The overhead athlete is a unique type of athlete to treat in physical therapy. When I think about the different types of overhead athletes I include the baseball thrower, tennis player, and even the quarterback. Each of the mechanics of these athletes is different and present unique challenges (load, speed, intensity, biomechanics, etc). However, while each of these athletes are different, some of the exercises can be tailored to each sport.
Recently, I was working with a competitive high school tennis player. He presented with a very stiff shoulder and diffuse pain. When I say stiff shoulder, I mean he had very limited shoulder flexion, abduction, and inability to get into a 90/90 position without pain. His postural presentation was a significantly lax R shoulder (hanging down), flat t-spine, and scapular winging.
After some time working on pec minor, lat, and subscap tone he was able to start to recruit some of his scapular stabilizers (primarily serratus & low trap) much better. However, his rehabilitation took off once he had good shoulder flexion ROM and we were able to start to work on overhead stability.
So what overhead stability exercises did I use?
What else do you use for overhead stability? Comment below and let me know
- Dr. Brian Schwabe, PT, DPT, SCS, COMT, CSCS
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