialized, and tennis-specific.

The proportion of time allocated to each type varies depending on individual factors like training age, tournament schedule, injury history, and skill level.

As players progress through their specific preparation phase, the focus shifts towards more on-court tennis-specific training, while still maintaining elements of specialized and general training.

Plan for Success

Effective planning is a vital component of optimizing tennis performance.

By having a structured training program that encompasses all three training types, players can strategically target specific qualities, prevent overtraining, and maximize long-term adaptations.

While flexibility and adaptability are key, establishing a solid foundation through a well-structured, periodized plan sets the stage for success.

Unleash Your Tennis Potential Today!

Whether you’re a professional tennis player or an aspiring athlete, embracing a holistic training approach that includes general, specialized, and tennis-specific training is crucial for reaching your peak performance.

At Velocity Sports Performance, we have the expertise and resources to guide you on your journey. Join us in unlocking your true tennis potential and taking your game to new heights!

Velocity Speed Training Drills: Proper Direction

Speed Training Drill for Proper Direction
The Velocity Speed Formula (read more about it hereuses proven speed training drills to make athletes faster.  Whether its elite speed training or youth speed training, the Formula always has the same 4 parts;
  • Big Force
  • Small Time
  • Proper Direction
  • Optimal Range of Motion

Apply Force in the Proper Direction

Force is a vector which means it has a direction as well as quantity.  Efficient and effective movement requires not just the right amount of force, but applied in the right direction.

Proper direction is achieved through the right motor pattern (technique) and the stability of the body to apply it that way.  When the structures of joints, muscles and tendons aren’t up to the task, we have what we call “energy leaks.”

Below we share 2 useful drills that help you develop your PROPER DIRECTION qualities.  These drills are designed to reinforce and help the athlete self-regulate the direction they apply force to the ground.

RELATED: Sport Specific Types of Strength

Harness Resisted Sprints for Acceleration

To accelerate an athlete need to apply more force horizontally.  Thats how they increase their movement velocity. This drill reinforces horizontal force application.

The harness allows additional horizontal force to be applied to the athlete. Using a belt, it’s applied near the center of mass to be more biomechanically correct.  As the athlete feels that added force, they will tend to automatically apply force in a more horizontal direction

 

Wall Drills

This is a classic speed training drill that has survived the test of time.

Trying to drive the legs backward and push into the wall reinforces the horizontal force direction for acceleration.

To project your center of mass in the air high enough for the rope to go around twice, you need to apply a big enough force.

It’s very effective but has a problem; it get boring quickly.  So make sure you use it as a prep or reinforcement drill.  Don’t do it for a long time.  It’s also bets used in quick contrast with a drill where the athlete gets to apply that force moving and reinforce the proper direction.

Velocity Speed Formula

Both of these are important speed training drills to help athletes ability to apply force in the proper direction. These drills reinforce basics physics so athletes can accelerate faster.

RELATED: Velocity Coaches Favorite Speed Drills

Velocity Speed Training Drills: Small Time

plyometric drills for speed
The Velocity Speed Formula (read more about it hereuses proven speed training drills to make athletes faster.  Whether its elite speed training or youth speed training, the Formula always has the same 4 parts;
  • Big Force
  • Small Time
  • Proper Direction
  • Optimal Range of Motion

Apply Force Faster for Speed

Below we share 2 useful drills that help you develop your SMALL TIME qualities.  In essence, these are plyometric drills.  Drills where you have a ground contact that stretched your muscles, followed quickly by a contraction of those same muscles.

One of the benefits of this type of plyometric action is that parts of your muscles act like springs.  When you land they compress.  When you push they spring back and help you.

This is what we term Reactive Strength and is key for any athlete that wants to be fast.

RELATED: Sport Specific Types of Strength

Hurdle Hop Speed Training Drills

Hurdle hops are a very popular drill for speed training with good reason; they are effective.  The key is to do them well.

When your goal is to develop your reactive abilities, you need to focus on getting off the ground quick.  At the same time, you need to apply force.  Make sure you try to really project your body high into the air on each.  The speed is on the ground contact, not the movement forward.

Jump Rope Double-Unders

This is a time tested classic for foot speed.  It’s hardly new, but it works.  It should be a fundamental piece of every youth speed training program.  It’s basically a plyometric drill for speed.

To project your center of mass in the air high enough for the rope to go around twice, you need to apply a big enough force.

If you don’t want to get smacked with the rope, you need to apply that force quickly.

