Designing Practical Warm-ups for the Overhead Athlete

To give a brief recap, if you missed Stevo's post on Friday: August is dedicated to training means, modes, and methods for overhead athletes (these are sports like baseball, softball, volleyball, swimming, and javelin). 

The pre-practice and pre-competition warm-up is extremely important for any athlete, but to an even greater degree for those athletes who need to give special consideration to the shoulder complex. As a strength coach, I've given numerous warm-up protocols to numerous athletes over the years and while, in a pinch, I could easily produce one that would be well-balanced and comprehensive, I've always preferred to plan my warm-ups in advance.

Preplanning ensures that every muscle, joint, angle, whatever has been taken into consideration and a decision has been made about how to address it for that day (or not). The important thing here being that you must give yourself the chance to make a decision about something ahead of time vs. simply overlooking the area.

Most coaches plan warm-ups on the fly, but like most things at SAPT, we tend not to do what "most" do... that's usually the easy way... and we know the right way! Thus, why we're the premier strength and performance training facility in the Fairfax, Tysons, McLean, Vienna areas.

Getting back to the practical warm-up: Over my time working with college athletes, I ended up developing an ever-evolving template of warm-ups that I would rotate and match to the first 15- to 30-minutes of the practice plan. For example, if the start of practice was going to be ripe with sprinting, the I would choose the plan to match. On the other hand, if practice was starting with quite a bit of hitting (volleyball) where I knew the shoulder needed to be totally warm and ready, then that would inform my warm-up choice.

This video is just showing the team warming up... keep that in mind while you watch the power + the height the guys are getting on the ball off one bounce. What's the warm-up look like before this part of the warm-up??? I bet it's a pretty good one.

Anything is an option: body resistance only, bands, medicine balls, actual sporting equipment (i.e. a baseball), weights, etc... Shoot, you can even use a sled/Prowler to do a fantastic total body warm-up that fully addresses the shoulders.

So, when planning a warm-up (or your own set of templated warm-ups) make sure you are addressing all the primary movers and in all directions - planes of motion - plus weaving in extra prehab that may not occur in the weight room and copious amounts of shoulder friendly mobilizations, stabilizations, and drills.