Welcome back to the Blog! Hopefully you have found useful information here in the past, or if this is your first time reading my material, well then, I hope you enjoy!
Today I am discussing 3 ways to optimize your ability to lift and load weight overhead. In addition to helping you lift more in the gym, this also has major implications for maximizing your function as you age. My goal with you reading today is for you to gain a better understanding of how you move with and without weight. So let's get started with the first Key!!
1. How well do you move without weight or load??
One of the most important points. Simply put, Can you move freely and smoothly without restriction when you are not holding weight?. If you can't move smoothly, then you can't load correctly. It's equivalent to attempting squat 150lbs when you can't move from sitting to standing. It's possible to do it once with compensation, but over time it will lead to a disaster. So you first need to understand your movement without load and what you need to do to improve it. A strength and conditioning coach, movement coach, or physical therapist is a great resource here.
2. Identify any limitations and address them with targeted exercises.
I mean how long can you drive a car on a bad tire or without new oil before it breaks down? How far can you ride your bike on plastic parts? So you need to identify and understand your limitations with shoulder Mobility, thoracic Mobility, movement flaws, and/or strictly strength limitations. There are many ways that you can go about doing this. In fact, head to my YouTube channel for more information or see a movement specialist to help you. They'll identify your limitations and restrictions as well as give you some tips on how to correct these. Now, if you've been loading for a long time, and you're like, I'm fine.. I've been doing great. Well that's fine too, but I bet you're wondering; Man, I haven't really ever had anyone look at this. I wonder how much better I could be performing and how many PR's I could break if I was moving optimally? That is another reason why it is important to know your limitations and know what to do to address them.
3. Have a plan with progression of load
How many times have we gone into the gym and just started working out, or just followed the workout for the day that we saw online?? I mean, I'm as guilty of this as anyone, but I do understand the long term importance of progressive load. I think we really need to identify a true strength and conditioning program for us to progress overhead strength. This may look like a standard 8 to 12 week hypertrophy and strength progression. It could be a CrossFit program from your local box or online that you stick to, that you don't deviate from. I think having a plan is ultimately one of the most important things that we need to do with fitness, with nutrition, with our jobs. So having a plan is going to let you optimally load your shoulder and build strength to crush your overhead goals.
So those are the three keys to overhead success and keys to optimizing your overhead shoulder performance which has long term implications with your ability to maintain strength as you age as well as achieve your weightlifting and functional goals!
Hope you enjoyed the blog and check back in soon for our next topic!
Dr. Luke Greenwell is a Performance Based Physical Therapist with an extensive background in treating the injured athlete. He is passionate about returning people to the sports & activities they love. He has post-doctorate certifications in Manual Spine Therapy and Functional Dry Needling. He is also a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist. He has extensive experience in Dartfish video gait/running analysis, concussion rehab, & functional movement screening & correction. He is the owner of CrossFit based RecoverRx Physical Therapy