Double-unders are what we call a “self-limiting drill’.  This means that you really can’t perform it with bad technique.  Maybe you can get a few in without doing it well, but to string them together you need good form.  You will be in the proper body position, have the right range of motion and have a small time on the ground.

Velocity Speed Formula

Both of these are important speed training drills to develop an athletes ability to apply force quickly. They are great plyometric drills that work.   Execute them explosively and with great body position to be effective. If you perform them well and often, you’ll see the results transfer to game speed.

Velocity Speed Formula: Big Force

Strength training for speed

Velocity Big 4 Speed Formula
The Speed Formula is the science of speed biomechanics simplified.

Understanding strength training for speed is important for coaches and athletes.  Previously I’ve covered why the Big 4 is such an effective “formula” for speed (read it here). It’s how we analyze movement, teach and come up with drills and programs. No advanced degree in physics or neuroscience necessary. The formula is:

  • Big Force
  • Small Time
  • Proper Direction
  • Optimal Range of Motion
Let’s delve deeper and take a look at the first element; Big Force. It has driven why and how we incorporate certain drills and resistance exercises. It is basic Newtonian physics; you push the ground one way and it pushes you the opposite direction.

How Much Strength Do You Need?

It’s a good question. How much strength do you really need?
 
Observing the difference in muscular development between a sprinter and a marathoner should give you a clue. Sprinter’s have way more muscle mass. This doesn’t mean you need to just be bigger or become a powerlifter. But biomechanics research does tell us very large forces have to be applied by the athlete to move fast.
 
You need to produce a Big Force. The strength you need is developed by:
  • sprinting fast,
  • using specific sprint and plyometric drills,
  • and getting in the weight room.

What Is Strength?

For an athlete, strength means a lot more than just how much weight you can lift. There are 6 different strength qualities we train. Focusing on specific strength qualities is how we improve speed.
 
Strength is how much you can lift, right?
 
Nope.
 
How much you can lift is a great expression of some strength or power qualities. As an Olympic weightlifting coach, I’ve helped athletes go from starting the sport to be on the US National team. I love the strength and power (Strength x Speed) expressed through weightlifting.
 
Then there’s powerlifting. Squat, deadlift, bench. Many of the coaches on our staff have been competitive powerlifters as well as my friends. These feats of strength are really impressive and it’s a great expression of Max Strength.
 
Neither is the definition of strength though. They are just great examples of 2 of our 6 specific qualities. Going in-depth is beyond the scope of this writing but here are our 6 types of strength:
  1. Maximum Strength: think powerlifting and even sub max weights. It’s about force and speed is not important.
  2. Eccentric Strength: Think shock absorbers and brakes. When you land, stop, cut, etc… your muscles contract while lengthening. This is an eccentric strength action.
  3. Power (Strength-Speed): Moving fast against a larger load. Think weightlifting or football lineman pushing each other.
  4. Power (Speed- Strength): Moving fast against a light load. Throwing a baseball, jumping, throwing a punch. Moving it fast matters.
  5. Rate of Force Development: How fast you can turn on the muscles. Think of a drag racer analogy. It’s how fast they can go from 0 to speed that matters.
  6. Reactive Strength: Combine a fast & short eccentric stretch, immediately followed by RFD and you have reactive. This is the springy quick step you see in fast footwork.

What Type of Strength Do You Need?

If there are different types of strength, which help you apply a BIG FORCE into the ground? Which will help you get faster?
 
The answer lies in part on what you are trying to improve. The answer may be different if we are talking about acceleration compared to maximum velocity sprinting. And those may be different than a change of direction.

Acceleration

This is the phase where you are starting and gaining speed. During this phase, the mechanics lead to slightly longer ground contact times. This added time in contact with the ground lets you build up force to push harder. You still have only between 200 – 400 milliseconds, so Max Strength will help, but Speed-Strength is key.
 
This phase is also characterized by large horizontal and vertical forces. This means that when training strength, you need strength exercises for both pushing backward and down. A good dose of weight room basics like lunges, power cleans help. Combined with vertical and horizontal plyometrics, along with sled work, the results get better.

Maximum Velocity Mechanics

During this phase, you are upright and moving fast. Your foot needs to hit the ground with high forces but it’s not there for long. Elite sprinters are in contact less than 100 milliseconds. You need Max Strength enough to handle the high loads 1.5 – 2.5 times body weight on each leg. You also need to be able to absorb the impact and reapply force quickly. That’s Reactive Strength.
 
Since you’ve already accelerated, in this phase the forces are mostly vertical. They keep you from falling into the ground. Therefore, weight and plyometric exercises like squats, reactive hurdle jumps, and even jump rope double-unders all contribute.

