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Prevention of shoulder and elbow injuries

Prevention of shoulder and elbow injuries

Proper timing and coordination of the kinetic chain is critical for avoiding the types of injuries that can occur in the upper body when hitting an open stance forehand.  Additionally, having adequate strength in the rotator cuff and upper back can help stabilize the shoulder and prevent injury.

Low- to-high pull (described for a R-handed player):  

The low-to-high pull is a multi-planar exercise that uses rotational movement patterns and integrates the entire kinetic chain.  To perform this exercise, adjust a cable column weight machine so the handle starts approximately one foot off the ground.  Position your body so you will have to rotate your torso to reach the handle in its starting position while also being able to bring the cable up and across your body during the lift.  Using a low to moderate weight, grasp the handle with both hands at the starting position while flexing the knees and loading the right leg.  Drive off the right leg while first pulling and then pushing the cable across the body so that the movement ends with both hands over the left shoulder with the arms fully extended.  Perform this exercise explosively and lower the weight in a controlled manner between each repetition.  Perform three sets of 15-20 repetitions.


Straight arm rowing:

This exercise trains the muscles that stabilize the shoulder blades to help protect the rotator cuff from injury.  Loop a piece of elastic tubing through a fence, or around another stationary object, at about hip level.  Standing in an athletic position and holding an end of the tubing with each hand, elevate the arms so they are at an angle of roughly 45 degrees relative to the body.  Step back so there is tension in the band in the starting position.  Squeeze the shoulder blades together and perform a rowing action by pulling the handles back towards the hips while keeping the arms straight.  Return to the starting position with the body and tension in the tubing under control, and repeat.  Perform 1-3 sets of 15 repetitions.


Additional exercises:

Standing External Rotation

90-90 External Rotation

Wrist flexion (strengthening)

Wrist extension (strengthening)

Forearm pronation

Forearm supination 

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