Santa Monica Physical Therapy

Dynamic Rotator Cuff Strength in the Overhead Athlete.

Shoulder injuries are very common in overhead sports (volleyball, tennis, baseball). This is because the joint is exposed to increased demands of high velocity serves, throws, and hits. Think of how fast Jason DeGrom pitches the baseball or how much power is behind Serena Williams’ serve!  One of the greatest risk factors for shoulder injuries is an imbalance between shoulder external rotator and internal rotator muscles.

The rotator cuff  plays a huge role in shoulder stability and therefore gets a ton of attention in the world of rehab. Research has shown that athletes who participated in an exercise program to address rotator cuff strength impairments had 28% LESS chance of having shoulder problems than those who didn’t!*

Initially, we start with static rotator cuff strengthening with our clients. Later on in rehab, we shift our focus to dynamic rotator cuff strengthening. This targets the muscle in various ranges of motion,  making exercises specific to their sport. These types of exercises will train the muscles to fire at the right time and amplitude, adding stability to the shoulder no matter what is thrown at you (or what you’re throwing).

1️⃣ ExternalRotation Reaches

2️⃣ 90/90 External Rotation

3️⃣ 90/90 Overhead Press

Andersson, SH et al. “Preventing overuse shoulder injuries among throwing athletes: a cluster-randomised controlled trial in 660 elite handball players.” Br J Sports Med51.14 (2017): 1073-1080.