Pressing is an essential movement in sports, and the majority of sports take place in standing. While pressing on a bench, chair or floor is the best way to create absolute strength (also important for sports performance) it does not translate directly into sports tasks, unless your sport is Powerlifting. Drills like the Standing Stick Press, Landmine & Med Ball Shots can’t be loaded like a Bench Press but they train the entire body and its proprioceptors to respond to the standing forces created by pressing or resisting an anterior to posterior force.
The 3 Stance Stick Press is more of an anti-rotation drill and is great to use with patients or clients looking for core stability.
The Dynamic Split Stick Press can be loaded heavier, has a larger range of motion, and hip rotation that translates well for field sports athletes.
Unilateral Pressing Strength
Full Body Proprioceptive Training
Give these a try and comment or share with a friend.
Once your patient/client/athlete can squat efficiently and can perform a DB or KB swing safely, it is time to train multi planes. These 3 variations of DB swings translate well into throwing and swinging sports and can be biased for mobility, rotational speed or strength, depending on the load. They can also give you feedback about an athlete’s rotational coordination, timing and range of motion limitations. Lastly, they can easily be integrated into a metabolic conditioning circuit for athletes that participate in rotational sports.
Cues: Starting position is a squat with the elbows extended and forearms against the inner thighs. Start the upward swing from the hips followed by the DB. At the top diagonal position, the hips should be fully rotated and extended with the spine in neutral. Watch the feet for inversion rolling or leg external rotation to make up for limited hip internal rotation.
Reverse Golf Squat:
Cues: Starting position is a squat with the DB tucked against the lateral hip pocket, elbows flexed and body weight shifted slightly to the loaded side. The opposite shoulder should be rotated towards the opposite hip. Thrust the loaded hip and let the DB elevate upward and outwards with the elbows extended at chest height.
Square Stance X-Chop:
Cues: Starting position is a squat with the DB tucked against the lateral hip pocket, elbows flexed and body weight shifted slightly to the loaded side. The opposite shoulder should be rotated towards the opposite hip. Start the upward motion by thrusting the loaded hip into extension and opposite side rotation. The DB will follow and finish over the opposite shoulder with both hips rotated and the spine in neutral. Watch the feet for inversion rolling or leg external rotation to make up for limited hip internal rotation.
The Overhead Carry is a well-known movement that can train overhead strength as well as shoulder and core stability. It can also be used as an assessment tool to help guide therapeutic and corrective interventions so that your athlete can continue to progress their overhead lifting safely.
Life and sport take place in 3 planes of motion, therefore training & mobility work should reflect that. Depending on the type of weighted modality, this movement can be biased for strength, stabilization or assessment. In the video below we use a med ball atop a flat hand and extended wrist to take a look at the athlete’s stability and mobility through all 3 planes. The ball is resting on the hand, so as form breaks down it will roll out of place or compensatory patterns will present themselves.
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This movement is part of a pitching deceleration series. Pitchers need to be able to decelerate not only their arm but their entire body. I like to use this not only for deceleration but also for training: foot placement, coordination, hip/shoulder disassociation and agility.
How it’s done:
Hold a pair of lighter dumbbells at shoulder height in 90 degrees of external rotation. Shuffle once to the side and open up towards the shuffle direction leading with the foot followed by the hip, trunk and finally allow the opposite arm to fall across the body in a pitching motion. The key is allowing the arm to fall, this should not be an active throw, it should be a faster but controlled fall. The trunk should hinge forward at the hip over a flexed knee and ankle. Keep the opposite arm up in an externally rotated position, reverse the motion and repeat in the opposite direction.
This is a more advanced version of a standing core stability series I take many of my lumbar patients through. I like this for clients with hip & pelvic stability issues as well as for athletes having difficulty controlling frontal plane knee forces during lunge tasks. The purpose of these movements is to maintain posture through the ankles, knees, hips, trunk and shoulders while performing a single plane movement and resisting isometric multi-plane forces applied by the horizontal pull of the band as the lever arm.
How it’s done:
Start with the hands against the body and take a fencing lunge forward, once the lunge posture is stable reach the hands forward or overhead. Make sure the hands go straight forward or straight upwards and there is no deviation towards or away from the pull of the band, then reverse the sequence back to the starting position. After the desired number of reps turn and face the opposite direction and repeat.
Movement flaws can easily be observed from side and front views, look for over compensation strategies as well. Modifications can be made by changing the band resistance or shortening the lever arm by remaining in the starting position with the hands close to the body during the entire task.
Below are a few additional variations:
1. Overhead Stick Reach: This makes it easier to get overhead, sometimes clients have difficulty getting overhead witch the narrow grip.
2. Long Arm Rotational Lunge + Reach: This is a more advanced version of the rotational lunge + reach movement. The longer lever arm intensifies the rotational core demand.
There are many other variations, feel free to share some of yours with me in the comments.