Change of Direction

When changing direction, the type of strength can depend on how sharp of a cut you make. One situation is a major change of direction where you slow down and re-accelerate. This requires a lot of Eccentric Strength and Strength-Speed. On the other hand, if it’s a quick cut without slowing down or a big range of motion, then it’s more about Reactive Strength and Speed-Strength.
 
Both these are going to benefit from a mix of weight room and plyometrics. The weight room will include strength exercises and Olympic lifts for power. The plyometrics are going to need to focus on developing horizontal and lateral forces.

Technical Sprint Drills for Strength Development

There is a big misunderstanding of technical speed drills. Most people see a technical drill and naturally believe it’s to develop technique. It makes sense after all, but there is so much more.
 
Many “technique” drills in speed training are just as important to developing Big Force as the weight room. By refining an athlete’s technique, they become more efficient with the strength they have. They learn to apply it better.
 
Often many speed drills are really a plyometric exercise themselves. They require putting a lot of force into the ground, in the proper direction. They are in fact the most speed specific form of strength training there is.

Strength Training for Speed

Having good technique and good power output is key to being fast. It’s not an either/or situation, it’s an AND sitution. You need technique AND strength. In every athlete’s development, they go through stages. Sometimes their technique gets ahead of their strength, and vice versa. Make sure you stay on track by developing both and working with a knowledgeable coach who can determine if you need one or the other more.

Strength Training Is Injury Prevention

strength training helps prevent injury

Stay In The Game

In elite sports there is a lot of emphasis put on injury prevention.  It doesn’t matter how good you are if you are sitting on the bench, hurt.

Teams and athletes look to us to reduce their risk of injury.  We know there are many parts to injury prevention, but the foundation is often strength.

For the last 20 years, Velocity Sports Performance has known that good strength training is injury prevention.

  • Our experience with athletes in 11 Olympic Games backs it up.
  • Our experience with thousands of professional athletes backs it up.
  • A growing body of scientific research is starting to catch up.

is Youth strength training safe

RELATED:  Is Youth Strength Training Safe?

 

You need to know: strength is more than just weight on a barbell

Types of Strength
When you speak about strength or being strong, what do you imagine? An athlete hoisting a barbell loaded with heavy weight in a Squat or Bench Press? How about an Olympic weightlifter explosively moving 400 pounds from the floor to over his head in a single movement?
 
These types of things are often considered “strong,” but what about other sporting actions? How about sprinting at full speed, jumping high, or throwing and kicking?  Most people become unsure whether or how strength is part of these movements.

Defining Strength

What is strength in general and specifically for athletes?  Strength is all about physics, and we are talking about Newton’s 2nd Law of Motion: in a nutshell, Force is equal to Mass multiplied by Acceleration.
 
Strength is a way of talking about the application of force. An athlete can apply force to the ground, to an opponent, to a ball or other piece of sports equipment, or even internally to his or her own body.

Mass & Magnitude

The mass in this equation is what’s being moved. As an athlete that could be things like:
  • a ball or stick in your hands, to
  • your own body weight (jumping, sprinting and cutting)
  • a 300-pound linemen
  • 500 pounds on a barbell

Acceleration and Time

One thing most people recognize is that in sports, doing things quicker is usually an advantage. Athletes don’t have unlimited time to apply force.
 
Acceleration is how fast something increases its speed. The faster the acceleration, and thus the speed, the shorter the time.
 
In sprinting or agility, your foot is in contact with the ground for a limited time. In jumping, there is limited time, and doing it faster than your opponent can be key.  When throwing or kicking a ball or swinging a racket, bat or stick, you want it moving as fast as possible.
 
Speed of movement matters.

Muscle Action

In physics, force is what we call a “vector.” This means it has a magnitude (how much?) and a direction (which way?). Direction matters because forces can be applied in different directions for different effects.
 
One thing to consider about direction is whether the muscle is lengthening or shortening during the contraction. When it’s contracting and getting shorter (e.g., bringing the bar up in a Bicep Curl), it’s called a “concentric” action.
 
If you’re applying force while the muscle lengthens (e.g., while slowly lowering the bar in the 2nd half of the Bicep Curl), it’s called an “eccentric” action.
 
Types of muscle contractions:
  • CONCENTRIC = Shortening
  • ECCENTRIC = Lengthening
Eccentric and concentric strength are not the same. The same muscles may be used, the same structures and contractile proteins, and the same lints moved. Yet, the brain uses different motor control strategies. For the same action concentrically or eccentrically the motor control is different.

