Preventing Injury in Overhead Athletes: Part 2

Pre-habilitation Exercises for Overhead Athletes

As a kettlebell coach whose number one goal is to keep her athletes healthy, I'm always looking to learn from other health and fitness experts that have ideas on the subject of injury prevention. Unfortunately, overuse injuries run rampant when people don't properly prepare their bodies for the volume-heavy work in Kettlebell Sport, from a mobility and/or stability standpoint.

This is the second in a series of posts where Doctor of Physical Therapy (and Team KOR kettlebell lifter!) Jordan Levine will share his favorite pre-habilitation exercises to build shoulder stability and avoid injury with overhead lifting. Whether you're a coach or an athlete that uses kettlebells, these are great exercises you can implement to prevent overuse injuries before they happen.

Isometric Shoulder External Rotation with Mini Band

  • Place mini band loop around both wrists.
  • Flex elbows to 90 degrees and place against rib cage. Gently set scapulas down and back, then rotate hands away from one another to externally rotate both shoulders.
  • Keep equal tension on band while slowly elevating arms. Flex at shoulder until elbows are at shoulder height.
  • Keep tension on band while lowering elbows back to starting position.
  • Repeat for high reps (20 or more) at slow pace with light resistance.
  • This is a great rotator cuff exercise for building endurance and strength at end range external rotation, both of which are beneficial for repeated overhead lifting.
  • The mini band used in the above video can be found here, or you can hold resistance tubing in hands to replace the mini band.

Dr. Jordan Levine PT, DPT is a physical therapist at North County Water and Sports Therapy Center located in the Carmel Mountain Ranch area of San Diego. He specializes in orthopedics with a strong emphasis on manual therapy.

Click here to check out part 1 of the Preventing Injury in Overhead Athletes series.