Basic Scapular Loading & Stability

In order to progress to more complex shoulder loading its important build a solid base.  Here are a few simple scapular loading and shoulder stability exercises that can be made more challenging and once mastered will help with the performance heavier and more dynamic overhead activities.  These exercises are part of a larger arm care routine I have my overhead athletes perform after the manual tissue and joint prep, and prior to a full body movement prep.

These can be easily replicated out on the field using the dugout bench.

Sled Push & Pull

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One of my favorite accessory exercises for my lower extremity patients is the sled push & pull.  I picked up this exercise from powerlifting legend Louie Simmons of Westside Barbell.  While Louie uses it for training men and women to Deadlift and Squat world record loads,  I like to use it for my patients rehabbing from lower extremity injuries and surgeries.  The reason this exercise is beneficial is that there is no eccentric phase, which means that there is no soreness associated with the recovery.  Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS) is what is felt 1-2 days after a heavy workout, and it comes from the eccentric phase of exercises like squats, deadlifts and lunges.  Louie uses the sled to add volume to his lifters regimen without adding to their post workout soreness, or sometimes after heavy lifting days when his lifters are experiencing a high level of DOMS.

How its done
The Push portion of the exercise is done in a forward trunk lean, hands holding the vertical poles with locked out arms, and a tight core. The patient powerwalks forward with slightly larger than normal strides, landing on the heel and keeping the foot flat through the movement.  The activity should be felt in the gluts and hamstrings, which are often underdeveloped in most people, healthy or injured.

The Pull portion of the exercise is performed by attaching a band or rope to the sled. While holding the band the arms should again be locked out, but this time the entire body is straight with a posterior lean (think waterskiing).  The patient this time walks backward with smaller and quicker than normal steps.  After 10 yards or so there should be a nice burn in the quads.

I called this an accessory exercise because its not a stand alone task and should be additional to your core lower extremity rehab exercise regimen.  Its not going to build superhuman strength but its a great way to add volume and variety to your patients rehab routine.   Additionally, there is minimal vertical knee loading with this exercise, which means that it can be included for patients with knee issues that are irritated by closed chain knee flexion. There are a few variations of body positioning for this exercise and different sleds types can accomplish the same outcomes, but if done as described safety will be optimized.

Pitching Mobility Series: Part 2

In order for a pitcher to produce significant force through the trunk and into the arm, he needs to be able to load a stable yet mobile hip, knee, ankle and heel.  As the stride leg rises up & then down towards the plate the pitcher has the opportunity to load his joints, muscles and tissues into an optimal position for force production.   Continue reading “Pitching Mobility Series: Part 2”

Mostability

Single leg work is an essential part of all training and rehab programs.  Once our athletes and patients have mastered the basic step down and demonstrate good control of static single leg tasks, its time to progress.  A great way to train for real life application is to load the stance leg in all 3 planes.  You can do this by driving either your arms or your free leg into the saggital, frontal or transverse plane. Continue reading “Mostability”

Pitching Mobility Series: Part 1


The baseball off-season is a great time to work on arm health, mechanical inefficiencies, mobility and strength.  Try this movement sequence anytime of the year to help warm up prior to throwing, working out or simply to improve stance leg mobility. (repeat on other side)

Continue reading “Pitching Mobility Series: Part 1”