Physiology & Motor Control

Another important thing to understand about strength for athletes is where it comes from.  Often people equate strength with bigger muscles. This is for good reason, because they are related, although not perfectly and not for all types.
 
Generating force with your body is a combination of the structure of your muscles (size and biological content) and your neuromuscular control. The muscle is your engine to develop horsepower, but your brain is the driver that decides how hard you push the pedal.

Sport-Specific Strength

When we analyze an athlete in his or her sport, we observe various forms of movement. Speed, agility, jumping, throwing, kicking, hitting, twisting, landing and so on are movement caused by how an athlete generates force.
 
It follows that all types of athletic movement are based on how you generate and apply strength.
 
Still, how can everything be about strength? Is what your muscles do squatting a full barbell different from what they do when you throw a baseball that only weighs ounces?
 
The answer to understanding strength is actually composed of different combinations of Newton’s 2nd Law. Force = Mass multiplied by Acceleration

Playing with the Equation

In different movements we manipulate the 3 parts of the equation—Force, Mass and Acceleration (Speed & Time). The we consider the direction of contraction (eccentric or concentric). Now we have a way to analyze sports movements and strength types.
 
We use this movement-based approach to simplify complex biomechanics into 6 specific types of strength.

6 Types of Strength

Max Strength

This is the basic capability of the muscle to produce a forceful contraction. In application it also involves coordinating multiple muscle groups across multiple joints. The amount of force that can be generated regardless of the time it takes to develop and apply it is called max strength. This is what we call this type of strength even when he or she is under sub-maximal loads.
Maximum strength
Using a car analogy, imagine a big industrial dump truck. It may not move fast, but it can move big loads.

Eccentric Strength

As mentioned before, motor control is different if the action is concentric or eccentric. The capacity to develop high levels of eccentric force is key in sports. Actions such as landing from a jump, stopping, changing direction, winding up to throw a ball and swinging a bat are all eccentric in nature.
When we come to cars, think brakes.  Eccentric strength is like having great brakes on a car to handle those high speeds. An F1 racer has to have great brakes so he or she can go into turns as fast as possible before braking.

Strength-Speed Power

Most sports applications of force involves doing it quickly. Faster is usually better. This is where power comes in. Power is equal to the velocity times the force. Increasing either force or the speed its applied will lead to more power.
strength speed
When an athlete applies force rapidly to a larger load (e.g., blocking another lineman or pushing a bobsled), it’s what we term Strength-Speed Power. “Strength” is first in the name because it’s the bigger component in generating the power. This is like a NASCAR racer who can apply a lot of torque (force), moving the car even at high speeds.

Speed-Strength Power

Here it’s the “speed” of movement (or short time of force application) that is the larger factor in generating the power. Think of an athlete swinging a bat, throwing a ball, or applying force to the ground during high velocity sprinting.
The racing analogy is more akin to motorcycle racing—still applying force at high speeds (like NASCAR), but against much lighter loads.

Rate of Force Development

This is the drag racer. In a drag race, the goal is to go from 0 mph to full speed in as little time as possible. This is the same quality that creates quickness in an athlete. Rapid movement of the limbs, a quick release of the ball throwing or a shot in hockey, fast feet for soccer. Being able to rapidly generate force, regardless of whether the force level is high is known as Rate of Force Development.
Rate of Force Development
A drag racer coming off the line and getting up to speed as fast as possible is a good car analogy.

Reactive Strength

This one’s a combo. It’s a fast eccentric action coupled with a high RFD force. Think of rapid footwork, or a quick step to change direction and juke an opponent. Or the second quick jump when a basketball player comes down and goes back up quickly to get a rebound.
We use a motocross bike as the analogy. Because it has high Rate of Force Development with eccentric-type landings of bumps that gives it that “springy” quality.

Developing Strength that’s Functional

At the end of the day, athletes want the type of strength that will help them perform at the highest level and gives them the resilience to stay healthy.
 
Every athlete needs a base across all six types of strength. While it seems to make sense to go straight to the specific type of strength for your sport, it’s not the best strategy.
 
 
Doing that actually limits development and long-term potential. During early stages of strength training, a broad base of strength is important. Even at the elite levels of sport, athletes mix strength types during different parts of the year.
 
As you progress in your development and level of competition, you begin to focus on the specific qualities. Focusing on the strength types more important to your sport, your position, and even your individual genetics and style of play.
 
Strength is much more than how much you can lift on the barbell.